October 4, 2011
1. Call to Order
Chair Hans Kellner called the meeting to order at 3 p.m.
Chair Kellner welcomed everyone to the meeting.
2. Remarks from the Chair
Chair Kellner stated that in the last year there have been a number of separate processes going on around campus and all of them intended to plan and implement changes in the way NC State operates. The obvious theme of this meeting will be “Change” and the various change committees here at NC State that has taken up so much energy and have produced so many pages of planned proposed changes.
Beginning with the budget principles and planning of two and a half years ago we have seen the Strategic Plan, Strategic Realignment, changes in Distance Education and Summer School, Campus Sustainability Plan, and the Business Operations Realignment Plan and for the most part these processes are already complete.
Chair Kellner stated that the implementation of the Strategic Plan remains to be finalized. The exact form of business operation changes has not yet been completed, but a large amount of work has produced templates for change. There are two processes that have not reached their completion yet and they are the Academic Science Program task force and the task force for the review of academic programs.
Chair Kellner explained that in any period when changes are being called for, each of us faces the question of where we stand as individuals in the university. Interests are the inevitable driving force of any planning changing process and I think the question of interest, of which there are many represented here today is something it is always good to remember. There are many interests in a place that is as complex as North Carolina State University. There is the faculty interest, there is the student interest, and the staff interest. Beyond the university there is the alumni interest and there is also the State of North Carolina which takes a legitimate interest in our work, but to talk about the interest of the faculty is to assume that the interest of the faculty is one, and this of course is not the case. There are the interests of non tenure track faculty, which are in certain ways different from those of tenure track faculty. There are the interests of liberal arts faculty which are different from those of vocational or STEM faculty.
There are the interest of basic sciences which differ from those of applied sciences. In all of this process, decisions have to be made and are being made and many legitimate interests are going to feel overlooked and pushed aside, but they won’t go away. It’s easy to say that we all come under the umbrella of the university’s interest and to some degree that is the case, but what we have here today is an opportunity to make our many different interests known and to express them and be heard and I look forward to that conversation.
Final point, one of the divisions at North Carolina State is between the two principle campuses that we have here. Last week, I received an email from an emeritus faculty and former Chair of the Faculty Senate who thinks we should have this meeting some time soon on Centennial Campus. Chair Kellner stated that he thinks it is a legitimate request to consider although it’s a very complicated matter to find a place to have the General Faculty meeting.
3. Approval of the Minutes of the October 5, 2010 General Faculty Meeting
Secretary Sawyers asked for approval of the minutes. The motion passed unanimously to approve the minutes.
4. Remarks from Chancellor Woodson
Chancellor Woodson gave a few brief updates. He announced that the Chancellor’s innovation fund had been launched through the Office of Research Innovation and Economic Development and there was an incredible response from the campus community with more than fifty proposals thoroughly reviewed and four projects funded. He stated that the idea for this fund is to provide that critical resource to faculty and programs that have technology that has been developed to the point where it has potential for commercial applications, but could use a little more proof of concept, a little more of the R&D if the university can come up with some resources. The four projects that were funded included a vaccine that prevents salmonella, coatings that protect fabrics from ultraviolet rays, bandages that release medications to improve wound healings, and better bed bug bait.
Chancellor Woodson stated that we have had a great beginning of the semester. He complimented the faculty, students, and staff for hosting President Barack Obama in grand fashion in a very short timeline. Everyone was very responsive and well behaved. The White House agreed to extend an invitation to 5,000 students and we filled Reynolds Coliseum, which was a great day for NC State. With a visit like this you think of everything that could go wrong but none of that happened. What happened is we illustrated to the White House what a well oiled machine we are and how responsive our community is to a visit like this and it went very well.
Chancellor Woodson stated that he and Dean Solomon went to New York to celebrate the 2011 McGraw Prize in Education that went to Robert Beichner in Physics for his work in scale up, which is developing technical solutions to teaching difficult courses like physics in a more interactive way that improves learning and outcomes. The following day President Obama announced the awarding of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to Dr. Jay Baliga from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Dr. Baliga is the second member of our faculty to receive this honor. Chancellor Woodson stated that this is a reflection of Dr. Baliga’s long and distinguished career that begin at General Electric, and as a faculty member at NC State for many years. So it’s a great tribute to NC State.
