FACULTY SENATE MEETING
January 25, 2011
Present: Chair Overton, Chair-elect Kellner, Secretary Hergeth, Parliamentarian Weiner, Provost Arden: Senators Argyropoulos, Aspnes, Auerbach, Bernhard, Bourham, Carver, Funkhouser, Hammerberg, Hatcher, Havner, Headen, Khosla, Kidd, Krim, Kotek, Levy, Miller-Cochran, Mitchell, Moore, Paur, Robinson, Rucker, Sawyers, Sztajn, Tonelli
Excused: Senators Kiwanuka-Tondo, Williams
Absent: Senators Croom, Edmisten, Townsend, Tu, Washington
Guests: Betsy Brown, Provost’s Office; Nancy Whelchel, University Planning and Analysis; Marcia Gumpertz, Diversity and Inclusion; Marc Hoit, Office of Information Technology; Eileen Goldgeier, Vice Chancellor and General Counsel; Marc Okner, Director of Employee Relations
1. Call to Order
Chair Overton called the seventh meeting of the fifty-seventh session of the NC State Faculty Senate to order at 3 p.m.
2. Welcome and Announcements
Chair Overton welcomed Senators and Guests.
Chair Overton made the following announcements:
- Tom Ross, President of the UNC System is visiting the NC State campus today.
- Chair Overton emphasized the importance of talking to faculty about the Faculty Senate elections.
- The Governance Committee discussed the elections last fall and one item that came up to improve the process was to ask the candidates to submit three to five sentences stating why they would like to serve in the position. That could be included on the forms when people vote. There were also some intense discussions on whether are not to have write-ins.
- The Faculty Assembly delegates are elected by the Faculty Senate but the candidates don’t have to be Senators, they can come from other areas of campus. NC State’s delegation includes 5 delegates and 3 alternates.
- The Secretary of the Faculty is elected from the Senate body and he/she serves a two year term concurrent with the Chair of the Faculty.
- Chair Overton announced that the Senate needs better communication so she encouraged the body to give that issue some thought.
- The Senate needs to elect two representatives to serve on the Athletics Council. Senator Sawyers who currently serves gave a brief overview of the council.
Chair Overton requested the Senate’s input on a feedback form that was created for the Faculty Senate website. The form was created to enable the Faculty Senate to be more responsive to faculty’s concerns and issues.
Chair Overton handed out a list of links to websites that provided a number of resources for information. Included on the list were links to Budget Central, Strategic Planning White Papers, UNC Faculty Assembly, and NCSU Personnel policies.
Chair Overton reported that strategic planning is an ongoing process. The Task Force Committee white papers have been posted and they can be read in their entirety from the shortest to the longest.
The Chancellor has a forum scheduled on Thursday, January 27th in the Talley Student Center Ballroom and the subject is Strategic Planning Initiative.
Chair Overton reported that there was a discussion at the Faculty Assembly about the language being used when doing business in a different way. The phrases that get a little scary are program curtailment, program elimination, collapsing things, sun setting things. The question is, how is the university system positioned with respect to those issues.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 7, November 30, 2010
The minutes were approved as corrected.
4. Comments from the Provost
Provost Arden reported on three major processes that are currently in progress. They are strategic planning, annual budget process, and a process to look at reorganization.
The strategic planning process began six or seven months ago when the Chancellor came on board. The Chancellor suggested that a long term plan was needed at this university, not a plan just to get us through this budget, but a five to eight year plan about who we are as an institution and how we are going to get there.
Provost Arden stated that it needs to be a very encompassing process, so there are 160 faculty, staff and students involved in that process and it includes nine task forces. The task forces produced their reports in December and they were all posted in white paper format at the beginning of the week. He encouraged the faculty to review the reports on the Strategic Planning website and to attend the Chancellor’s forum on January 27th. There will be multiple open forums for the discussion of the strategic planning process. “We would like to have a draft of the strategic plan pulling the fundamental elements out of those strategic planning task force reports within a few weeks,” Provost Arden said. “We hope to have it to the Board of Trustees by April.”
Annual Budget Process - There is a series of memos from Provost Arden and Vice Chancellor Leffler. There are two budget processes and one has to do with the current fiscal year. Provost Arden stated that they have been allocating one time funds that they have available in the current fiscal year; these funds were for the most part distributed to the academic units. So far, there are more than twenty million dollars in one time funds and five million dollars in recurring funds in the current year.
Provost Arden stated that their attention is now switching to the biennium budget, 2011-2013 budget. It’s a moving target because when they first sent the budget memo the university was asked to plan for five and ten percent reductions, which is what GA requested. They have more recently asked the university to plan for a 15% reduction. A 15% reduction to academic affairs appropriation is about $80M recurring.
