October 16, 2012

1. Call to Order

Chair Hans Kellner called the meeting to order at 3 p.m.  and welcomed everyone.

2.  Remarks from the Chair

Chair Kellner introduced Professor Mary Watzin as the new Dean of the College of Natural Resources.

Chair Kellner stated that today he would like to talk about a number of issues that are timely at the moment.  This is the season when we have the responsibility to realize how well off we are and contribute to the State Employees Campaign.  It seems that the response leaves room for improvement and that we can all go back and talk to our colleagues and encourage them to participate.  This is an important part of what we  do.

The next thing that is happening comes from  the office of Planning and Analysis and this is the COACHE Survey.  The results are in but not yet fully analyzed.  We  will be hearing more about this large scale 75 university survey of tenured and  pre-tenure faculty. The response from North Carolina State was considerably higher than average. I have looked at some of the numbers that were sent to me on faculty satisfaction with recognition but have no way of evaluating them at this point.  We will be hearing more about that from that in the Faculty Senate later in the semester.

Chair Kellner reported that we are about to begin the Physical Master Plan review process and the first of the precinct workshops will be tomorrow from 3-5 p.m., in the Biomanufacturing  Training and Educational Center,  room 119.   At these workshops there will be a participatory interaction section for each of the five precincts and one also for facility staff in order to identify stake holders in the precincts who are interested in participating in the master plan review.  Participants will then talk in an open forum at the workshops and you will be tagged as future folks involved in this process.

Chair Kellner announced that the Chancellor’s Forum scheduled for tomorrow has been rescheduled due to the memorial for President William Friday.

Chair Kellner shared a resolution that was passed by the Faculty Assembly to honor the memory of President Friday.

3. Approval of the Minutes, Roby Sawyers. Secretary of the NCSU Faculty

The minutes of the March 13, 2012 General Faculty Meeting were approved as submitted.

4. Remarks, Chamcellor Woodson

Chancellor Woodson announced that the Chancellor’s Forum has been rescheduled to October 23 at 10:30 a.m. in Stewart Theater.

Chancellor Woodson stated that a lot of good things have happened this fall, it has been a long time since the basketball team have been selected to win the ACC.

Chancellor Woodson announced that the university received a $10 million gift to endow the Department of Poultry Science.  He stated that the Prestage family provided an outstanding gift and that is just another reflection of all of our combined efforts to elevate the endowment of the university to keep NC State strong.

The fall rankings have been released.  We remain one of the best values in America.  We were the fifth best value of all of the public higher education institutions which is a good thing.  We also made the top 20 list with graduates that had the least amount of debt and when you combine that with our top 20 ranking from the Wall Street Journal for graduates that are the most career ready that is a good combination – affordable education, low debt and you actually get a job – so these are things that I think will continue to serve NC State well.

We hope that in the future some of the things that we have implemented with the strategic plan will continue to position NC State as a growing reputational institution and growing in terms of national ranks.  One indication that this is likely to be the case is every year the Presidents and Provosts that are asked to provide that subjective ranking of national universities are asked to identify ten universities that are putting in place programs, procedures, policies, and innovations that will move the university forward and should be considered by other universities as good bench marks.  NC State was ironically one of the institutions included on the list of up and coming universities and it’s called up and coming because they expect our rankings to be improving because of the things that we are doing.   We made that list which tells you that Presidents and Provosts around the country are looking at NC State and saying that we are doing a lot of innovative things.

Chancellor Woodson announced that Dr. Jay Baliga from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will receive the 2012 NC Award for Science, which is the highest honor for science received from the Governor and it’s the second year in a row this award has gone to an NC State faculty member.  Last year Trudy MacKay from Genetics received the award.

Joe DeSimone, Professor of Chemical Engineering and also a Professor of Chemistry at UNC Chapel Hill was elected to the National Academy of Science.

Chancellor Woodson stated that there was also a distinction  for students.  Three students from CHASS, Design, and Management collaborated to make a movie from one of the student’s poems called the “Strong One”.  It won the campus based movie fest and for that honor they had the honor of raising the money to take the movie to Hollywood to be in the National Student Movie contest, where it won best director and best film.  The movie can be viewed online at “strongone.com.”  He stated that it is a great reflection on NC State.

