FACULTY SENATE MEETING
February 23, 2010
Present: Chair Overton, Past Chair Martin, Parliamentarian Weiner, Provost Arden; Senators Akroyd, Anson, Argyropoulos, Bernhard, Carver, Edmisten, Fahmy, Franke, Hatcher, Havner, Khater, Kidd, Kiwanuka-Tondo, Kocurek, Levy, Miller-Cochran, Murty, Paur, Roberts, Sawyers, St Amant, Townsend, Walker, Williams
Excused: Senator Auerbach, Fleisher, Headen, Poling, Secretary Hergeth
Absent: Senators Genereux, Hemenway, Krim, Kotex,
Guests: Tina Nelson, Risk Assessment Case Manager; Lee Fowler, Athletic Director; Marcia Gumpertz, Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff Diversity
1. Call to Order
Chair Margery Overton called the eleventh meeting of the 56th session to order at 3 p.m.
Chair Overton welcomed Senators and Guests.
Chair Overton announced that the spring elections are under way. The colleges will be electing Senators, Grievance Panel members, and members to serve on the Hearing panel. The Senate will also elect 2 delegates and 1 alternate to the Faculty Assembly and two delegates to serve on the Athletics Council.
Chair Overton announced that so far three nominations have been received for the Chair-Elect position.
Chair Overton announced that the new General Counsel, Eileen Goldgeier will be on campus in mid March and the new Chancellor will be here on April 1st.
The Executive Committee discussed the issue of communication in their last meeting. Also, there was a discussion about assigning additional duties to the Secretary of the Faculty.
The Executive Committee has put together an ad hoc committee to help consider the way and style that the Senate communicates. Secretary Hergeth will chair that committee.
3. Comments from Provost Arden
Provost Arden reported that there are no major changes in the budget situation since his last report to the Senate.
Provost Arden reported that the BOT passed several resolutions on the Korean initiative and the bottom line of those resolutions is as follows:
The resolutions give us the ability to accept the funding from the Koreans and to continue planning, but they put the breaks on moving forward in any major way with respect to submitting applications to the Administrative Applications of Science and Technology for implementation on site in Korea. Those resolutions were drafted by the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Finance and Business after considerable discussion about where we want to be on this project.
Provost Arden stated that he thinks there is a significant opportunity there for NC State. We as an educational institution need to develop an even stronger presence than we do in that region and there would be some advantages to having a physical presence. The resolutions provided by the Board cause us to put on the breaks a little bit.
Provost Arden stated that now is the time to regroup and say if we are going to have an ongoing physical presence in Korea, what are the things that will be most advantageous to us, what are the things that limit our risk but still give us a potential presence there? It is really important that we re-engage all the faculty to really think this through and to think strategically; what are the kinds of things that we need to be thinking about if we are going to develop a presence in that region?
Questions and Answers
In terms of the interaction with the BOT will it also be on their agenda the next time?
Provost Arden responded, no, not necessarily. The issue was discussed in two major subcommittees of the Board; the Academic Affairs, and the Personnel Committee. The actual action was taken by the Finance and Planning Committee and substantively ratified by the full Board and the Academic Affairs and Personnel Committee were notified of the action. Provost Arden said, there were a lot of diverse opinions among the board members, but he thinks the resolutions achieved what we wanted to achieve.
Is there a time table when you might be making a decision?
Provost Arden responded that a decision will probably be made during this calendar year and it may well be that we go ahead and put some things on the table. At the moment the plan calls for a pretty aggressive program, a suite of undergraduate and graduate programs that would ramp up over a five year period, eventually to have about 1600 students on sight, plus the not for credit transition program and the Study Abroad program. What is difficult about that, particularly, is having a suite of undergraduate program means that you have to provide the whole General Education Program; it means you need a certain core map of faculty on board. It is a fairly large undertaking and that was driven by a large degree of what the Koreans told us they really wanted.
Provost Arden stated that he thinks it is time for us to step back a little and ask if this is what we really want, what really matches our needs best. It may be that we will put something on the table which is much more narrow and defined and achievable and less risky.
Do you have a sense of the depth of support to our Korean college? How much do they want?
Provost Arden stated that they definitely want something, but I think they would like North Carolina State, but if they can do it without NC State that’s okay. They are currently engaged with six or eight different universities and so we are not necessarily a make or break in the deal. My understanding is that they were particularly interested in us because of our history of programs particularly associated with Research Triangle Park. They are trying to, in essence, recreate a Research Triangle Park type atmosphere, so they were very interested in what we would bring to the table, not only in terms of our suite of academic program but our experience with a large academic type enterprise, so do they want this to happen? Yes, they have invested a lot of money in Sungo the development, not just the global university campus but Sungo as a whole, which some say is the largest development currently in the world at the moment. The Sungo campus itself is a forty billion dollar development, so the Koreans have put a lot of money into this and they definitely want it to happen. NC State is only a small component of it.
Who are those competitors if we don’t do anything?
