August 23, 2016

Meeting Agenda

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Meeting Minutes

Present: Chair Moore, Associate Chair Orcutt, Chair-Elect Bird, Parliamentarian Lubischer, Provost Arden; Senators Ange-van Heugten, Argyropoulos, Ash, Auerbach, Bernhard, Berry-James, Bullock, Bykova, Carver, Fath, Feducia, Gunter, Havner, Hawkins, Hergeth, Huffman, Kathariou, Kotek, Kuzma, Nam, Parker, Peretti, Pearce, Rever, Sannes, Sederoff, Thakur, Young. Excused:  Senator Banks. Absent:  Senators Bartlett, Laffitte, Perros, Silverberg. Guests: Katharine Stewart, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs; Mitchell Moravec, Student Senate;  Paul Williams, PCOM and Faculty Assembly Delegate; Mike Mullen, DASA, Marcia Gumpertz, OIED; Eileen Goldgeier, General Counsel; PJ Teal, Chancellor’s Office; Marc Hoit, Vice Chancellor for OIT; Angkana Bode, Staff Senate Chair; Monica Banks, Executive Assistant to Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs; Brayndon Stafford, Student Body Vice President

1. Call to Order

Chair Moore called the first meeting of the sixty-third session of the NC State Faculty Senate to order at 3:02 p.m.

2. Introductory Remarks

Chair Moore asked the Faculty Senate Officers, Senators and guests to introduce themselves. Chair Moore asked Joni Lancaster, the new EA for Faculty Senate, to introduce herself.

3. Announcements

  • Chair Moore spoke regarding Dean Rich Linton's proposed CALS departmental name changes that were approved electronically by the 2015/2016 senators.  The mergers and new names became effective July 1. (See Appendix B)
  • Chair Moore explained that there has been a change in the flow for Grievances.  She stated that in the past, filed grievances were delivered to the Chair of the Faculty.  Now they go to the Faculty Grievance/Review Committee Chair.  Because of this change in process, Chair Moore reviewed the flow chart with the officers, membership and guests.
  • Chair Moore explained that the new Faculty Research Commons was unveiled in D.H. Hill (same floor as the Faculty Senate Chambers) this summer. She encouraged everyone to tour the facility after the meeting if they have not seen the space and see the resources provided for you.  Associate Chair Orcutt announced that an additional open house date has been added and that all faculty would be receiving an invitation to attend.
  • Chair Moore stated that Roy Baroff, Faculty Ombuds, welcomes the opportunity to talk to departments about the Ombuds service or to any faculty member about a faculty issue of concern.   Dr. Baroff was not able to attend the meeting today because of a family matter, but he is typically in attendance at all Faculty Senate meetings.
  • Chair Moore relayed that the Fall General Faculty Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 4th at 3 pm in the Talley Coastal Ballroom.  All faculty are encouraged to attend.  She asked for suggestions for the topic/theme that is relevant to faculty for the meeting and that those ideas can be sent to Chair Moore or a member of the Executive Committee by September 7th.
Committees Chair Moore stated what each Faculty Senate committee was working on, reviewed the announcements regarding the committee meetings, and what topics of discussion would be on the agendas for those meetings:
  • Governance and Personnel Policy Committee
This committee is looking at faculty duties that support staff previously did and the extra stress that these duties put on faculty.
  • Academic Policy Committee
This committee is meeting with members of the Academic Advising Council to discuss a number of issues.
  • Resources and Environment Committee
This committee is discussing the Unity ID and the request to change it in certain circumstances.  

4. Approval of the Minutes

Associate Chair Orcutt called for a motion to approve the minutes for the fourteenth meeting of the NC State Faculty Senate.

5. Provost's Remarks and Q&A

Provost Arden brought greetings and a welcome back to the Faculty Senate Membership and those attending the meeting. He stated that the University is off to a great start this year, and that the University has admitted a great class of freshmen this academic year.  He gave kudos to Mike Mullen and his team for an outstanding Welcome Back Week and a wonderful Packapalooza event.

Provost Arden thanked all faculty and encouraged them to stop and celebrate our successes. He stated that we have remained focused on our strategic plan as we continue to move the university forward. He reminded the group that student success and sophomore and freshman retention rates are at an all-time high and we have already met and will surpass our 2020 goal; six year undergraduate rates are about 71%-72% and will likely be 78% this fall, which is nearing our 80% of goal with four years to go. Provost Arden stated that the next priority for the university was to increase the scholarly output of the university by hiring and/or retaining great faculty and enabling them to reach their scholarly potential.