Chancellor Woodson commended Provost Arden and his team for moving a strong initiative forward.  He is amazed at the team that the Provost pulled together to keep the university moving.

5.  Remarks, Provost Arden

Provost Arden reported that the 2012 slate of Deans are complete.  He welcomed Mary Watzin as the new Dean of the College of Natural Resources.

Provost Arden gave brief updates on several initiatives:

The College of Science:  Provost Arden reported that he sent a memo last Friday to update everyone on the College of Sciences. He explained that this is where the academic programs will be housed that come out of the four departments that will be moving likely to the College of Sciences.  Also moving are the tenure track faculty, non tenure track faculty, non faculty EPA, SPA, Post docs, and the undergraduate student positions, so it is not quite 200 positions that will be moving.

Provost Arden stated that the next major decision to be made is the financial implications of these moves.  We will be leaving the agriculture budget code funds that are associated with those programs and personnel in the college of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  There are some additional resources that are moving that we have to account for, so we hope to have those budgets locked down by the end of this month or early next month.

Provost Arden stated that he believes everything is on track but that there are still some major decisions to be made as we go through the implementation phase.

Faculty Excellence Program- Provost Arden stated that he announced early-on that we would be recruiting 38 outstanding faculty to this campus and that it would be done in twelve cluster hires.   We will be including them in disciplinary clusters so that faculty will have responsibilities both to that interdisciplinary cluster and to an academic home, so we have to think through some different ways of doing business to make sure that those faculty who we recruit to this campus are really set up for success down the line.

The success of this program will not be defined by our ability to get 38 bodies on campus within the next twelve months, it will be defined by our ability to have 38 extraordinarily successful faculty and programs on this campus 5, 6, 7, 15 years from now. Some of those searches have more than 100 applicants, including national academy members, so I think this year has the potential to bring some incredible strength to this campus.  That is not the only way we will be bringing new faculty to this campus. As we move forward with our strategic plan, we plan to hire as many as several hundred new faculty to the campus by 2020.  I am very excited by the progress that we are making on the Chancellor’s hiring excellence program and hope to have a significant number of those folks on campus by next fall.  In fact, we already have one in the department of Statistics.

The Faculty Scholars Program:  This is a program that we announced earlier in the year that is designed to recognize high achieving mid-career faculty on this campus.  We know that part of growing our faculty base on this campus is not just recruiting new faculty, it is retaining the extraordinary talent that we already have.  When we lose a young Assistant or Associate Professor after five, eight, or ten years it is an incredible cost to the institution.

Provost Arden stated that each college had a process to nominate individuals.  Those nominations, forty total, went to a university level committee and that committee included one representative from each college.  The committee submitted a report and I’m in the process of reviewing it now.

Provost Arden stated that he is amazed at the extraordinary quality of all of the mid-career faculty that we have on this campus and senior faculty as well. I’m hoping to make a final decision and a final recommendation to the Chancellor before the end of this month, so that we can recognize those individuals early next month.  It will be a tough job since all  40 individuals deserve recognition.

Provost Arden reported that the tuition and fee processes are complete and their recommendations are in the hands of the Chancellor.  The committees worked very hard during the month of September and early October and we had some very solid recommendations that are going forward, from here the Chancellor will convene a conference committee, develop final recommendations and then move it forward to the Board of Trustees.  This is a long process where after it leaves our campus it goes to General Administration and then the Board of Governors and eventually becomes part of the budget request that goes downtown.  It is important in terms of achieving a balance between appropriated resources for the institution.  It’s critical if we are going to continue to implement our strategic plan and move the institution forward and yet maintain affordability and access.

Provost Arden stated that if you look at our current data on tuition it appears that we remain a best buy nationally. We are in the top tier of best buy educations in the country and if you look at it there are sixteen official peers who are either third or second lowest in every category of that group in tuition.  We aim to remain a good value and a good buy but you have to keep a close eye on the balance between access, affordability, and the resources that are going to be necessary to move the institution forward.

