FACULTY SENATE MEETING
December 1, 2009
Present: Chair Overton, Past Chair Martin, Secretary Hergeth, Parliamentarian Weiner; Senators Akroyd, Anson, Auerbach, Bernhard, Carver, Croom, Fleisher, Franke, Genereux, Havner, Headen, Hemenway, Kidd, Kiwanuka-Tondo, Kocurek, Levy, Miller-Cochran, Paur, Poling, Roberts, Townsend, Williams
Excused: Provost Arden; Senators Argyropoulos, Murty
Absent: Senators Edmisten, Fahmy, Hatcher, Khater, Krim, Poindexter, Sawyers
Guests: Lee Fowler, Athletic Director; Betsy Brown, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs; Marc Okner, Director, Human Resources-Employee Relations; P. J. Teal, Secretary of the University and Assistant to the Chancellor; Marcia Gumpertz, Asst Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff Diversity
1. Call to Order
Chair Overton called the meeting to order at 3 p.m.
2. Welcome and Announcements
Chair Overton announced that today’s meeting was organized around having some time for discussions about the work that the Personnel Policy Committee is doing on the grievance policy. She explained there is a lot of history and background to this issue, and that there are a number of issues the group needs to come up to speed on in order to finish and pass the policy before the close of the spring session.
3. Approval of the Minutes, November 17, 2009
The motion passed unanimously to approve the minutes.
4. Reports from Subcommittees
Resources and Environment
Senator Anson reported that the Resources and Environment Committee reviewed the issue of parking and was able to resolve the issue outside of the Senate.
The committee met with DELTA about the differential in funding and decided that the issue did not rise to the level for the Senate to resolve, that most of the activities involved the colleges.
The committee met with Tracy Dixon, Director of Sustainability to discuss ways to liaison with the Sustainability Act.
Senator Genereux reported that the committee talked about gathering information about department heads and chairs in peer institutions. They have done a survey of peer institutions, about what their practices are, and this has generated a lot of data with which they are anticipating writing a report in the spring semester.
Senator Havner recalled a few years ago when the Senate took up the issue of chairs versus heads. Chancellor Fox felt strongly that this university was ready to switch from a head system to a chair system, so surveys were done and a lot of input came in, but the result was a very weak report and weak response given to the input across the university.
Senator Havner stated that he would like to see the Governance Committee review the issue.
Academic Policy Committee
Secretary Hergeth reported that the Academic Policy Committee reviewed the drop and change policy but has not finalized it. The committee has agreed to make some changes to limit the number of drops.
The committee met with Jan Genzer about issues of copyright of teaching materials, and the issue of having test solutions being sold online. It was discussed that DUAP will propose minor changes in the syllabus to make sure that online resources are included. The committee also plans to discuss Physical Education.
Personnel Policy Committee
Senator Poling acknowledged members of the Personnel Policy Committee. He stated that the committee made what they thought would be appropriate recommendations to the policy and noted that the committee members are interested in this policy’s relevant background.
Relevant background: (Handout)
January 2008 – June 2008: A University Grievance Task Force chaired by Robert Brown, Dean, College of Natural Resources, revised the University’s older Grievance Procedure (Sept 1996)
November 2008: The Senate’s PPC was asked to review the Task Force’s revised Faculty Grievance Procedure by Provost Larry Nielsen
January – April 2009: The PPC met on multiple occasions to discuss concerns with the Task Force procedure and finally generated an “Appendix B” that contained our recommendations; at the final meeting of the Senate in Spring 2009 it was recommended that the PPC continue its work on the Grievance Procedure
May 28, 2009: The PPC held a ½ day retreat for further discussion of Appendix B
August 25, 2009: At the first meeting of the Senate in Fall 2009, Chancellor Woodward made reference to the existing Grievance Procedure at NCSU, and he recommended that changes be made to make this a less burdensome process
September 1, 2009: First meeting of the PPC with many returning members from 2008-2009. Our committee was challenged to make the Grievance Procedure a less lengthy document and more faculty friendly.
September 15 & 29: PPC examined Grievance Policies and Procedures from several other institutions (including UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Charlotte and U Texas-Austin). After this review, it was the decision of our committee that the Task Force document (Chairman Brown) + the PPC’s Appendix B, were preferable to similar types of policies and procedures at other institutions, and the sense of the committee was that we did not wish to essentially “ditch” all this good work in favor of something that was shorter.
September 30, 2009: Lunch meeting with Executive Committee and Chancellor – at this meeting it was conveyed to the Chancellor that the PPC was not in favor of making significant reductions in the Task Force/PPC document
October 13, 27: The members of the PPC in concert with members of the Administration worked to develop a new version of POL05.25.1. From these meetings a new revision was developed (dates 11.1.09 with edits from OEO), but the 22 page document length was still an issue. In the interest of reducing the length of the document without losing critical content, we discussed separating out policy statements from the rules and regulations that govern a grievance hearing.