Provost Arden stated that they are not actually competitors, but that we are actually working with them in our alliance. They are Stony Brook, Georgia Tech, University of Missouri, University of Delaware, and George Mason University. One that seems to be saying “yes” is the University of Southern California, and they have not been involved in discussions with the other US Universities. The other US universities have been involved in ongoing discussions and we have been working pretty well together. The University of Southern California has pretty much done their own thing.
Provost Arden stated that one concern they had as they went through is that each of the alliance universities sort of developed their academic program a little bit in isolation, so there was a concern raised that we would in fact, be competing with one another down the line particularly with undergraduate students. What I can tell you is that when we went into this it was pretty ambitious to develop a large suite of both undergraduate and graduate programs racked up over a five year period, and it became pretty clear that the risks associated with doing that were pretty significant if it did not work.
Provost Arden stated that during better times one could argue that if you are a wealthy university like USC, this is a long term investment. Any business would approach this as a long term investment. His philosophy on that is, because where we are at this point in our history and financially where we are, we don’t have the luxury of making those kind of investments for nine or ten years.
Three of the colleges are currently reviewing their deans. My question is when we in the Senate reviewed the policy there was an issue about reviewing the deans but you do not get a chance to review the associate deans; as we look at the policy they assured us that it was in the mix of faculty comments and all the other feedback, so I was wondering if you can see it in the process?
Provost Arden stated that from his perspective it is a leadership review and while it focuses on the dean it really is broader than the dean; it includes the dean’s administration. Particularly given that most deans have been there about five years by definition before having their first major review, and being that most of the leadership is in place and is often being put in place by them or at least not being changed over, so that is an element of the review. While you are not reviewing the Associate Deans or the Department Heads you are reviewing the leadership of the college and the dean’s leadership is forming that group and leading that group.
How long will you be interim, and what kind of process will be used to fill the position?
Provost Arden stated that he has not talked to Chancellor-Elect Woodson about it; however, he said there would be an open search. The search will begin pretty quickly after he comes on board, and I think he wants to hire someone pretty quickly.
Senator Sawyers asked Provost Arden to address why during the robbery at the Credit Union last week, alerts on cell phones came out quickly but email alerts didn’t come out until one hour later.
Tina Nelson from Campus Threat Assessment responded that the campus police handles all of the alerts; she was not sure why it took so long for the emails to come out.
Nelson stated that they knew the suspect was not on campus because if he had been, there would have been siren alerts.
Can you touch on how you will decide on balancing the situation of the budget?
Provost Arden stated in general capital funds or one time building funds are a completely separate pot from recurring operating funds. We get new buildings on campus from a number of different sources. Number one is the appropriated funds; the Legislature puts a specific line in the budget for a given year for designated buildings. Those funds cannot be used for operating funds; they have to be used for that particular building.
Provost Arden stated that another way we get buildings on campus is a combination of donor funds and a different source of funds, most commonly a loan or mortgage to the university. The university will take out long term loans, and depending on what the building is used for is the way that we repay them.
Another way that we get buildings, particularly on Centennial Campus, is for third parties to come in and build the buildings and then sell or lease them back to us.
The tough questions are on the operating budget, which for Academic Affairs last year we were about a $425M budget and if we include the two AGs about a $530M budget. The tough question there is your balance between personnel, particularly faculty, non-faculty, EPA and staff positions and operating or programmatic type things. It’s clear that some of the easiest ways to trim your budget is with open positions and we did a lot of that in the last budget cut. We lost a lot of faculty positions, non faculty, EPA, and staff positions and while that may not be immediately evident, long term it does really hurt us. So those are really where the critical issues come in, it’s a balance between personnel and a balance between operating funds. Many departments have given up operating funds over the years and still have very little in the way of operating funds and are using vacant faculty positions as their operating money or research overhead money. There are some departments that are literally 99% personnel so that doesn’t give you a lot of flexibility. On the personnel side of things you can cut your staff so much that your faculty become far less effective and really dissatisfied doing what you do, so there are a lot of tough questions there.
The cuts this year are going to be far less than the cuts last year. We are looking at a 5% reduction, of which we have at least 2% in the bank so we are asking for a 3% plan. I’m hoping that at the end of the day we are looking more at 1 or 2% compared to 10% last year.
How many people have seen any of those plans from the college?
Provost Arden responded, not many.
Most of the time the heat is not working in my building, so is that going to be the case for several more years?
Provost Arden stated that there is no doubt that renovation and repair money are among the hardest money to get and yet, as we build these buildings and renovate them we desperately need to improve the quality of our buildings on the main campus. There does not seem to be as much of an appetite among the legislature for that versus the nice new building. It seems to be very high profile to build a new building than to put the equivalent of money into renovating some of the buildings that we already have. In a shrinking budget scenario R&R money is going to be tough for a while.
4. Campus Threat Assessment
Tina Nelson, Threat Assessment Case Manager stated that after the event on February 12th involving the University of Alabama there has been a lot of debate on having a program that addresses faculty and staff issues as well as students.
NC State is the only University in the system that has a threat assessment team that addresses not only students of concern, but also faculty and staff.
Nelson talked about some of the services that we have available here on campus and she also discussed what her office is doing to address faculty and staff concerns.