Chancellor Woodson announced that NC State also received a Presidential Early Career Award for scientists and engineers that went to Michael Escuti , Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Paul Lunn from Colorado State University has been selected as the Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and he will be joining us after the first of the year. He spent most of his career in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin- Madison and more recently at Colorado State which is tied with NC State as the third ranked Veterinary College in America.
Chancellor Woodson stated that we are off to a great start with the fall semester. We have a larger freshmen class than predicted, but the size of it is a reflection of the fact that our models for predicting enrollment need to be modified because we had more to say yes to our offer of admissions than is typically the case, a freshmen profile that is among the highest in our history, so we are moving in a very positive direction and the faculty is working very hard.
Chancellor Woodson stated that he is very proud of everything that Provost Arden, VC Leffler, the Deans, and the entire leadership team at NC State have done in the last couple of years to try to prepare us for this very difficult fiscal environment. We certainly lost positions. We lost buying power and had to cut the colleges, but much less than we might have done if we weren’t prepared, so the cuts to the colleges were 7% on a base that was cut almost 16 percent. We have worked hard to manage our way through this so we are now focused on how to move forward in new fiscal environments. One of the ways that we are trying to move on is in anticipation of the finalization of our implementation strategies for the strategic plan. We saw evidence that an overarching theme across many of the task forces was the need to continue to enhance the faculty at NC State. When I looked at the numbers coming in here and saw that for the last ten to twelve years we had grown our graduate enrollment by 48%, grown our undergraduate enrollment by almost 30% and grown our tenured and tenured track faculty by 2% , but even non tenured track faculty well below what we feel is adequate to maintain our excellence in education and our excellence in scholarship. We know that we are going to have to find every avenue possible to not only retain the outstanding talent we have here, which is increasingly a challenge, but also to enhance the talent we have here by continuing to bring new colleagues, and so with that in mind Provost Arden and I have partnered to create a Faculty Excellence Program to continue to invest in our faculty, and to identify some opportunities across the university to bring new talent to NC State to complement the existing talent we have here in a way that can catapult us ahead of some of our competition and some of the key areas that the faculty and the colleges will help us identify as emerging opportunities for NC State.
We are looking for ways to build bridges across units and to think about collections of faculty that we might have that can be working toward common problem areas, for example, but approaching them from inter-disciplinary perspectives. This will give us a chance to not only work hard to retain the talent we have but maybe go out poach from some of those other places that are equally distressed. That is one tangible example of what we are doing to try to address common themes that run across the strategic plan and it’s only one example. We got ahead of it a little bit because we know the recruiting cycle and we need to give the faculty a chance to react to this and to provide their best thinking and to do that in a timely manner, so we are able to get the positions advertised and get candidates looking at NC State within the next academic year.
5. Remarks from the Provost
Provost Arden gave brief remarks on the budget, strategic planning, and strategic realignment.
Provost Arden stated that we got through a very difficult budget and lost a lot of money and that has a very significant impact on our programs, both in terms of our instructional capacity and our total faculty capacity. I think we are all focused on putting that behind us and looking forward to how we can rebuild and refocus the capacity of this institution. I’m excited about some of the things that we have emerging from our strategic plan and from some of the initiatives beginning to take place. He stated that he doesn’t want to diminish the impact of the budget that we have just been through, but I hope that is the last of a really bad budget year and we can start to look forward and determine ways that we can move the institution forward.
Provost Arden thanked everyone for their involvement in the strategic planning process over the past academic year. He stated that it was a very broad, inclusive process that produced a concise but comprehensive plan that was approved by the Board of Trustees. We are now in the process of designing the implementation of the plan. What I mean is that the strategic plan outlines five overarching goals and some major strategies for each goal. We need to find specific action items and we need to identify a time line for each of those action items and we need to find metrics by which we will measure our success. Over the summer we had five more teams working to define action steps to implement our strategic plan. The process now which is being led by Margery Overton and is being supported by Karen Helm, is to take those five task force reports on implementation and condense them into a relatively concise implementation plan which we hope to present to our Board of Trustees next month. The way it will look is that many of the actions actually had impact across multiple goals and multiple strategies. We find that we can group a lot of those actions together and it will end up being a matrix. We hope to have that finalized within the next few weeks and into the hands of the Board of Trustees next month.