Provost Arden reported that our enrollment plan for 2013 was submitted on Friday and this is once again a long process.  You will remember from our 2020 enrollment plan, which we developed along with our strategic plan that our overarching plan is to grow undergraduate enrollment slightly, only about 3% by 2020 and to grow graduate enrollment slightly more aggressively.  The plan that we have submitted for the coming fall is consistent with that trajectory. However, it was a little more tricky this year than it’s been in the past because of the way we have changed distant education.   So as you are aware it is part of our strategic realignment, full time on campus students no longer pay for taking additional distance education courses.  What that has meant is not only that a lot of those DE credits are shifting from the DE docket to the on campus docket, but in fact there was a significant impact on course taking behavior, so the average number of full time on campus students who take DE courses has increased by about 30 percent.  Now the good news is that more students are now finding ways to fit more courses into their calendar and the average number of credit hours per student attempted is beginning to increase.  This is the affect that we wanted to have.  There is a cost in doing that as well so we had to spend a lot of time making sure that the numbers are accurate, predicting not only what our total credit hours were going to be, but what our projected tuition and fees and appropriation request were going to be for the current year.  I want to give a lot of credit to Duane Larick and Louis Hunt for leading that process and to Steve Keto and the Budget Office and to Tom Miller who worked really hard.

Questions and Comments

In the College of Sciences, is there any discussion on space rearrangements? In addition, how are searches being conducted? Are we looking at individual faculty or groups that are already doing this research?

Provost Arden responded that the reality is space is a huge issue for us.  Come July 1 we are not anticipating any major moves.  I would envision that over time we will be looking at trying to move folks into new or different space. We have a space implementation team that is headed by Vice Chancellor Lomax and they will be working throughout the course of the year.

This is a really a tough one and I think it’s made additionally difficult by the fact that we are being spoiled by some pretty good new appropriated space and the likelihood of major growth in new appropriated space over the next five years is probably not high, so we are looking at reallocation and repair and renovation.  Some of the colleges that are affected, particularly the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has some very poor quality space, some of the oldest space on campus, so we are going to have to tackle this very aggressively.

With respect to the cluster hires, we asked for faculty to form clusters or interdisciplinary units and to present proposals to us.  We will then define what that cluster will be and in my mind that is completely open to change as the years go by.  In some cases that particular group of faculty has gone after known individuals.  These are open searches where we have been successful in encouraging key people to apply through that process. In some cases they have been targeted in terms of the recruitment and in other cases they have been wide open, but I could easily see that if we attract 3 or 4 people to join an existing interdisciplinary group that others, whether outside or inside, may wish to join that group and grow that group over time. I  think it’s going to be a dynamic situation over the coming years.

6. QEP Committee Report

Dr. Stephen Reynolds, Professor of Physics and co-chair of the QEP Steering Committee reported that SACS reaccredits every ten years.  The reaccreditation process consists of two pieces and one piece includes reports that University Planning and Analysis has to produce and the other half is a large educational initiative. Every SACS institution is required to come up with an ambitious but realistic, appropriate and adequately resourced initiative. We started the process of picking such an initiative last spring.  A series of discussions were conducted, several initiatives were proposed, and after discussion the decision was reached by the Provost to select critical and creative thinking as the area in which we were going to revolutionize undergraduate education.  Chris Anson and I are co-chairing the steering committee of about twelve people including students, faculty and administrators overseeing four working groups of another forty or fifty people representing all ranks and colleges who are designing what this is actually going to mean. The timeline is short.  The SACS site visit is March 2014.  Our schedule this semester basically includes fact finding and assessment of where we are now.  This spring we will produce all of our brilliant ideas about what we might do, then over the summer a relatively firm draft is produced, which we hope will be ready for the campus community starting August or September of 2013, then based on the feedback from that draft we make revisions and are ready to go for 2014.

The danger that we are trying to avoid is that people who are involved in this process are the usual suspects who always stand up when volunteers are requested to orchestrate an educational innovation, rather than the day to day faculty who just do there research and teaching.  We want to involve everyone.  We would like to have a great plan, but the first thing we want to have is to make sure that every single person on campus knows that it’s happening, so the main purpose of my being here is just to remind you that this is going on and will be a major feature of campus discussion for the next year and a half.  The opportunities are really limitless.  They could include course intervention, they could include academic but non course structures that perhaps we haven’t even dreamed of yet.  There really is an enormous range of possibilities here.  We are in the stage now where we are accepting ideas.  We want to know what people are doing now along these lines.

