Left Navigation

Faculty Senate Home Agenda Faculty Senate Bylaws Committees General Faculty Items of Interest Mediation, Grievances & Hearings Meetings & Minutes Resolutions Senators

April 20, 2010

Present:  Chair Overton, Past Chair Martin, Provost Arden; Senators Anson, Argyropoulos, Auerbach, Bernhard, Carver, Croom, Edmisten, Franke, Genereux, Hatcher, Havner, Headen, Hemenway, Kidd, Kiwanuka- Tondo, Krim, Kocurek, Kotek, Levy, Murty, Paur, Poling, Roberts, Sawyers, Townsend, Williams

Excused:  Secretary Hergeth; Senators Akroyd, Fleisher, Miller-Cochran

Absent:  Parliamentarian Weiner; Senators Fahmy, St Amant, Walker

Guests:  P. J. Teal, Secretary of the University; Betsy Brown, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs;  Stephen Kouba, Student Senate President; Johnathan Tucker, Student Senate President Pro Tempore;  Amy Jinnette, University Program Specialist; Marielle Pocan, Assistant to the Provost for Communication

1.  Call to Order
Chair Overton called the fourteenth meeting of the fifty sixth session to order at 3 p.m.

2. Welcome and Announcement
Chair Overton welcomed Senators and Guests.

Chair Overton announced that the Chair-elect elections will begin Friday, April 30 and will be open for one week.

Chair Overton acknowledged the presence of the new Student Senate President and President Pro Tempore and thanked them for attending the meeting.  

3. Comments by Provost Arden
Provost Arden thanked the student leadership.  He recognized members of the Provost office that were present and he also introduced a new addition to the Provost Office, Marielle Pocan as the Assistant to the Provost for Communication to help it communicate more effectively.  He noted that she will also be a valuable resource to the Faculty Senate. Budget

Provost Arden reported that the Governor released her budget today.  He stated that one thing to remember is that this is a starting point for the budget process.  This year the budget is a bit more stable, however the true picture is going to change significantly over the next two or three weeks when all the tax data come in.

Provost Arden pointed out some key elements that he thinks are mixed.  There are some very positive things and there are some concerning things.

Provide full funding of the career and college promise UNC need-based financial aid program ---$35M will go toward that program insuring that needy students are held harmless from the increased cost of education.

Provost Arden stated that the use of campus initiated increases changes from year to year but it is mandated by the UNC system.  How we are going to use that money and the amount of money that comes in varies from year to year but you are looking in the range of 3,4, or 5 million recurring dollars each year.  Historically for the last few years a minimum of 25% had to be used to hold need based financial aid harmless.  We usually put in more than 25%, and then we also put some in the graduate student support plan, and we also put some toward faculty salaries.  If you will remember, that there was a UNC directive that we would try to bring salaries to the eightieth percentile of their peer group.  We are no ways close to being there so we have been trying to use that CT money to do that, and we have used that in a couple of ways. One was to fund promotional increases across campus, which for this campus usually comes to about $470,000.  This year that has been taken out by GA. I’m very committed to funding promotional increases, but they will not come out of CT money this year.  The residual of that CT went toward something called quality and accessibility, which is essentially to increase sections and seats in the units, so if this does get through the process it will be very important to us. 

Enrollment growth request for the coming year
Some of you may remember that last year going into this year we were fully funded for enrollment growth, and what we had projected and what was funded was around eleven million dollars.  It turns out that after we do the census in the fall our actual enrollment would have justified a higher level of funding than the enrollment increase we received.  What we submitted going into the second year of the biennium was to sort of make up for some of that difference.  The projection would have been for the enrollment increase going from this year to next year would be about $15.9M and we submitted an addendum to GA which they accepted and passed on to the Legislature, to adjust this to about $19.1M, and GA accepted that and passed it on to the Governor; and that is part of our whole budget, which is to actually fully fund the enrollment increase including that differential.  So that’s 5.6M, and when you read that it is not 5.6M across the whole system, it is only $5.6M to fund the difference between our predicted and our actual enrollment increase; so for us that is about $3.0M  differential.

What we also know is that what we thought was budgeted for the current year was a 2% flexibility reduction, so we knew out of that 5% going forward that we had to give back one time this year.  We had to deal with at least that 2% flexibility reduction.  We also had to deal with any unfunded elements of the continuation budget increase.  We are not looking at coming back to the units right now.  We think that our planning is roughly within the budget as recommended, but a lot can happen between now and the final budget.  So we are going to be looking at this budget cut not only in terms of how do we get from this year to next year, but also how we can make sure that we have at least some cushion in reserve to be able to begin to put resources toward that strategic priority so that we move in the direction that we want to go.


If the cuts were going to be above 2%, Bowles was ready to go to the mat, so is this 3% going to unleash the horses from GA?