Provost Arden stated that some things that have already been accomplished are the merger of the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of Equal Opportunities, and Multicultural Student Affairs into one cohesive unit took placed on July 1st. We have already started moving parts out of Extension and Engagement to the Provost Office and the Office of Research and Innovation. One of the big ones that we are continuing to work on now is the merger of Student Affairs and the Division of Undergraduate Academic Programs. This is an incredibly important thing for us. If you go back to the strategic plan and these two things are linked, our first goal is enhancing student success and when we look critically at enhancing student success a lot of it had to do with the way we marry the curricula and the co-curricula components of what we do, the way we support our students inside and outside the classroom, so this is a direct result of that initiative to bring together undergraduate academic affairs and student affairs and look at ways of effectively integrating support for our students inside and outside the classroom. At the moment that plan is coming together well and it is being led by Jo-Ann Cohen, Tom Stafford, and John Ambrose. We expect to have the final details of the structure of that unit within the next few weeks and in fact, begin our national search for the leader of that unit in November. So, in November I’ll be putting together a Search Committee and will begin a national search for a very important leadership position for this institution.
Provost Arden stated that we have a lot of task forces as part of the strategic realignment. There were two task forces, one on distance education and one on summer programs that reported out at the end of the semester. They were excellent task force reports. On the Distance Education task force report there were three major recommendations and the number one recommendation was to look at the way we charge tuition for distance education, that is to eliminate the tuition penalty. This has been an issue for several years. We have to enter into a discussion with General Administration and have them buy into what we are proposing. I’m really excited and hope that we can implement this change to move forward.
Another big item impacting strategic realignment is BORST (Business Operations Realignment Steering Team). This is an important process to be able to conduct the business of this university in a more effective and more efficient manner. There is no doubt that we may not lose as much money in subsequent budgets as we go forward, but nonetheless, it is highly likely that we will become less well funded by the State of North Carolina, as has happened to almost every major public institution in every state and so to find ways that we can operate more effectively and more efficiently as an institution is going to be key to our future as well as defining other resource avenues.
Lastly, the strategic realignment was to decrease the level of bureaucracy. I think we have made great progress in the last six months under Eileen Goldgeier’s leadership in reducing and simplifying many of our PRRs.
Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Hiring Program
Provost Arden stated that one of the things that really emerged from the Strategic Planning process was our failure to significantly grow the tenure, tenure track faculty base of this institution for a protracted period of time. In fact, if you go back to 1996, it has only grown about 2% over that period of time. In that period of time, we have grown our graduate program over 40% and have grown our undergraduate program about 25% and so that really isn’t sustainable as an institution. We have grown our non tenure track faculty by about 40% over that period of time, and that has helped up tremendously with delivering high quality instruction, but we really need to strengthen the academic core, academic base of the institution in more ways than that and so this is a major initiative to do that.
Provost Arden stated that $5 million has been set aside through this process for this to be implemented in the next year or two and it is very clear that $5 million isn’t going to solve this issue, but it’s a beginning, it’s what we can do right now to get this started . I think we have to pay close attention to this over the coming years to make sure that we continue to put resources toward this and it is something that is fundamental to us as an institution. Already I’m hearing a lot of excitement among the faculty, as the Chancellor said, we are going about it in a slightly different way. We are asking groups of faculty to come together and propose hiring one, two, three individuals who will make a critical difference to a specific area within the university if we did targeted hires and then work with colleges, work with their departments to put together a proposal that we will consider. This really is meant to give the maximum flexibility to faculty and really allow some creativity here. What we are trying to do is bring to campus true academic leaders who will help bring together an emerging area of excellence. I think if we can grow the depth and strength of the faculty at this institution over the coming five to ten years it will have an enormous impact on this institution.
