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Minutes of the Faculty Senate

March 27, 2007

Present:  Chair Allen, Secretary Bruck, Chair-Elect Martin, Provost Nielsen; Senators Akroyd, Branoff, Culbreth, Evans, Fauntleroy, Fleisher, Geezer, Hetman, Hudson, Jones, Keller, Kola, Koneke, Lindbo, Moore, Murty, Overton, Ozturk, Raymond, Robarge, Schultheis, Scotford,  Shamey, Smith, Williams

Excused:  Senators Blair, Gustke, Hanley-Bowdoin

Absent:  Parliamentarian Corbin; Senators Anson, Banks-Lee, Dawes, Muddiman, Mulvey, Yencho, Wessels

Visitors:  Marcia Gumpertz, Assistant Vice Provost, Faculty and Staff Diversity; Lauren Gregg, News Services; Katie Perry, Senior Vice Provost; Lee Fowler, Director of Athletics; James Allred, Student; Ayesha Khaded, Student; Alyse deJulien, Student; Courtney Cleaves, Student; John Elias, Student; Linda Stafford, Student; Megan O’Connor, Student; Rebecca Pence, Student; Taylor Morrow, Student; Phillip Pecores, Student; Casiar Meloy, Student; Kristina Proffer, Student; Sarah Dickey, Student; Ryan Cooke, Student; Will Rickman, Student; John Mickey, Student Senator

1.  Call to Order
Chair Nina Stromgren Allen called the thirteenth meeting of the fifty-third session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate to order at 3:00 p.m.

2.   Welcome and Announcements
Chair Allen welcomed Senators and guests.

The annual meeting of the North Carolina AAUP at Chapel Hill will be held March 30-31.  AAUP President Cary Nelson will speak on  “The End of Education.”

The Research Ethics Education workshop will be April 12-14.  For more information contact Dr. Gary Comstock.

Chair Allen reported on the Faculty Assembly:  The UNC report on the implementation of recommendations from subcommittees on the recost of text books are requiring the university to either buy back or rent introductory course textbooks. 

3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 11, February 27, 2007
The motion passed unanimously to approve the minutes.

4. Remarks by Provost Nielsen
President Bowles has commissioned General Administration to do a study entitled “UNC Tomorrow”, which is an initiative to review the needs that the state has for the UNC system over the next twenty years.  Norma Mills is the director of the study and Tony Caravano who served as Student Body President at NC State for two consecutive terms is her Chief Assistant.

They plan to visit each campus to discuss the goals, process, and outcomes of the initiative.  There will be representation from faculty, students, and administrators. The UNC Tomorrow campus visit will include a discussion of what campuses are doing currently to respond to regional and statewide challenges, how each campus currently identifies those challenges to which it responds, and any barriers that may exist which inhibit the campuses’ responsiveness to present and future challenges.

UNC online is another one of President Bowles’ initiatives to create a portal through which, distance education offerings can be more readily marketed to the world.  This UNC portal will handle inquiries from people and direct them to the university. 

Chief Information Officer (CIO)  – A plan has been implemented to put together a comprehensive CIO position at NC State.    An information technology scoping team of twelve people has been created to help the administration decide what the issues are in putting together a comprehensive CIO position.   The group will be chaired by two external consultants—Greg Jackson, CIO for the University of Chicago and Jack McCredie, CIO Emeritus of the University of California Berkley.  Their first visit to campus will be April 10-11. 

This summer there will be a university-wide summer reading book for incoming students titled “The Colors of the Mountain” by Da Chin, a Chinese author.

5. New Business
Background Checks
Senator Wayne Robarge, Chair of the Personnel Policy Committee reported on a regulation   regarding background checks and the procedures that will be followed. 

The committee met with Barbara Carroll, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources;  Kathy Lambert, Director of Employee Services – HR; and David Drooz, Senior Associate General Counsel – Office of Legal Affairs, to discuss issues and concerns regarding Regulation REG 05.55.8 “Background Checks for Employees”.  During that meeting they produced a report in a series of questions and comments.  Senator Robarge noted that some things slipped through the cracks and there were other recommendations that were included.

Senator Robarge stated that nothing would be changing with the faculty’s positions.  There will be no background check regarding their individual activity, which includes promotion and tenure, etc., however if the faculty seek a senior teaching office or an administrative office they will trigger a scenario where they would be subject to a background check.  SPA staff is covered under this as well.

The issue about credit checks and motor vehicle checks are listed along with criminal background checks.  Basically they are saying that background checks in regards to criminal background will be done on all hires as indicated.  A credit check will not be automatic in those scenarios and neither will a motor vehicle check.  This is something that Legal Affairs and HR are going to review and make changes and clarifications.  Essentially it is important for the faculty to be aware that their interpretation is what triggers a credit check and a background check will of course be related to the responsibilities in the position but is to be initiated from the hiring authority.  The good news at the moment is that credit checks and motor vehicle checks are not automatic on everyone.  However what initiates when those are done is not clearly spelled out that it is going to be something specifically requested from department heads or the hiring authorities associated with who is trying to fill a position.  Human Resources assures that they will review all such requests for credit checks and or vehicle checks and will step in and say whether the checks are necessary or not.  It will be done on a case-by-case basis.

A third party vendor is under contract for NCSU.  Even though the UNC system is not requiring this they did facilitate doing a system-wide contract to make it more affordable, which made the cost lower.  Currently the cost is going to be paid for at the dean’s level and is relatively modest at six dollars.

Adjunct appointments were not addressed.  Since Adjunct appointments are usually courtesy appointments there is no obligation currently to do background checks.

Provost Nielsen stated that the UNC system had required it for SPA but in the absence of requiring it, it was strongly encouraged by General Administration.  It was clear that background checks were going to be done on SPAs in any position and at any level so he felt that if they were going to do background checks on SPA folks then they should be done on everyone. 

Senator Kellner wanted to know what impact a check of this sort would have on individuals?

Senator Robarge stated that the faculty hire faculty at this university and when and how we are going to deal with the question of the faculty voting on a candidate who they feel is the best candidate academically and then that candidate is disqualified, who gets to see the information. 

Senator Williams stated that he would resent someone doing a background check on him after working here for twenty-two years.

Senator Robarge stated that it needs to be clarified in the regulation who the hiring official is, what their responsibilities, are and how that person will interact with HR. 

Senator Williams wanted to know if the university would be better off in the long run because we have done background checks versus not doing them.

Senator Robarge thinks this effort is well worth it.  “The Chair of the Faculty represents us and this is going to be an issue in the future and what we have tried to do is lay a foundation for this chair and future chairs to go back to and reference.” 

Senator Robarge noted that the guidelines state that the person who is disqualified is required to be given information as to why that happened.   The issue of whom the hiring authority is and what we are going to do about this in terms of hiring faculty is not settled.

6. Election of Secretary of the Faculty
Senators Janet Hudson and Hans Kellner were nominated to serve as Secretary of the Faculty.

Senator Hans Kellner was elected to serve as Secretary of the Faculty for the next two years (2007-2009).

7. Adjournment
A motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 4 p.m.

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