Provost—it is my thinking that GA would view a 3.9% cut on top of what we have already budgeted on a 2% flexibility cut as being something that will seriously impact our core academic mission and I would expect them to be vocal to that degree.

You said we were able to make some cuts with unfilled positions.  Do you know how many unfilled positions are left or are you so close to the edge that we might be getting close to cutting real people?

Provost Arden stated that he has a number in his head, that some colleges have had a strategy of deliberately holding some positions unfilled and that varies from college to college.  I can tell you that we certainly do not have anywhere near the flexibility that we had last year.

Before, we talked about the 5% being planned; now is it time to think in terms of the actual?

Provost Arden responded “no”.  He stated that the planning that was done as far as he can tell is on target at the moment. 

You mentioned that part of the plan is to try to add more sections and more seats in the classroom. 

Provost stated, as we go forward as a university, we can’t afford to continue to grow our enrollment and lose faculty members.  Even if we redirect our resources to instructions that begin to impair our other missions as well, we are a Research I University and so we have faculty who are meant to be engaged in all the major missions of the university. The fact that we lost 178 positions last year and the fact that if you look over a long period of time, while there have been some increases in total faculty members our tenured track faculty members have been somewhat static for a while and it’s a major concern.  So depending on how our budget is in the next couple of years I think we will have to revisit our long term strategic planning. 

Has there been any thought on putting a freeze on increases?

Provost—There has not been discussion of a freeze, but if you look at what has come out of GA and what has come out of our campus, a couple of things are clear.  1) If you look across the system as a whole cuts to administrative positions are high compared to faculty positions.  Also within this university we disproportionately took cuts out of non academic units. So for example the colleges combined accounts for about 55% of the academic affairs budget but accounted for 39% of the last cut.  There is only a certain degree to which you can do that and I would be concerned about something like a moratorium on something like non faculty positions.  There is a balance that you have to have because for you to be effective as a faculty member you need a certain degree of support and where that balance is, it is difficult to ascertain.  Over the last couple of years we have tried to take those cuts disproportionately on and administratively as opposed to academic years and certainly when you see information coming out of General Administration keep your eye out for what General Administration is putting out. 

Has there been consideration about further centralization of functions such as HR and foundations?  Can there be a reduction in centralization?

Provost Arden stated that you can probably run a lot of these functions more effectively or more efficiently the more centralized they are.  Part of the problem is that the more you centralize the more you also need local sensitivity and therefore many of the foundations we argue that having strong foundations at the college level give you a greater sensitivity to the issues that are important at the college, the issues that are important at the staples of the college. So rather than centralization or decentralization I’d prefer to talk about having a balance where you’ll have the appropriate capacity centrally to effectively help what is happening out at the college units. I think development is a classic example.  Whether we like it or not the reality is that our endowment is nowhere near what it needs to be.  Our fundraising capacity is no where near what it needs to be.  We have fairly strong college based peripheral development organizations but we are significantly lacking in central capacity.  For me the conversation is less about moving positions from peripheral foundations simply to building a simple capacity that include the functionality of each of those units.

Chair Overton reminded the faculty that the budget principles are online at budget central which is linked both from the Provost and the Chancellor’s office.  Also, there are no plans for a budget forum.

4. Comments from Ronni  Margolin, Clinical Psychologist, Counseling Center
Dr. Margolin talked briefly about a project that is being jointly offered by Student Affairs and Environmental Health and Safety.  This is an online program that takes about 30 minutes to complete that is designed to introduce faculty and staff at a university level to the kinds of mental health issues that students are facing.  

Margolin would like to receive feedback from the faculty before rolling it out to the campus as a whole.  The program is national so any feedback should be sent to her and she will send it to the company.

5. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 13 of the 56th Session
Motion passed to approve the minutes

6. Elections
Chair Overton commented on the election process for the Executive Committee. 

The procedure for the Executive Committee is that the outgoing senators would vote on a slate of individuals that is made up of senators that would be going into their second through fourth year or those re-elected to their third year.  This year’s senate should elect six people unranked and the twelve top vote getters will become the ballot for next year’s Senate to elect an Executive Committee.

Chair Overton also explained what is required of those serving on the Executive Committee.

7. Annual Reports
Resources and Environment
Senator Anson reported that all of their issues were solved within the committee.  The committee has written a brief report that will be sent out to everyone via email.

Academic Policy
Senator Headen reported that a major concern about progress toward degree not working well will be coming up next year and the question is how you restructure it.

Personnel Policy
Senator Poling recognized members of the committee and those who worked with the committee.  He reported that the grievance policy was brought to a successful conclusion.  Chair Overton took a huge role in the process and the committee was able to vet the policy and bring it to the senate for approval.

Governance Committee - Report on Practices for Selection of Department Heads and Chairs
Senator Genereux recognized members of the committee that were present. 

