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October 19, 2010

Minutes of the Faculty Senate

Present:  Chair Overton, Chair-elect Kellner, Secretary Hergeth, Provost Arden, Parliamentarian Weiner; Senators  Argyropoulos, Aspnes, Auerbach, Bernhard, Bourham, Carver, Edmisten, Funkhouser, Hammerberg,  Havner, Headen, Khosla, Kidd, Kiwanuka-Tondo, Kotek, Levy, Miller-Cochran, Mitchell, Moore, Paur, Poling, Robinson, Rucker, Sztajn, Townsend, Tu,  Williams

Excused:  Senators Sawyers, Tonelli

Absent:  Senators Croom, Hatcher, Krim, Washington

Guests:  Randy Woodson, Chancellor; P. J. Teal, Secretary of the University; Marcia Gumpertz, Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty & Staff Diversity; Eileen Goldgeier, VC & General Counsel; Betsy Brown, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs; Zachary Dieze, Pat Sobrero, Extension Engagement & Economic Development; Joan Pennell, CHASS, Center for Family & community Engagement; Ellis Cowling, Univ. Distinguished Professor At-Large Emeritus; Ethan Harrelson, Student Senate President ProTempore

1.  Call to Order
Chair Overton called the fourth 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 announced that the Chancellor’s Installation and the Strategic Planning Process Forum will be taking place next week.  The Chancellor’s installation will be on Tuesday morning, and the Strategic Planning event will be Tuesday afternoon. 

There will also be an event hosted by the library and the Provost 4:45–7 p.m. Wednesday, October 27th celebrating faculty research and scholarship.

Chair Overton announced that the meeting times and places of the Strategic Planning task forces are on the website. There is a great deal of information out there to get people engaged in the process.

Chair Overton encouraged the faculty to get involved early in the Strategic Planning process because she thinks it is better to get engaged early and be proactive about issues as opposed to reactive once a lot of the work has been done.

3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 3, September 21, 2010
A motion passed to approve the minutes.

4. Comments from Chancellor Woodson
Chancellor Woodson announced that Mike Walden, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Economics at North Carolina State University, received the Award for Excellence in Public Service from the Board of Governors of the multi-campus University of North Carolina.The award, announced during the Board’s regular October meeting, was established in 2007 to encourage, identify, recognize, and reward distinguished public service and outreach by faculty across the University.  This is the first time the award has been given to NC State.

Chancellor Woodson stated that tuition and fee advisory groups are up and running.  He has been given their recommendations and will act on them soon to get them to the Board of Trustees. 

Chancellor Woodson stated that we continue to be an environment where the Board of Governors initiated increases are capped at 6.5% regardless of what is happening within the state’s economy.  The economy for the next fiscal year is something that we are very concerned about.  It’s a challenge for us when 73% of our recurring budget comes from the state relative to a smaller portion from the students.  The directive that we received from UNC General Administration is that we should model a 10% cut, which is a challenge for us to work through.  Provost Arden and Vice Chancellor Leffler will be working with all the deans and unit leaders to work through this. 

Chancellor Woodson reported that we have been able to reinvest some dollars in the academic units this year, both on a recurring basis and a non recurring basis.  We were able to allocate 25 faculty positions to various colleges and we have allocated $11M in one time funding across the university.  We are also very nervous as we go forward, so it’s a challenging time and it’s one that for North Carolina is actually increasingly a bigger challenge.   

General Administration is asking us to focus as much as possible on faculty compensation with the next budget.  I just can’t imagine a scenario where we are not trying to do something in recognition of the fact that we have been so long without increases across our system, so we will just have to see how it plays out.

Chancellor Woodson stated that we are very involved in the strategic plan.  A strategic plan that really identifies priorities is as critical in a restrictive environment as it is in a growing environment.  He is hopeful that everyone will be engaged in the discussion and will come out of it with a plan going forward.

Chancellor Woodson reported that the Provost search is nearing a point of campus interviews that will occur over the next few weeks.


Chair-elect Kellner:  You mentioned that 73% of our recurring budget comes from the state and I don’t recall seeing a number like that. The numbers I have seen are more like 46 or 47%, so what am I missing?

