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November 2, 2010

Minutes of the Faculty Senate

Present:  Chair Overton, Chair-elect Kellner, Secretary Hergeth, Provost Arden: Senators   Auerbach, Bernhard, Bourham, Croom, Edmisten, Funkhouser, Hatcher, Havner, Headen, Kidd, Kiwanuka-Tondo, Krim, Kotek, Miller-Cochran, Mitchell, Moore, Paur, Poling, Robinson,  Sztajn, Townsend, Tu,  Williams

Excused:  Senators Argyropoulos, Aspnes, Carver, Rucker, Sawyers, Tonelli

Absent:  Senators Hammerberg, Khosla, Levy, Washington

Guests:  Brandy Grabow, Coordinator of Writing and Speaking; Marc Hoit, Chancellor, Office of Information Technology; Ethan Harrelson, Student Senate President Pro-Tempore

1.  Call to Order
Chair Overton called the fifth 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.

There is an open seminar for each of the three candidates for the Provost Search which includes presentations by the candidates, followed by questions from the audience.  These sessions will occur on Tuesday, November 9th for the first candidate and Thursday November, 11th and 18th for the second and third candidates.  In addition, the Executive Committee has also been invited to meet with the candidates. 

The candidates’ CVs are posted on the Provost’s website.

Senator Kiwanuka-Tondo suggested adding an interview session for the full Senate.

Chair Overton responded that the schedule has already been set so the opportunity to add a session for the full Senate is not likely.  She suggested having discussions with a member of the Executive Committee in advance of their session or to attend the open session if possible. She added that she doesn’t think there is any intent to leave out the Senate, but there have been efforts to include them.    

3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 4, October 19, 2010
A motion passed to approve the corrected minutes.

4. Comments from Marc Hoit, Vice Chancellor, Office of Information Technology
Vice Chancellor Hoit reviewed the roles of the CIO. 

CIO Role At  A University
Vice Chancellor Hoit gave an overview of how strategy and operations play a role in the CIO position at a university.

Vice Chancellor Hoit stated that the strategy part addresses how we make information technology help the university achieve results. “The understanding of information technology varies widely.  Everything from people who know a lot more than I do to those who know a lot less.  I get an opportunity to help with that and in doing that I get the time to figure out how we can do things better and how we can keep up with kids that are coming in and know more than we do.  How we can keep things interesting and interactive, how we can improve our teaching and how we can help the research and do all of those things from the perspective that we put resources toward, that as other folks are implementing policies and if they are doing all of that how can I help interact to make sure that we keep in mind technology and how its changing the landscape and how we use that to improve over the years.” 

Vice Chancellor Hoit stated that he plays three main roles —facilitate, arbitrate, and translate.  The first thing he did when he arrived here two years ago was to create a strategic operation.    

Hoit stated that the second piece is ongoing right now.  There are a number of task force going on to implement a governance structure.  He has received input from both the upper level administration all the way to the faculty, staff and students.  “As the strategic plan for the university gets finalized we will want to use the governance structure to develop a strategic plan for information technology.”

OIT Operational Goals
Vice Chancellor Hoit stated that there are five operating goals, and hopefully if you call OIT or the HELP desk you will see that they are being implemented. 

Collaborative engagement
  • Proactive customer service and solutions
  • Reliable and secure systems
  • Innovation- agility- and alignment
  • Pervasive transparency

Major OIT Projects

  • Gmail for students/ looking at Gmail for faculty and staff.  There are some pilot groups going on, and over the next months he will take six to twelve groups in the university as Gmail pilot groups.  His expectation is that we will be able to go forward in the spring and then start a movement process to change everyone over, which is expected to take from 12 – 18 months.
  • Postini-Spam and virus for faculty and staff
  • Discovery Retention:  All email is being retained for up to 10 years with the exception of Spam
  • Managed Desktop Service—shifting to a managed desktop service.  They have costed it out and it’s about $380 a year.  It includes the operating system, Microsoft office, managed desktop suite, the virus/spam filtering. 
  • Combined Pricing Initiative—There was a state law about eighteen months ago that said UNC system must start purchasing in a combined manner to get better pricing.  There are seven models—desktops and laptops which will meet ninety to ninety five percent of our needs except for the person who has really specific needs, and then we have options. 
  • Web Hosting--We have a new web hosting pilot that we’ve just finished; it is expected to be implemented in January. 
  • Classroom capture project—you will be able to capture any voice, slides, or overhead.  We are not including cameras for the first phase.  The students will be able to go back and review that lecture.  People who have implemented it considered it a huge success. 
  • Centralized storage project—They are working on archiving options to meet NSF and DoD data management requirement. We have to have a research project, so currently Chapel Hill, Duke and NC State are working as a community to develop it.
  • Identity and access management—We are building a system that tells us who you are and what you are allowed to have access to. 
  • University Data Mart—Develop a data mart, dashboard and query tools to provide easily accessible, decision-support information for NC State.  They are trying to create the data mart, which is a three to four year project.