Provost Arden reported that they have some money from the previous reduction that was done eighteen months ago when we were going into the 2009-2010 budget year. He stated that this time it looks like it will take about $25M off the top of an $80M dollar reduction in terms of the reserve that we have available on a continuing basis to put toward growing that reduction.
Provost Arden stated that by the time you take into account the 25 million dollars that we can take off the top and another couple of percent reduction to get it down to the budget level of the operating units, then what we have done is tried to send out a planning target for academic units to be planning about a 9% reduction. Without the non academic units, that is anyone outside the ten colleges to planning for an eleven and a quarter percent reduction. That doesn’t mean that is what the final number is going to be, it is a planning product. The only units that we grave less than that were library, utilities, and advancement; it’s 6% for those units, 9% for the academic units and eleven and one quarter percent for everyone else. Once again these are planning targets.
The final numbers that come down are going to depend on a number of different things. They are going to depend on the actual reduction that is handed down to us from the Legislature. They are going to depend on whether we get enrollment growth funded. Last week the Board of Governors approved a slightly reduced enrollment growth funding request that is coming here and that is approximately eleven million dollars, which will still have to go to the Legislature and they may or may not fund it. It depends on whether we get tuition initiated tuition increase approved and that’s about 10.8 million dollars and it also depends on whether or not the Legislature approves another tuition increase over and above campus initiative tuition like they did last year to offset the reduction. If you will remember at the last minute, the Legislature put an additional $750 and that generated that $20M that offset most of last year’s reduction. I’m hoping that worse case scenario we’ll see a 9% or less to the academic unit which will depend on the Legislature.
The last part of the process which really relates to both strategic planning and budget reduction is what the Chancellor announced last week that the magnitude of this deduction is such that we really have to think clearly about the way in which we do business. He asked Provost Arden and Vice Chancellor Leffler to have a very short term process and recommend to him some consolidations, eliminations, and increases in efficiencies which we really should be considering as an institution in the way we do business.
Provost Arden said, most economists are saying that this is not really a one year bump that we are going to recover from in the next year or two, but this is sort of a resetting of our fundamental financial structure, and we need to think about doing business somewhat differently. Long term we need to grow our other revenue sources to accommodate for continued losses in state funding. Up to now we have been very well state-funded, but the likelihood is that the money that we have already lost and that we will lose is probably not going to come back; so we need to think about the way we do business and whether or not there are efficiencies that could be gained.
Provost Arden stated that the process of strategic planning is a very bottom up process, some influence from the Chancellor’s level, but we want it to be a very inclusive process. The second process we hope is also inclusive. Planning targets have been sent to the deans.
Provost Arden stated that the last process is one that might be a little worrisome. The Chancellor has asked for some recommendations from himself and Charlie Leffler by March 15th, and it will be up to the Chancellor what he picks and chooses. I’m sure that he will involve discussion teams on some of those ideas as we move forward, but it’s not really possible, in the next five weeks to have a campus wide discussion on whether or not we should merge departments, merge units, or eliminations, so we are going to be engaging a limited number of people in targeted areas as we do this over the next four or five weeks and then hopefully we will put it on the table and it will be a public document open for public input as we move through the process. The Provost and Vice Chancellor Leffler are seeking input from everyone.
Senator Aspnes stated that he thinks some of those targeted are faculty, so he inquired about where he needed to go for more information.
Provost Arden stated that most of the data can be found on the University Planning and Analysis website.
Senator Auerbach asked, “Who’s going to get fired?” He stated that it would be nice to come up with a strategy without firing people such as cutting back 12 month people to 9 months—is that kind of strategy in the mix?
Provost Arden: I agree with your fundamental thought. Sometimes we do these things a) because it’s the right thing to do, and b) because it does save you some money in the short term, but most of the cost items are realized over a longer period of time. Having said that, there are some additional reserves, however the university does not want to give up every single penny that is in reserve, but there are some funds that you could apply to the budget situation on a one time basis for one or two years to help you ease through the process.
The second point is, unfortunately so much of our budget and so much of our academic budget code money is tied up in people. If we truly had to come up with 15% you are talking about people and you are talking about positions, which is the really difficult part of this.
The problem with twelve-month faculty going to nine months is that we do not have the ability for involuntary conversion. We only have the ability to offer those the conversion for twelve months to nine months, so if someone wanted to convert, the classical conversion is 9/11 of your salary to go from a twelve month to a nine month. Some universities during this budget time have offered a 10/11 or even an 11/11 conversion and then froze the salary for 2 or 3 years afterwards. The problem with this is 1) it has to be elective because we don’t have the authority or the process for non-elective conversions and 2) it doesn’t save you that much money in the short term.
Senator Levy stated that 9% is a tremendous amount of money—everything you talk about is going to eliminate 9% of the budget—where are we on furloughs for next year?