Critical thinking, by the way has been adopted by a number of institutions in the southeast, but creative thinking has not been and there are many reasons for that.  The website will contain more detailed descriptions of our concept of these, but basically creative thinking is about having ideas and generating ideas while critical thinking is about carefully considering, evaluating and assessing those ideas.  We want to popularize the idea that in fact, every time you confront a problem you go about it by generating some ideas and then throwing out the bad ones and this kind of process happens in all intellectual activities.  We want to become more conscious of it, be aware of what we are doing now that’s good, spread around what’s good and find ways to improve and extend that.   This is a way that I think NC State can achieve national visibility and perhaps  find new ways to rethink the whole American college experience.

We have a website accreditation.ncsu.edu where you can follow the whole process. There is a blog which very soon will be able to accept your comments and suggestions.  Please tell all your colleagues and make sure that everyone on campus knows about this.

Childcare at NC State

Dr. Laurel Williams, Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences provided some data from the COACHE Survey.  The data in the survey was collected from more than 900 faculty members.  In that group about 15% (150 of them) had children that would be in need of child care and approximately 300 of the faculty had school age children up to 18 years of age.  There are about 8.5% of people who are satisfied or very satisfied with child care and about 55% were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

Dr. Williams stated that this is an opportunity for providing things that may be seen as a benefit to help retain faculty.  Some of you may or may not be aware that there are child care services at NC State through Bright Horizons.  The facility has a 4 out of a 5 star rating.  It’s currently located on the edge of the Dorothea Dix campus, but is a little disconnected from NC State campus.  There are currently only 47 slots available in four different classrooms (infants, toddlers, two year olds, and preschoolers), and 28 families are on the waiting list, which is six months to a year or more.  Of the 28 families that are waiting, roughly half of them have children that are three years and older, which is the most difficult age range to get your children in, whereas if they start as an infant they are allowed a slot.  It is very difficult for those who are joining the faculty with older children to secure a spot.

There is also a slight tuition waiver that is based on salaries.  It’s slightly cheaper by about 5 or 10 percent than standard daycare not provided by NC State.  So, a couple of areas that we might want to think about discussing would be the opportunity to expand childcare to offer it to more than 47 children.  Perhaps relocating the center closer to campus and or offering more of a tuition waiver.

Scholarship Funding for Children of Faculty and Staff

Professor Roby Sawyers stated that he is here to argue for an initiative that he thinks will serve as an important recruitment and retention tool for faculty and staff at NC State. That is the funding of a scholarship fund that would be used to provide scholarships for NC State tuition for children of faculty and staff.

Professor Sawyers provided some facts concerning what other institutions do with regard to tuition remission.

Sawyers reported that the state does not allow NC State to offer tuition remission for children of faculty and staff.  That is not so across the country and if you look at our peers for example, half of our 16 identified peer institutions offer at least 50% tuition remission for children of faculty and staff.   Colorado State, Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State, Penn State, Arizona, Maryland, and Rutgers offer at least 50 to 100 percent tuition remission.  Another four of our peers, Texas A&M, Florida, Illinois, and Virginia Tech offer scholarships ranging from $800 to $1,000 per year at Virginia Tech to 50 full tuition scholarships per year at Florida (for children of staff, not faculty).

Duke University offers one of the most generous tuition remission programs around.  That essentially is a grant for tuition up to $16,000 per semester at any institution in the United States or the world.  UNC provides about 30, $2,000 scholarships for dependents of employees to attend any of the UNC system schools or any of the community colleges in the state.

NC State does have an endowed fund of almost $1 million that generate about $33,000 of annual scholarships for children of faculty and staff.  As well, we have annual gifts that are made through the State Employees Combined Campaign. Contributions to the family scholarship fund have ranged over the past ten years from as little as $1,000 to $10,000 per year.  Combined, those two funds have provided $25,000 to $65,000 annually to between eight and twenty recipients.  I think we can do better.