Nelson stated that they have a campus workplace violence policy and it addresses reporting any incidents of aggressive acts, domestic violence, concerns regarding threats or safety of others as well as individuals, but it doesn’t talk about some of the red flags. Some things to watch out for is a change in behaviors, smell of alcohol, concern about drugs, complaints from students, and odd emails. A lot of individuals notice strange actions but people have a tendency to wait until things get really bad before they report someone. If you notice certain behaviors that you are concerned about contact either Employee Relations or Threat Assessment.
Nelson suggested that if someone reports a comment that they are having thoughts of hurting themselves to either check in with them to make sure that they are okay or report it to someone in the chain of command or Employee Relations.
Reporting: report immediately violent behavior to your supervisor or campus police. You can contact student conduct or risk assessment as well.
Nelson stated that their name has changed from the Threat Assessment Team to Behavior Assessment Team. She said they were originally Behavior Assessment Team specific but now they have separated, to not violate any privacy issues when it comes to faculty and staff. They have legal that is present as needed.
NCSU Threat Assessment—do a complete assessment because the more information involving an individual the better they can provide safety plans.
Nelson stated that they can’t guarantee that nothing will happen but as University employees we are at lower risk of having an incident occurring on campus.
Nelson stated that Campus Police do their normal criminal background checks and all of us as employees have a background check or if we are moving to a different position or was recently hired.
Criminal background checks do not have the information in them if a person has not been convicted of a crime. If they have be convicted of a crime the violent behavior will show on the background check, but if it is just a police report that did not develop into formal charges it does not show up on a background check.
Nelson stated that they also Google search people that they have concerns about. If the individual is out of state that makes it more challenging.
Nelson stated that training is mandatory for supervisors and managers, but it is highly encouraged for everyone in the campus community to sign up for the training.
Nelson stated that a new computer based training, Mental health.edu, will be implemented this summer that was designed to address more students of concern. She noted that the concerning behavior is not just about students, but also faculty and staff that you want to look out for.
Are communications to and from your office subject to disclosure as public records?
Nelson responded yes, we have FERPA and in regards to students they can get access to particular information. What we document is actual behavior/observations, and students can have access to information on who made the initial report, but we try to maintain the confidentiality to protect the individual that reported.
Do the assessments become part of a personnel file?
Nelson responded that the team meeting does and it is very vague and does not have a lot of detail in it.
Do you work with supervisors who are involved with staff that is being riffed?
Nelson stated that the staff’s first point of contact seems to be Employee Relations and they work very closely with them throughout the process. Human Resources get in involved and provide them with additional resources. She gets involved if an individual has concerns regarding safety issues.
Are you implying that by Public Records Law I can find out who reported on me?
Nelson responded that if you are concerned about your information being gathered from a public record, she encourages using the telephone to call them.
Is there something in the works for screening PBS students?
Nelson stated that when she attempted to register to take a class, that she still had to answer the question, “Do you have a criminal history involving violent behavior?” even though she was not registering as a full time student. She stated that it really depends on a person’s integrity because there are individuals that will lie.
Do students have to live on campus or can you intervene at another location.
Nelson stated that they can communicate with Raleigh Police Department or any of the local law enforcement entities for them to do a welfare check and Raleigh PD is really good about contacting campus police to get information, so they can do a welfare check with student conduct.
Are you able to communicate with an eighteen year old student’s parents?
Nelson responded, if there is a concern for specific safety issues. FERPA covers where there is a time when we can contact the parents and we have had student conduct do that. The Counseling Center is being encouraged to communicate with parents if there is a safety concern, but most of the time we try to get the student to sign a release before we have to go to that point.
Students can sign a generic release form to allow parents to have access to their student records, but if they don’t, we have to look at FERPA in particular safety concerns. If it is in the best interest or safety of that student we look at communicating with the parents early on. However, that is done on a case by case basis.
5. Approval of the Minutes, February 9, 2010
A motion passed to approve the minutes.
6. Phi Beta Kappa/Phi Kappa Phi
Kathy Brown stated that Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi are the two general honor societies here on campus as opposed to the specific honor societies.
Phi Beta Kappa has been on campus since 1995 and Phi Kappa Phi has been on campus since 1923 and it has a long standing tradition here at NC State. The difference between the two is Phi Beta Kappa focuses primarily on the Liberal Arts and Sciences and Phi Kappa Phi focuses on all disciplines. Both are similar in that for Phi Kappa Phi we admit the top 7.5% of the junior class and the top 10% of seniors and that equates to about a 3.8 or 3.9 GPA and we also have graduate students.
Kathy Brown stated that she and Mark Scearce would like to make awareness about the honorary societies. My main question today is that we are going to be exploring three large questions as we move forward. What is the role of the academic honors society on today’s academic campus? Is it still relevant? I think it is because I like to make sure the students are recognized for academic achievements. How do we increase the faculty involvement in the chapters? What are meaningful activities that the chapters can undertake that would be of interest to students and faculty? Those are the questions that we are going to be exploring.
Brown asked for feedback from the Senate on how to raise awareness to the faculty.
Chair Overton suggested that an email be sent from the faculty lists asking faculty to self-identify to see if it will bring in more people.7. Adjournment
A motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 4:40 p.m