November 24: The PPC further discussed the merits of separating out the policy and procedural elements of the 22 page revision, and agreed that Sections 1-4 were primarily “policy” statements, and that most of the information from Sections 5 (Filing a Grievance) through Section 17 (Training of Panel) were procedural.
Senator Poling stated that the length of the current Grievance procedure was objectionable to the Chancellor, and that the Chancellor felt that it did not have the feel of something that one could call faculty friendly, and that it was quite lengthy at nineteen pages.
Senator Poling stated that the PPC committee members took the challenge of the August 25 Senate meeting to develop a more faculty friendly grievance procedure. The PPC evaluated the grievance procedures of other institutions, including Chapel Hill, University of Texas in Austin, and UNC Charlotte. But, after this review, it was the decision of our committee that the Task Force document (Chairman Brown) + the PPC’s Appendix B, were preferable to similar types of policies and procedures at other institutions, and it was the sense of the PPC that we did not wish to abandon all this good work in favor of something that was shorter.
Senator Poling stated that the committee proposed the idea of forming a standing grievance committee and this committee would have a chair. The chair would be elected by the faculty and would take on much of the role that the Chair of the Faculty plays, which would definitely take some of the burden off the Chair of the Faculty. It would certainly not put the Senate and Chair of the Faculty out of the picture by any means, but it would allow another person to get involved in this critical process, and this would have to be a very experienced individual to understand all complexities of the policies, someone who could actually serve in that capacity and be a very good chair of this committee. Chapel Hill has a ten member standing grievance committee with a chair, and this model is one that we would like to consider here as we go forward.
Senator Poling stated that the administration likes the idea of a more stable body overseeing this process as opposed to where we are now. It can get fairly unstable in terms of not having enough participants, not enough chairs, and getting the panels formed has been a challenge. What this could signify to us is that the faculty would potentially have a much greater say in deciding the jurisdiction of a case.
Senator Poling explained that the committee has had discussions about the length of the current document The PPC has recently discussed in November the merits of separating out the policy and procedural elements of the 22 page revision, and agreed that Sections 1-4 were primarily “policy” statements, and that most of the information from Sections 5 (Filing a Grievance) through Section 17 (Training of Panel) were procedural.
Senator Poling stated that it is a challenge to pull a policy statement out of a very lengthy policy/procedure like this, but the committee is feeling very inspired to learn that it will be getting some help soon. The Governance Committee members are persuaded that they can help deal with a very important part of this overall procedure that relates to this Grievance Standing Committee. They have volunteered to write this section and the section will then be incorporated into the new policy and procedure. In addition, the Personnel Policy Committee is going to break the information out into what really is procedure the same way it is done for mediation.
Past Chair Martin stated that he would like to keep the document as one policy. The biggest issue is to not have something that is easily changed. He feels with policies and regulations like this you want extensive thought and extensive consultation before you make any change. The idea of having something that is easily changed is a really bad idea with respect to this kind of policy.
Past Chair Martin pointed out in Section 3 that we have items confused and broken out into multiple pieces. If you look at past history, we would do well to take all of these documents and put them all into one encompassing policy. He recommended that we keep it all in one place, as one policy and not break it up.
Vice Provost Betsy Brown pointed out that all of the discrimination policies have been put into one policy.
Senator Kiwanuka-Tondo wanted to know the relationship between the document and college committees.
Chair Overton explained that the grievance panel lists contain members from all of the colleges, but that does not consecrate a committee, but it is just a list from which people are chosen to serve on the committee.
Senator Levy commented that as far as the regulation is concerned, there was some concern that regulations can changed without us knowing about it. So we are trying to make some major changes and if we include the change in the regulations those could be changed without us going back to the BOT.
Past Chair Martin stated that in about 98% of the cases the BOT will take the recommendations as they are presented to them.
Chair Overton commented that a lot of work has gone into the substance of changes and there is still some more work to do. Some of the things that came in are not yet edged in stone and there are some good ideas on the table, but there is still some work to do. The Personnel Policy Committee has spent a lot of time on not just wordsmithing but on the substance of this policy, so she suggested carving out the work that has to be done and to do that with an objective.
Senator Poling stated that the committee has been advised that the policy will go to the Board of Trustees and the procedure would be a campus living document. Sarah Lannom has written a summary of where she thinks this process is, which the committee found very helpful.
Senator Poling again stated that with the development of a Standing Grievance Committee that faculty will be empowered, as we have never been before, to make jurisdictional decisions on cases
There was much discussion and many comments made on the policies.
Senator Poling requested a vote on how many were in favor of the procedure being split and how many were in favor of a single document. The vote ended in a tie, nine to nine.
The motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 4:45p.m.