IT Governance--New Framework
Hoit has launched four task forces because those are four of the five committees he thinks are needed on campus.  

  • Academic tech
  • Security and compliance
  • Support and help desk , infrastructure

Hoit hopes to launch the results for final structure and committees by January 2011


Senator stated that he has had a unity account since 1978 and he has  an extraordinary number of slow days—one thing worrying him is the devising of the system—he is told that it is an off the shelf project from PeopleSoft.  He wants to know if the user’s time was considered in the costing of all this?

Hoit responded that the PeopleSoft system is built around databases and built in order to make the database function well, not for the user.  We are in the process of rolling out in about a year and a half the next release which fixes many of those problems. Not all of them, but it does a vast improvement to the things we are concerned about.

Is PeopleSoft the only viable option out there?

Hoit stated that there are three vendors who sell products, and there is an open source community that is starting out of about eight universities that have put funds together to build an open source option. So over the next three years we are going to implement our next version and then we are going to start looking ahead with the next one.  I think there will be two or three other options. 

Senator Paur stated that there were reports that she could get with the old system that she can’t figure out how to get now.

Hoit stated that some of the reports are pretty straight forward to accomplish but you have to know where to go to find it and then once you do you can make a short cut so it will be easier to find after then.  He suggested that she starts with Michelle Johnson in the Registrar’s office.  

High performance –comment on what we are going to do on this campus compared to across the other UNC campuses.

Hoit stated that they talked to both Duke and Chapel Hill and looked at partnering and right now it doesn’t look like there is any advantage to partner but they continue to watch for the resources available. 

It appears that some of the decentralization that we had at the college level is being reversed—Is that true?

Hoit responded, partly true.  There is a new committee that we have formed called the Campus IT Directors.  I have eight direct reports and every college has an IT Director, and those eleven and my eight have now lurched to form a unified committee.  They are now the technical resource university wide, so whenever I have a technical idea that needs vetting I send it to them and they work it out.  If something comes up from a college they bring it to that committee and talk about it.  It’s a shared decision on what the best approach is and what is needed rather than a centralized decision.  Some of the things do look like they are moving but just as many things are staying at the colleges, and being nimble and allow them to do what they need.  It’s not perfect yet but the governance is helping do a lot of that.

When and what is the main advantage of moving the faculty to the Gmail system?

Hoit stated, by January of next year he will know if we are moving everyone; it is a high likelihood but not certain yet. The announcement will be made in January but it will probably take twelve months to move faculty.  If you are on the old unity system you can move in ten minutes, but it takes a little bit more to move from GroupWise. 

The advantage is it gives you both email and calendar.  It gives you all Google docs that you can share with faculty all over the world just by putting their email address in.  You can access it anywhere and any time from both mobile phones and all those other things.  Smartphone can get access to your email and anything else all free of charge and it saves the university about $600,000 a year. 

Explore IT at the university level down to the departments.

Each college generally has an IT Director or Assistant Dean for IT.  However, there is also a subcommittee called AIAD, Academic IT Director which is comprised of college and departmental IT people and they have kind of a separate subgroup that vets things that comes into that main committee.

Do you take faculty’s time into account? 

Vice Chancellor Hoit responded, no, I don’t.

Concerned about the quality of what faculty can and can’t do with the software –Moodle.