Questions to the Provost
Is the $5 million recurring or one time money?
While the $5 million is recurring, it doesn’t mean we necessarily allocate another $5 million next year and the next year. If you are going to hire people on the money it has to be recurring. I don’t necessarily expect that we will make all of those hires in the next twelve months. It may take 12, 24, 36 months to get all the people that we are going to hire. What I think is going to be really important as we go into subsequent budgets is to identify additional recurring amounts of money that we can use to continue to attract top notch faculty to the institution.
Are plans to replace Talley Student Center consistent with our plans to increase our undergraduate student enrollment?
First of all if we just look at undergraduate enrollment, our long term strategy has not been finalized and approved by the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees yet, but the way it is emerging from the Enrollment Planning Committee and the way that we have been already working this over the last couple of years is that our growth projection as an institution is going to be very different from what we had planned three, four, and five years ago. As far as our undergraduate population is concerned, we don’t plan on growing our undergraduate population over the coming years, maybe slightly but not much. I think the renovations and expansion of the Tally Student Center were not necessarily focused on accommodating a larger undergraduate population, but focused on improving the quality of the services and facilities that we have for our current undergraduate population.
Will the $5 million just go towards salaries or also equipment, start up packages, etc.?
Eventually we hope that it will go into positions and salaries. I have asked that proposals be submitted to the Evaluation Committee to my office by December 5 and then the Evaluation Committee which is going to be chaired by Dean Larick and Vice Chancellor Lomax is going to look at those over December and I hope by early January we will have a recommendation of the Chancellor or Provost. We will review those recommendations and give the go ahead to some of those. The reality is if you start those hiring programs in January and February, you are not going to have those folks on board until fall of 2012 and so we are talking about those expenses being transferred out to the units of hire in the fiscal year 2012-13 and the likelihood is that if you go after everybody who you say you are going to go after, you are not going to hire them all the first time around. Let’s just say for the sake of argument, you hire $3 million worth of new faculty. That leaves some of the funds out of that $5 million for one time expenses in the current year, which means that you could utilize some of those funds toward startup in the current year. As you go on and make more hires and you are more successful in your hiring program you will have less one-time money to assist with startup. The Chancellor also directed that Vice Chancellors Lomax and Leffler, and the Provost work together to identify a more consistent central startup fund that we can partner with the colleges and departments to assist with startups, not just through this process, but through all faculty hiring processes.
Can you give specific examples of reductions in bureaucracy that affect faculty?
We are dedicated to streamlining things but it takes a little bit of time and we have reconstituted a committee which is focused on taking input from faculty about processes that are problematic to you and looking at ways that we can simplify or refine those processes. I think you will soon see the impact of simplifying our policies and regulations.
Will Distance Education money that is lost to departments be replaced?
I hope that we can show the implementation plan to the campus, but it is going to be quick and relatively brief. We have had tremendously broad input in the development of the strategic plan and again through the implementation planning task forces. We are coming down to the wire with respect to rolling out the action steps and the metrics that will actually take place, so the intention was never for that to be a broad discussion that would take several months.
With respect to Distance Education, yes we are going to have to look at the flow of dollars. When you crunch the numbers it means that there is a lot of money that could be generated under Distance Ed that ends up coming in under on-campus instructions. The net result is actually positive for the university. If GA approves, the net result is a couple million more in requirement, requirement being the total of appropriation and tuition, so the net result is actually positive to the university. There are different groups of students, some will pay a little more and others will pay less. We are going to have to look at how we distribute those funds to ensure that units that are producing those distance education credits are not disadvantaged financially in terms of those resources going back to those units. There are two other points on Distance Ed that I didn’t have time to go into and one of them is about the flow of resources back to the units and there was a question that was asked. Could we make the way that we handle Distance Ed revenue and general instruction revenue more homogenous? The task force basically said they would like to see it if anything a little more like Distance Ed where it is a little bit more hard wiring of resources back to the units that produced the credit hours and I think that is probably a model that we will try to go with. We have somewhat more of a balance between having a fund resource for strategic implementation held centrally and having funds go back to the units.