The university is about to launch a major fund raising campaign.  Wouldn’t it be great to include as an initiative the endowment of a scholarship fund for children of faculty and staff of NC State?  What a great recruiting tool for faculty and staff that are coming to NC State for the first time.  What a great retention tool.  That would really be a great way for the university to say thanks to the loyal faculty that we have.  However, it is expensive. Providing a scholarship fund that equals 50% of tuition and fees would cost about $4,000 per year per dependent.  Funding 50 awards per year (like the university of Florida) would cost $200,000 per year, that is for the first year.  Over a four year window if you have 50 new folks a year you are talking about $800,000 annually requiring a $20 million endowed scholarship.

We should look at things like the family scholarship fund as well.  We have 7,500 faculty and staff at NC State.  Less than a dollar a month from those faculty and staff could provide $100,000 in spendable contributions each year that would provide 50% tuition remission to another 25 students.  I think it is possible and is something that we should think about.  There are a lot of questions to be addressed. How much should the scholarship be?  Should there be limits on the number of children per employee who can qualify for the tuition remission? Should there be length of services requirements for faculty and staff?  Should the scholarships be merit or need based or a combination of the two?  All of those are things that are set out in the plans of other universities and would be necessary for us to do as well.

Ombuds Position at NC State

Professor David Aspnes reported that the ombuds position goes back several centuries.  This position has been adopted by most organizations of our size including UNC and Duke.  Earlier this semester the faculty chair gave the Personnel Policy Committee some documents from thirty years ago and the committee met and created a working document and sent it to the Executive Committee for comment.

The ombuds is an individual who acts confidentially to resolve concerns, issues, conflicts, problems or disputes, involving a member of the faculty, staff, and administration.  The ombuds will provide the individual an informal, independent, and confidential opportunity to discuss the concern.  The ombuds can also with an unbiased and impartial perspective provide information to help clarify interests, goals, policies, procedures and myths, analyze and assess avenues to resolutions and provide information about such avenues including but not necessarily limited to information on university policies, processes, and available procedures.

Aspnes stated that typical concerns include managing and the relationship to research policies and requirements, disabilities, sexual harassment, and university services. The ombuds actually resolves concerns before they reach the grievance process.  The ombuds is not a substitute for the grievance process and does not get involved with it.

Aspnes stated that the goals are reasonable.  We envision the ombuds being a full time job reporting to the university Ombuds Committee, which will have two members appointed by the Chancellor, two faculty members, and two staff members.  We will continue to report to you as things develop.

Remarks by Professor David Zonderman, Chair-Elect of the Faculty

Chair Elect Zonderman stated that we are in a world of constrained resources.  This year we received  an extremely modest raise, which we are grateful for, but it doesn’t begin to catch us up for years when there were no raises. I think looking into a cloudy crystal ball that we can’t expect a flood of new resources for the campus or for faculty in the coming years, so the problem with the discussions today is basically the reality, what else can we do to improve faculty work life and work life balance.  Now you have heard three ideas already.  One is to talk more about the issues that parents with young children face. The second is to think about fundraisers  for endowed scholarship funds for the children of faculty and staff, and the third is an ombuds position that is in the process of being developed.  The goal today is get good ideas and get them back to the Faculty Senate to think about how we might work toward some of these.

Questions and Comments from Faculty

Senator Knopp asked what is the ratio of faculty to staff children in the preschool?

Senator Williams did not know the exact ratio.

Senator Fleisher commented that he thought we should attempt to get the legislature to approve a tuition policy for children of faculty and staff.

Senator Zonderman stated that the officers of the Faculty Senate received some interesting information a few weeks ago from a committee chair of the University of Georgia Faculty Senate and they are working with their administration on using non state funds to develop perhaps some modest “benefit program”, so I think that is worth talking about.  Again, the reality is that we all know that we are not a university sitting on a large endowment, but it gives us a little flexibility.  If the state Legislature says you can’t use money, usually that means state funds.  You can use non state funds as long as we are using it for a legal purpose.

Professor Marsha Gumpertz asked whether funds for the childcare center were included as part of the upcoming fundraising campaign.

Nevin Kessler responded that the University was currently looking at what would be included in the campaign.

Professor Eileen Taylor (College of Management) commented that another way to approach tuition remission would be to allow employees to “bank” the two free courses that they can take each year to give to your child when they reach college age.

Professor Zonderman ended by stating how pleased he was by the turnout and the mixture of participation today. He stated that a forum like this is exactly what faculty governance is all about.

7. Adjournment

A motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 4:33 p.m.

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