Hoit responded that Moodle is not with OIT but that it is with Tom Miller.  I do know the background on that.  I do know that dollars were not the main reason.  The main reason was our destiny.  Blackboard Vista was going off in the direction to a closed system.  It didn’t allow you to do lots of different things, costs were escalating, but difficulty of changes and ensuring the company was going to be there and that you could do things that was not very comforting.  That is why so many people never moved out of Wolfware, because they wanted the ability to do these customizations, so I think the decision for Moodle was mostly because we have the source code. If the Moodle organization dies tomorrow we are in control of our own destiny, and that was a big portion of it, not to mention that as the number of universities using Moodle is going up, we expect that platform to get better and better. 

Hoit stated that as far as the governance structure,  they are looking at both DELTA and the Library forming into that so that all the IT and DELTA decisions are communicated the same way to make sure that the flow of information goes in all of those directions.

Dr. Hoits’ entire presentation is available on the web at http://ncsu.edu/faculty_senate/items-interest/

5. Comments from Provost Arden
Provost Arden reported that he has been working on several things over the last couple of months.

Tuition planning is about set and ready to go to the Board of Trustees.
  • Enrollment planning – the data is set and is being entered on our next biannual enrollment plan, so it will be off the table shortly. 
  • Strategic planning is going fast and furious with nine task forces; some of them have four sub task forces. 
  • Budget—we are going to be focusing and looking ahead on the 2011/13 budget. 

Provost Arden stated that they have been hearing some scary things that pertain to the budget.  There may be as much as a 3.7 to 3.9 billion dollar deficit.  A lot will depend on the election. “Although we have been asked to prepare for a 5 and 10 percent scenario we are hearing that it most likely will be 10% or above for the coming biennium.” 


Is GA having any programs or committees that are already looking at cutting programs across the UNC system?

Not to my knowledge and one of the things we do not have as an individual institution or as a system is an approved mechanism for program elimination.

As I understand it GA is talking about the tools but not at cutting anything at NC State.

No, there is always scrutiny when it comes to academic programs.  There is always scrutiny on new academic programs and low performance academic programs. 

What do you hear about the process of selecting a new VP for Academic Affairs and Vice President for Business and Finance?

We will have a new President and probably his two leads.  I’m hoping there will be a search process of some description. 

How does downsizing the institution fit in with strategic planning?

Provost Arden stated that if you are just thinking about a 10% cut which is about $53M across all three budget codes and about $41M across the academic budget code you are only seeing a piece of the pie.  We have a certain amount of reserve put aside to handle some of that budget cut, not all of that budget cut, and we have that reserved because of enrollment growth this year and because of the fact that we cut more than we had to the previous year to handle both continually one time cuts so we still have part of the one time cut still available for offset of permanent reduction in the coming year.  There is also an enrollment increase as part of the formula that we are about to send up to GA today. Our enrollment growth plan if fully funded by the Legislature would generate additional resources to come into the university.  Then there is the proposed tuition; $300 in-state undergraduate and $600 out-of-state would generate about $11M.  The most recent directive from Ernie Murphy was that they want a minimum of 25% of that to be put on need based financial aid and that the balance should be used toward quality and acceptability i.e., seats and sections for students.  It will be a Legislature decision whether we can use some of that for faculty salaries or not, and it will affect all institutions in the system. So you have to put all those pieces in the puzzle together to determine where we come out.  It is important that the University Administration, the faculty and our stakeholders continue to be strong advocates both with UNC GA and wherever possible with the Legislature to ensure that if tuition is increased those funds are returned to this campus to benefit our programs and our students.

We’ve been hearing for months that GA doesn’t want to increase undergraduate enrollment per se—can you tell us a formula for performance and what it looks like?

There is a document which is called Performance Base Enrollment Growth that was put out about a month ago by GA and will be discussed at the upcoming Board of Governors meeting.  This doesn’t really eliminate enrollment growth by the current formula as the principle mechanism of getting new funds.  It says that different institutions will be allowed to grow or not grow their enrollment in distinct categories based on the performance.  So that will determine the institution’s ability to grow their enrollment and therefore request enrollment forms.  Those variables will also determine whether or not there is a cost factor added to the enrollment growth funding formula. 

What is your opinion of the formula and overall does it work in state government?

Overall we fair pretty well in as much as we have been successful in making progress toward our retention and graduation goals.  It looks at historical rates and progress toward goals and so I don’t see that it will limit our enrollment growth in the next two years in any desired category.  Also, we probably will not qualify for a lot of these added cost factors.  Beginning to link funding to things more than just how many students you are admitting but rather how well are you doing, and what is your progress toward specific goals, that is overall a positive thing for us. 