Senator Genereux reported that the report focuses on practices for the selection of department heads and chairs.  Also included in the report are some tendencies related to previous Faculty Senate work on this project.  Below is a summary from the 52 page report.

During the 2009-2010 academic year the Governance Committee of the Faculty Senate undertook a survey of deans at NCSU and some NCSU peer institutions to gather data
concerning practices for the selection of department heads and chairs. The 3-question survey was administered mainly via e-mail (one university was surveyed by phone). We received
responses from 55 deans at 10 universities, concerning whether department heads or chairs were used in their colleges and what role the faculty play in the selection of heads or chairs. We read the responses, assigned each response a score for the “strength of faculty involvement” in the selection process (1 to 5, with 1 being the weakest and 5 the strongest involvement), and calculated some simple summary statistics. A score on the 5-point scale is not intended as a judgment on the selection process used in a particular college, but only as a comparative index for the strength of faculty involvement in the process, as indicated by the dean’s response to the survey (we sought no input from the faculty in these 55 colleges).

Overall, the reported faculty involvement in selection of heads and chairs is significant and serious in the majority of colleges (but not all), whether the position is called chair or head. The
overall mean score for the 55 colleges was 3.53 (standard deviation = 0.69); 31 colleges had scores of 4 or 5, 20 had scores of 3, and 4 had scores of 2 (no college had a score of 1).

The mean score for the “strength of faculty involvement” in the head or chair selection process was only slightly (and perhaps not significantly) higher for chairs. Mean results on the 5-point scale were:

• 26 chairs: mean score = 3.62, standard deviation = 0.70

• 24 heads: mean score = 3.50, standard deviation = 0.66

• 5 cases that were not clear on the title used: mean score = 3.20, standard deviation = 0.84.

From among the 55 colleges responding, only 8 seemed to lack a faculty-based search committee as part of the head or chair selection process (and some of those describe other forms of fairly serious faculty involvement and consultation).

Many deans provided thoughtful, expanded explanation concerning their selection process and the role of faculty. Review and consideration of the survey data, in combination with our own university experience, suggests to us that the best process is a faculty-led screening and interview process that includes:

• open faculty-dean cooperation and communication, and respect for the roles of both parties

• thoughtful selection of a search committee, with the faculty having input on the committee composition, and the composition including a mix of faculty representation for the range of department programs, facilities, and activities to be supported by the head or chair eventually chosen

• an open nomination or application process that can foster real choice at the end for both faculty and dean

• opportunities for candidates to articulate their vision for, and approach to, the chair or head position, to the full faculty, staff, and dean (for example, a written statement from each candidate, followed by oral presentation during interviews of the finalists)

• opportunities for feedback, from the department faculty and staff to the search committee, on the candidates (for example, written comments by e-mail or anonymous log-in to a search web site, with comments coming after both the initial written applications or nominations, and again after the interviews and presentations by the finalists)

• a thoughtful search committee process, taking into account faculty and staff feedback, for selecting finalists from the candidate pool and for articulating the relative strengths and weaknesses of the finalists in writing and in discussion with the dean

• a thoughtful selection process by the dean (or search committee, in colleges or departments preferring to vest the final selection with the committee) that respects and fully utilizes the wealth of information gathered and presented by the search committee.

Many deans described close faculty-dean cooperation during the head or chair selection process, something we take as a likely indicator of a healthy academic workplace environment in the college, and one that indicates and reinforces a positive triangular model for college relations (with dean-faculty, chair-faculty, and dean-chair on the three sides of the triangle) rather than a linear hierarchical model that places the head or chair in the difficult position of being the sole funnel and filter between the department faculty and dean.

While our survey focused on selection of department heads and chairs, we also have two related recommendations regarding department governance. First, we suggest that selection processes for department heads and chairs be described in written bylaws properly adopted by the faculty.

Second, we believe it is important for an academic department to have an active “Faculty Affairs Committee” (FAC) or equivalent. We see the FAC as generally a small (e.g., 3-5 members) standing committee of tenured faculty members elected by their peers on a rotating basis and charged with, among other things, frank feedback to the head or chair from faculty in the department. As mentioned by some of the deans responding to our survey, a FAC can play a role in starting off the head or chair selection process (e.g., advising on the search committee composition or soliciting nominations), and more generally can be a valuable focal point for communication between the department faculty and the head or chair.

Finally, we suggest that the Governance Committee of the Faculty Senate (or another faculty body) continue the work on this important topic of faculty involvement and shared governance in departmental administration, including data collection and analysis, and formulation of specific recommendations. Stronger shared governance is critical to the future success of N.C. State.

The “local scale” (department, up to and including the department connection with the dean) is fertile ground for new insights, practices, and action regarding shared governance.

8. Adjournment 
A motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 4:40 p.m.


Footer Nav