Chancellor Woodson responded that the reason he has asked us to think about it differently is because the money we have to run this university in terms of allocating out to colleges and to hire faculty and staff, is the money we get from the state for state appropriations and the money we get from students through tuition.  The 46% is of our total budget which includes grants and contracts, which are restricted to those faculty that have been awarded the grants and contracts, and while this does hire a lot of people it does not grow our faculty and it does not allow us to grow the budgets in the departments, so if you think about a university fiscal report in terms of what you can count on year in and year out, it is tuition and fees and state appropriations, and if you are fortunate enough to have a large endowment, it is the proceeds of that large endowment. The money that we have available to us to grow our faculty and to teach the students and to hire the staff who are not on soft money, 73% of that budget comes from state appropriations.

Some of the 10% that we are modeling, will it get worse than this?  What lobbying efforts will come of this?

Chancellor Woodson stated that one lobbying effort that I can guarantee is that we will be calling all constituents to weigh in on is an effort that the Legislature has made in recent years to take the tuition money generated on campuses and bring it back to the state to fill budget shortfalls at the state level.  The one thing that we should hold dear is that the tuition that our students are charged comes back to benefit the campus where those students are educated.  If some members of the legislature have their way about it, $180M generated from our students will go to the state.  If we see that happening again this year, we will call on every constituent that we can imagine to lobby the legislature to, at the very least, allow the university to retain the tuition that the students pay for the benefit of their education.  We also have to be mindful of where the state is economically, and they are talking about a 3.5 to 3.9 billion dollar shortfall on a 19 billion dollars budget.  So other state agencies have been asked to model a 15% budget cut.  This is going to be a year where we are going to have to talk long and hard about investing in higher education and what it means for the state’s economy.

Chancellor Woodson stated that the students wanted to know if the Legislature is going to do what they did last year and offset a budget cut in the state with a tuition increase.  “It would be almost impossible for us to increase tuition sufficiently to offset that level of cuts.  I mean, it would be catastrophic to the students because tuition can only account for 18% of a budget,” he said.

Michigan is much worse off than North Carolina, but their universities follow a different funding model. Can you talk about what the advantages are?

Chancellor Woodson stated that Michigan gets less of their total budget from the state than we do, but it is still a fairly large amount.  The big difference for Michigan is that 40% of their undergraduates are from outside of Michigan, and they pay $31,000 annual tuition to be there.   That is a huge revenue stream.  It is true that the state budget cuts are dampened in that environment because so much of their budget comes from both in state and out of state tuition.  Florida is the only state that chares lower tuition than we do.

Michigan has to give a lot more in financial aid.  Those universities with higher tuition rely heavily on financial aid.  Sometimes it is not as clear as raising tuition and getting more money because when you do that you often have to generate the resources necessary to offset those tuition increases for the students you are trying to attract and the students that have financial need.  We are a low-tuition high-state-aid state, and we are about the last one left.  Florida is still there with us, but they are moving quickly, and Texas is already gone.  The challenge is that we are in an environment where the big problem in higher education is that if you look nationally, the increase in tuition at most of our campuses has far outpaced inflation, and so higher education has taken a real beating over that.  The reason is that state funding for higher education has been plummeting because state budgets have been pressured to pay for prisons and Medicaid.  We didn’t increase our tuition; we had a state that committed to higher education. So, yes we have increased tuition but not the way others have across the country.  So now we are in an environment where any increase in tuition is seen as the university is putting it on the backs of students when other universities made that shift years ago and we didn’t, but now we are grouped in with them regardless, so we are in an environment where affordability is the big issue in higher education.  We are without a doubt one of the most affordable universities in the country.  We have one of the best returns on investment of any university in the country.  The state of North Carolina has celebrated that but it makes it very difficult in an environment where the state cannot fund it.  Moving toward a high tuition model is very difficult in this environment. 

When there are tuition increases how much of those increases does the university actually realize?

Chancellor Woodson stated that the idea of a campus initiated increase is that the campus would retain all of the money.

Provost Arden responded that it varies from year to year—in general campus initiated increases go into three or four different things.

What is being done to hold the administrative cost down?

Chancellor Woodson stated that one thing that is different here than in a number of other places is that we have a very decentralized culture where a lot of the administrative resources associated with running the university such as Business Services, Human Resources, for example are actually embedded in college budgets, and the people who have oversight for those responsibilities report to a dean or department head.  That is a very different model than a lot of universities where the administrative oversight for Business Services, Human Resources, Purchasing, etc. is a very centralize model, where people report differently. There is a lot more efficiency in a system like that, but less customer focus, so we have a very customer focused mentality because all of these people are at the department and school level, but also not a particularly efficient model in terms of the number of people that we have embedded in all of these functions. So I can tell you that this is something that I’m going to look very hard at because I think we can serve the needs of the faculty in a more efficient way, and any resources that we save administratively we would be able to put back into the academy.  We have to be very careful how we handle that because we don’t want to take away the service mentality that faculty expect.  It’s different here than in places where it’s organized in a flatter structure where there is a lot more overlapping job responsibilities and a bit more efficiency.   I have a Resource Task Force, and that is one of the areas that I have asked them to pay careful attention to.