Provost Arden stated that furloughs are not something that is pursued aggressively at the local level. A furlough in the current year is a one time saving; it is not a permanent budget reduction.
Senator Headen asked about how the budget reductions affect the much needed growth of the faculty.
Provost Arden responded, “My concern on the lack of growth of faculty in particular, tenure track faculty over the last ten years or more is that I generally feel that for NC State to become a truly strong institution, we are not going to get there unless we get serious about growing the faculty base. One of my biggest concerns right now is that if we go into a 9% reduction we are going to lose more faculty positions. They are vacant faculty positions. Part of the reason we have not grown our faculty positions, particularly our tenure track faculty positions, is because we repeatedly find ourselves in this circle, and the fact is many years ago many departments and colleges gave up their operating budget. So, what they use for their operating budgets are vacant faculty positions. Then the bad times came and the quickest way to get the money to give up was to eliminate vacant faculty positions. If you go through that time and time again, you can see why we haven’t grown faculty numbers over time. It’s a trend that we have to avoid. We have to figure out a way to get out of that repeated cycle of growing and then cutting vacant faculty positions.”
Chair-Elect Kellner —Does this come down to the fact that the first two budget priorities are being in contradiction with each other?
Provost Arden stated that part of the long term solution is to diversify our resources. Up until a couple of months ago you could look at the academic affairs budget and 76% came from state appropriations, which means that we are very dependent on the state. So if the state budget does this, our academic affairs budget does this. Over time we need to be very aggressive about being less dependent on the state. We need to develop other resources to be more independent of the fluctuation. The continued fluctuation in the way we structure our budget is really hurting us. Then what happens is when times are a little bit better people often hire non-tenure track faculty on short term contracts to maintain their flexibility over time and deliver peek protection, so you find yourself getting into that patent over time.
Senator Khosla—With the budget situation the way it is, don’t you think adjustments will have to be made with the strategic plan?
Provost Arden stated that as the state’s economic situation has deteriorated the discussions about addressing short term realities as well as long term goals as we write the strategic plan has come more and more into play and more and more into discussions. Whether are not we are looking at more budget cuts next year or the year afterwards I can’t tell you. We are looking at a fundamental restructuring of our resources. The strategic plan can’t be blamed for that and it needs to be updated on a regular basis. The strategic plan was designed to be, how can we do our business more effectively and now we have to add how we can do our business more effectively possibly with less resources.
Senator Hatcher asked the Provost to speak to what Dr. Woodward has been asked to do by the President of the UNC System.
Provost Arden responded that President Ross asked our previous Chancellor, Jim Woodward to lead a system-wide study where he evaluates programs and duplications across the UNC System. President Ross said that he doesn’t mean to insinuate that all duplications are bad. What he is really looking for are programs that are unnecessarily duplicated. I think there is a growing interest out of the Board of Governors with ensuring that as a system, we don’t replicate things sixteen times across the campuses. We really can’t afford to be doing that.
Senator Bourham wanted to know how the budget situation will impact teacher assistantships
Provost Arden responded, short term I can not tell you that there will not be some impact on teaching assistantships and even research assistantships, but of the one time recurring funds that we gave out of this year’s money it is very heavy on funding assistantships for graduate students.
Senator Robinson asked Provost Arden to talk more about diversified resources because he thinks grants are going to be a challenge.
Provost Arden agreed and stated that if you compare us with most universities we are fortunate because we are a little more diversified in where our R&D monies are coming from. We don’t have quite as much federal money as some universities.5. 2008 COACHE Survey of Pre-Tenure Faculty
Dr. Nancy Whelchel, from University Planning and Analysis explained that the COACHE survey is for pretenured/tenure track faculty. The survey allows us to compare ourselves to other universities. She noted that NC State’s response rates are pretty good.
The results of the survey is available on the University Planning and Analysis website at: http://www2.acs.ncsu.edu/UPA/survey/reports/coache/COACHE.AY08_09
Vice Provost, Betsy Brown stated that there are clusters of questions around topics that they came up with as they piloted the survey. What is tenure? There is a section on nature of work which talks about work load, all the ways that faculty spend their times and also support for those activities.
There is a section on policies and practices, the importance and effectiveness. There is a section on climate, culture and collegiality and a few questions on global satisfaction.
Vice Provost Brown commented on NC State’s relative strengths compared to the peer institutions and other universities. She also talked about how we have changed since the first administration of the survey in 2005-06.
The COACHE Survey presentation is available on the Faculty Senate website at: http://ncsu.edu/faculty_senate/items-interest/documents/2008COACHEPresentationFacSenate.pdf
6. Mediation Training
Senator Levy announced that mediation training will be offered three days during the spring semester and 15-20 faculty members are needed to serve as mediators.
A motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 5 p.m.