In the report that came out recently about the university’s ranking-- US News and World Report—how do we move forward?

One of the variables that is used there are graduation rates and the other is graduation rates performance.  If you look at our actual graduation rate we have actually been making some progress over a long number of years.  If you look at that US News and World Report which is 2008 data, what it shows is the actual graduation rate for that year versus the previous report funding but the difference between the actual graduation rate and the predictive graduation rate was larger.  In the previous report the graduation rate was 71% and the predictive graduation rate of that cohort was 72%, so we fell one point short. The most recent report was lowering our status on that particular variable.  The actual graduation rate was still 71%, but the predictive graduation rate of that cohort was 74%, so now we fell 3 points short of that predictive graduation rate.

Will you confirm the way students enter the university?

The undergraduate student success task force is dealing with the issue of graduation and retention rates as a whole, so when you talk about our graduation rate being 72% in the most recent cohort, is that where we really want to be? We are making progress but we really want it to be significantly higher.  We want our retention rates to be significantly high, and so this task force is struggling with that.  Transferring within the university and having to retake credits play a key role. One of the issues that they believe is a contributing variable is the difficulty that we have with intra program transfers in this university, and that in turn is often related to the fact that students are admitted to individual colleges or individual programs. We know that the average student changes his major two or three times during their time here, and some of them have difficulty transferring into the major that they want. The other element of this is maybe they don’t get into the major that they want, but because we are a technically oriented set of disciplines in many cases when they do change they will have to repeat a lot of the credits that they have already taken.  So those factors, visibly transferring and having to retake credits are two factors that we think play a role in our retention graduation rate, and so there is a discussion within this committee about whether or not we would be better to go  to the example of Chapel Hill’s model where everyone is admitted to sort of a general college for the first year; it’s a first year experience for everyone and then hopefully a year later you may gain a more informed decision about your major.  My understanding is that if you look across our peers you can see both models. I personally don’t have a strong opinion about one or the other; I personally want whatever works for our students. 

Is there anything in the performance base enrollment to guard against grade inflation?

One of the concerns is that we know how to increase graduation rates by being far more selective in the pool of students that we admit.  That can work at odds with the fundamental institutional mission of that particular university to admit a broad diverse group of students and give students academic opportunities who may not have academic opportunities, so I think some of those institutions are a little bit more challenged by this as much as now. 

When you compare us with some of our peers we have a far greater proportion of students who are working part time and as a major land grant university that prides itself in access and opportunity for a broad range of students.  I wouldn’t want to exclude students who do have to work part time although we know that their graduation rate will be a little slack.  If you are at a university where your students are generally not working part time or not working at all then you are going to see a higher graduation rate.  I think we do have to look at our institutional mission and make sure that we target these aspirational goals aggressively. 

Senator stated that he is concerned about the retention and recruitment of African American students and faculty, so he would like for Provost Arden to address that issue.

I think looking at our student population and looking at the diversity of our student population, and also looking at the diversity of our faculty population it is a big issue and is one that we take seriously.  If you look at the first of all the diversity of the student population it does appear that the data has gone backwards in the last year or so, it appears that there has been a drop of about 100 students.  Some of that is the way we record data, none the less as a proportion of our total student population we have actually been going down. So I think it is an issue that we need to address,  but we have to get consistent numbers to be able to address it.  With respect to retention rates and the actual four year retention rate of African Americans in the general student population is actually not too different.  Our retention rates are pretty good.  The current six  year graduation rate for the general population is almost 73% and for the African American community it is about 61%; so the six year graduation rate for African American students has been fairly constant, so that gap  has remained fairly constant  if not a little bit larger.  So these are issues that we really need to look at. 

Provost Arden mentioned that there had been a racially motivated incident in the Free Expression Tunnel on Sunday.  He stated that he and the Chancellor take it extremely seriously.  He encouraged everyone to read the Chancellor’s memo that is posted on the website.

Provost Arden stated that we have a level of expectation on this campus that you will act and behave in a certain way, and if you choose not to do so then you don’t need to be part of this community.  I think sometimes there needs to be an expectation component to the stances that we take on these things.  I hope it doesn’t distract us from some of the very real issues like the Senator mentioned such as graduation and retention rates.

7. Adjournment 
The meeting adjourned at 4:55 p.m.

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