The objectives of this specific goal is not to reduce resources going back to the units, it is to change the way we charge students.
Is any money available for retention of faculty rather than recruiting new faculty?
Retention is something that is becoming more and more evident in my daily life over the last six months. We did a retrospective assessment of the number of faculty who had left, the number that had been recruited away, and our counter offer success and if you look over the last ten years the number of faculty who had outside offers varied a little bit year to year, but our success rate in counter offers is quite high at 76 percent over the last ten years, so basically if a faculty member has an outside offer we are about three quarters of the time successful in retaining them on campus for those to whom we make counter offers. Those numbers up until last year had not significantly increased, but in the current year I have seen a significant increase in the number of retention requests and one of the scary things from my perspective is that these are not entry level faculty who are moving around early in their career. They are some of our very senior faculty who other institutions are going after. We are determined to retain our extraordinary faculty on this campus. You know we are under GA rules and legislative rules that we can’t use state appropriated funds for salaries, so some colleges are disadvantaged because they don’t have a significant source of non state appropriated funds. There was a President’s recruitment and retention fund that we made significant use of for many years but there is no more money left in that fund so we are looking at campus base resources and campus base non state resources, but at the moment I think we are being proactive and we are being successful in those retentions.
We can build strength by hiring junior faculty to enhance strong senior faculty who are already at NC State. Are you open to that strategy rather than hiring mid-level faculty?
Absolutely, what we really need to look at is the concept of this program. I think we are open to just about any good proposal that comes along, but it is not to necessarily take a weak area and make it acceptable, nor is it to take an area that is already nationally renowned and world class and make it even more so. It’s to take an area that is a clearly emerging strength or an area of really high potential that has a core number of faculty working in that area that by one or two or three key hires could really move that program forward. I had envision that would probably be a combination of maybe one senior person and a couple of junior or mid level people.
6. Academic Science Programs Task Force
Professor Aaron Clark reported on the Academic Science Task Force.
Clark stated that the official name of the group is the Academic Science Programs task force and they were given their charge in May. The official task was the formation of a task force to review possible structures and recommend a course of action that is aimed at having fewer but stronger academic units. When the committee met with the Provost it came up with how NC State structures and delivers our academic science programs. There are no preconceived opinions on the outcome of the task force. The committee is very reluctant to do anything without a good rationale for the change and the positive impact that it will have on the university. The committee has been very empathetic to all areas and has been very systematic in the way that it thinks.
The committee started with three colleges; CALS, PAMS, and Natural Resources, but later added three other groups; Veterinary Medicine, Textiles, and the College of Education. They have representatives from Design, Management, CHASS, Graduate School and Undergraduate Education.
Clark stated that there were some early perceived problems that they felt they needed to review as a committee. Is there a lack of a particular curriculum that we thought we needed to consider? Is there competition of who gets credit for graduate students? Lack of communication about what other faculty are working on? Lack of knowledge about resources available? Perception of redundancy of curriculum? The budget situation? Over a period of time we came up with some big picture ideas. We wanted to look at drafting science in the future and removing barriers for faculty and students. In regards to budgeting and student reallocation, how do we allocate teaching appropriately and deploy faculty to do so? How do we preserve our history and the strength that we have that people know us for here at NC State? With that came more problems we wanted to look at as we started to formulate ideas for the strategic plan. One of them is the structure, the need to make people want to collaborate and work together. Organization—do the right departments exist in the right colleges? The Culture—we know on this campus some colleges have a tendency to dominate and of course there is a high resistance for change the longer people have been here.
We have had lots of input from a lot of people. There have been two recurring problems – the lack of a strategic plan to control undergraduate growth and of course, the sharing of resources, where does the money come from and how do you get credit for the effort? These are issues that are constantly brought up in the committee.