 Steps of endowment increases, and differences in cash and cash equivalent endowments?

Chancellor Woodson stated that our cash equivalent endowment is $450M and $120M of that is in land, but it is fair to include that in the endowment because that land actually generates cash by the use of the land.  Even if you count it we are well below our competitive peers.  Imagine a 2 billion dollars endowment would generate close to $100M a year which is not far from what we get from the students’ tuition.  That would be transforming to this institution to have that level of cash that we can invest back into the academy.  We have raised a lot of money at NC State.  We have had a billion dollar campaign that was very successful, but we mostly invested it in buildings and the immediate cash need, and it didn’t grow the endowment as much as we need to, so the endowment is my highest priority for fund raising. We are in the early stages of what is often called the silent campaign where you get lead donors to commit to moving the institution forward and then you announce a formal campaign probably in the year 2012 roughly, and the formal campaign would be a five to seven year campaign that would likely have a total fund raising goal of a lot of money.  We have structured it in a way to encourage donors to give to the endowment.  The challenge for us and me as Chancellor is this is for the future of NC State, but we have got to deal with it and we have to start some place.

When I was asked by students in the Park Scholars program, what is the one thing that when you leave the Chancellorship that you would like to have accomplished for this institution?  I have to put grow the endowment at the top of the list.  If we are going to remain a low tuition university, and if we keep the priority on affordability, then that puts my efforts and the deans efforts on fund raising for programs and for faculty because we are affordable for students.  If we were in an environment where our tuition was really high we would be raising a lot of money for the endowment to offset that high tuition.  We have low tuition so let’s focus on raising the sources to elevate the statue of this institution, elevate the faculty, endow departments, endow colleges,  and it will being transforming.

5. The Scholarship of Engagement Task Force Finding and Recommendations
Dr. Patricia  Sobrero, Associate Vice Chancellor of Extension  Engagement & Economic Development  stated that the Scholarship of Engagement Task Force is a task force to look at how we integrate learning discovery engagement, especially in the scholarship of engagement.  Today they will be discussing the charge, definition, challenges and some recommendations that are in the report. 

Sobrero stated that NC State has the honor of being one of the first universities to be classified by Carnegie as an engaged university through our partnerships and curriculum.  We do a good job on the structure here with the six realms that will be talked about, but there are some things that we need to work on. 

The task force was led by Dr. Ellis Cowling and Dr. Joan Pennel and they also asked people from each college to participate.  There were basically three charges and they were how do we develop four faculty and four department heads and departments and RPT committees evidence that is easy to see and understand.  What is the evidence for the scholarship of engagement?  What institutional performance indicators do we use?  The third one was the language that we use. 

Comments from Dr. Joan Pennel

Dr. Pennel stated that they talked about the collaborative generation, refinement, conservation, and exchange of mutually beneficial and societally relevant knowledge that is communicated to and validated by peers in academe and the community.    She mentioned two of a number of counter arguments to the scholarship and engagement. One is undermining distinction between basic and applied research and another real concern about scholarship and engagement is that it could deskill students. 

Dr. Pennel explained that early on in the taskforce they thought about the attitudes in their departments toward engagement .  They learned that some departments were very supportive, in others there were more variable  support and there were other departments that were totally  unsupportive, which it had ramifications for reappointment promotion and tenure.

Comments from Dr. Cowling

Dr. Ellis Cowling stated that they believe increased emphasis needs to be given to the values that define NC State University.  He noted that the most important sentence that he has written in his career is “Above all, North Carolina State University values excellence and distinction in creative scholarship that facilitates the increase and diffusion of knowledge, wisdom, and the moral dimension of intelligence.”  

Dr. Cowling shared his thoughts on the recommendations from the task force. 

The final Task Force Report and Presentation is on the Office of Extension, Engagement, and Economic Development Website:  http://www.ncsu.edu/extension/documents/SET2010.pdf .

6. Adjournment
The meeting adjourned at 4:35 p.m.

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