The group decided to bring in the six deans that are most affected by this and that was an enlightening experience. They gave a broad spectrum of how they see what this task force mission is and where they can see the academic sciences going. We asked questions, for example, what are the key positive and negative issues surrounding the academic science programs specifically in your college? What is your vision for reorganizing the academic science programs and how would you get there? The next question I think is going to give you somewhat of an answer of where the committee is now. It states, our task force discussions have proceeded along two threads that provide separate, yet complimentary strategies to potential restructure. The first is envisioning a cost cutting structure that pulls together departments and colleges on thematic, grand challenges. The second is to rethink the rationale for departmental and college organizations that support academic science programs to provide a basis for potential restructuring. What are your thoughts? These same questions have been sent out to all department heads on campus and they are responding at this point. You are going to get the opportunity to respond as well. We are going to have forms where faculty are going to give input and there will also be a form on the website where faculty, staff, and students can give feedback.
Clark handed out a graph of where the committee stands at this point. He stated that the handout shows a potential new academy structure. If you read from left to right, the academies cut across departments and colleges. You may be in a home department but with your research these academies would be formed that would cut across multiple colleges. One of the things that the group has looked at is would these academies be structured on a discipline or will they be structured on a grand theme? Right now a lot of people are talking about grand themes. So when you look at these horizontal cross cutting structures, you have to ask yourself, what do we want these structures to do? Well the committee has discussed how it drives and facilitates research. It will connect faculty and get more faculty engaged and excited. We can work with other people in other colleges, and one of the things it could possibly do is broaden the graduate program.
Clark stated that there are certain issues and questions currently being considered by the committee such as how does this help with redundancy? How do we break down the barriers to create such a structure? The efficiency and use of support staff and administration, will that have to be adjusted? Do we have the right discipline and the right colleges for this to happen? The key is of course resource allocation and how these resources are set up for these horizontal structures to work. That is where the committee is right now.
Clark stated that the committee hopes all department heads are responding to give feedback. What do you see as the key positive and negative issues surrounding the academic science programs at NC State? If you could reorganize, improve the overall academic science program here at State, what would you do? Are there other programs and universities you would look at for a model?
Clark stated that if anyone would like to give feedback, please attend one of the upcoming forums that will be held Wednesday 11/02 at 206 Cox Hall, Thursday 11/03 at 2010 Biltmore Hall, and Friday 11/04 -2215 Williams Hall.
Questions to Professor Aaron Clark
What departments and programs do the academic sciences include?
We are still struggling with that and we are still trying to make definitions as to what this encompasses.
Past Chair Overton noted that structures could go across the entire campus.
Is the committee looking at research trends in grants, citations, etc., in order to determine the new areas of research in various disciplines?
What we are hearing are a lot of different models. We asked ourselves, who out there has a good model that we can use to work from to see how they attempted to solve these types of issues. I have heard everything from Cornell to Penn State. The committee has looked at a lot of research. Some of our resources that we have been looking at are on the web site.
Are there models in other U.S. institutions that the committee has looked at?
Yes, there were some institutions mentioned that had a similar model. We are looking at models and there are some models out there.
At the beginning of your comments you mentioned a number of colleges that were involved and I did not hear the College of Engineering mentioned. Were they not involved?
Yes, Engineering was added.
Faculty member commented that it would be nice to have a forum on Centennial Campus.
Chair Kellner commented that since the academies are the principle innovation here that we see in the presentation, I would like to ask whether you are thinking about them as more or less permanent structures or as temporary things with a sunset built into them. It seems to me that if they are permanent sorts of things they really overlay the departmental structures.
I don’t think we ever said that these are going to be set in stone for another 50 or 100 years or even ten years. I don’t think we ever said it, I understand that they are changing.
What is the role of the Board of Directors in determining the evolution of the Academies and the issues that they dealt with?
First of all you are way ahead of the committee on that, but we have briefly mentioned it and we haven’t gone back to actually look at that. If you look at the external science advisory report you will notice that there are a lot of outside stakeholders looking in at it and I’m going to assume that they will be helping to guide us in terms of which academies are appropriate, where they are housed and that type of stuff.
If one goal is to simplify, how does this structure accomplish that goal?
If you read our charge we were to simplify academic units, but for the sake of what we are trying to do change is going to happen. It may not be the simplest thing you see up front. So, right now we will look at this, but I have to agree that it looks a little bit more complex.
Another goal was to enhance the ability of NC State faculty to get large NIH grants and other large federal grants. How would this structure help reach that goal?
You can look at it in many different ways. I can look at it as someone from the social sciences looking in, but we are all part of this campus. So here is how we sit. The problem is that when you start to say we want …, we are hoping that this academy structure will provide a support structure, something that we just don’t have at this point. There has been no discussion about restructuring departments or anything at this point.
7. Review of Academic Programs
Professor David Zonderman reported that the task force was deliberately designed to be representative of all the colleges and from a number of the major units of the university as well.
Zonderman stressed the point that this task force is tasked with the job of a complete review denovo. He said, in other words we are not starting with last March’s report and merely focusing on any department or program that appeared on that report. We have been asked to start a whole new, much larger, deeper process. That first report was sort of a first look at the issue and it was done in a relatively short amount of time. We are taking a much longer period of time to get what we hope will be the right metric, the right information and the right analysis. He stressed that no one is on the list yet and no one is off the list yet.
Zonderman stated that right now he hopes they are near the end of the first stage which is to develop two instruments, both a quantitative and a qualitative instrument to generate data on all academic programs on the campus. We have defined academic programs as any degree granting programs.
He also stressed that they are trying wherever possible to measure outcomes that are linked to the strategic plan. The first goal is to enhance student success. We are trying to get some very basic measurements like graduation rates, incoming students, and faculty to student ratios in various departments. One piece of qualitative data we are trying to get is to get information on every department, every program advising system because the various systems vary dramatically around the university.
Ideally we are trying to assemble as much data as possible at the program level. Karen Helm and her staff have done a great job both discussing with us possible measurements and possible sources of data and in some cases the sources of data are only at the departmental level and not at the program’s level. Usually what we as a task force have decided is if we feel the question is worth asking we will take the data at the department level , knowing when it comes to the analysis period we are going to have to be very careful about distinguishing that.
Zonderman stated that they have two subcommittees currently working and one is developing the qualitative instrument, which will be a relatively brief survey that will go out to all the departments to be filled out by the department heads and that will ask for information on the advising systems where we don’t have quantitative information. A couple of other questions we want to ask are—to ask departments to talk about how they feel they link to not only the strategic plan but the core mission of NC State. Another question we want to ask is—are any particular degree programs linked to particular economic programs or particular grant programs.
The second subcommittee has been working on some measurements of what we are calling “economic” value programs. Again we are working hard on some of the basic cost that goes into your program whether it is faculty salary cost, teaching laboratory cost, etc. The subcommittee is recommending that we at least start with the current 12-cell matrix.
The final point is that we are almost at the stage of a campus-wide review of our metric. We are not at the second stage where we put these measurements into use. We first want to make sure that we have the right series of metrics, but we do want input from the entire campus. We will soon be posting what we hope is our list of metrics. We will also be publishing a draft of the qualitative instrument as well and the hope is that this will certainly be reviewed by deans, and especially department heads. It will be available for the entire faculty to review as well.
Zonderman stated that the goal of this exercise is not just to identify “underperforming” programs, it is also to identify and measure what we know are a lot of successful programs on this campus that are probably under resourced.
Questions to Professor David Zonderman
Is the committee including learning outcomes as a metric?
At this stage we don’t have it specifically on there as a measurable metric. We are looking more at admissions, enrollment, and graduation rate. We are looking at things like student participation in study abroad, and service learning.
Karen Helm followed up and noted that the metrics were things that were defined the same way across colleges and departments.
Is the committee gathering information concerning student study habits, how long they study per week etc.?
Some of those questions are great, but I’m not sure it falls under our task force charge, but I will say that even before we get to the five strategic goals we have a series of questions that are more of a snapshot of our student body. We have a series of demographic snapshots and some basic ones on some of the most basic quality indicators such as GPA, SAT scores.
Chancellor Woodson commented on the large number of NC State students who work off campus and the impact on study habits.
A comment was made on the need to distinguish working for fun and working to pay for school.
How is the committee weighting qualitative versus quantitative metrics?
The whole issue of weighting has come up at one meeting that I know of and we really haven’t completely wrapped our heads around it yet.
A motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 4:55 p.m.