Provost Arden reported that in a recent Nature index that took a look at 8000 Universities from around the world- look at the rate they have increased their scholarly contribution in the top 70 academic journals and NC State University is not only in the top 100, but we ranked third in North America and 31st in the world.  This is very significant and he gave a tremendous amount of kudos to our faculty.  He stated that in this index, NC State is one of only two public institutions in the top 100 in the United States; most of the ranked institutions are in Asia.  He said that this is a very competitive global market and we are doing extraordinarily well, but there are some other major universities in other parts of the world moving quickly so those are things to keep an eye on.

Provost Arden then spoke about our faculty excellence cluster hiring program.  We hired about 40 individuals in the first round and I think we’re up to 11 or 12 in the second round.  So we’ve already hired about 50 into that program.  The University is receiving big kudos in the major academic press in the way that we’ve run that program.  A lot of universities have tried – some with significant success – and others far less success.  For us, it is working extraordinarily well and that the way we designed it, those cluster hires are becoming integrated into their faculty and department homes.

Provost Arden went on to speak about partnership building at the University. He stated that we are constantly cited for having very strong partnerships – both private and public. We are one of the leading institutions for commercialization of intellectual property and developing strong relationships with the private sector.  On the international front, we have received major awards for campus globalization.  Things are definitely going in the right direction pretty quickly.Provost Arden stated that the financial challenges that we have faced over the past seven years are not going away.  Although the economy is turning around we are still getting some small budget cuts –hope those soon dissipate. But this year alone, we got an $11 million management flexibility reduction and that this will require reallocation on our part.

He stated that there are other things that we have to find resources for – little bits of money for salary programs and we have to find those funds.  He continued by saying that there is always legislation that we have to take care of such as the fair labor standards act and look at what folks are earning, as opposed to being paid for overtime. The cost of that can be very significant to us as an institution as we implement the fair labor standards act. He went on to say that he is concerned and that we will be talking about this a lot this year.  He explained that it’s not so much for this year, but in the years going forward that the major resources that come to the university and the Provost’s office to implement the strategic plan are largely enrollment growth and tuition.  There is significant downward pressure from the legislature and the Board of Governors on tuition increases.  He stated that we have seen in the most recent budget they have introduced a flat tuition for first full-time freshmen and the time that they’re here – or transfer.  So we have to figure out how to deal with that.  They have also instituted a cap on fee increases as well.  So we will have to work through this and look very closely with the resources that are available to come to us from tuition.

With respect to enrollment increases, Provost Arden said that part of the way we have managed our way through the last five years is that, although we got budget cuts, we would also get reasonably significant enrollment increases along with tuition. The projections for enrollment increase are not really robust in the next several years.

The Provost stated that Senior Vice Provost Duane Larick has reported that this year, for the second year in a row, we missed our enrollment targets significantly for graduate enrollments.  As part of our plan, which from a resource perspective and from a student strategy perspective, what works extremely well is to pare down our undergraduate enrollment.  We have gone from admitting around 4800 first time full-time freshmen to about 4200 and are back to about 4300 now.  So the concept is to focus on quality and not quantity on the undergraduate side; we have more resources with student FTE that work very well – and can focus on growing graduate enrollment.

Provost Arden stated that we are not panicking, but to move forward as an institution that a re-prioritizing and realigning of our resources to our highest priorities would be a key in this final four-year stretch.  Provost Arden challenged everyone to be thinking about that as the year goes on – we are in very good shape, but we need to keep the momentum going in this final four year stretch by thinking critically about the use and the alignment of our resources.  He is hoping for an open ongoing conversation that we will be coming back to as the year goes on.

Questions and Comments

Senator Ash: Is this a pattern to the drop in graduate enrollments? Provost Arden responded that we won’t have final numbers until census day, but that on new student enrollment, it is and not specific to any one college. Senator Kuzma: Has the trend been slightly up and this is a dip? Provost Arden answered that this is the second year in a row that we’ve missed our graduate enrollment targets.  He went on to explain that while the targets are marginally aggressive but not overly so – this is the second year in a row.  He stated that we have been meeting our graduate enrollments, and going back five or six years, actually exceeding our enrollment targets.  He stated that this is good but it means we are admitting more people than we are funded for.  The goal is to hit it right on – have the right number of students that you’re funded for.  This is also very subject to economic trends – particular master’s students in the STEM disciplines.  As the market improves for master’s students, they have an incentive to get out more quickly and get a job as opposed to staying around. He explained that in some disciplines, particularly engineering and others, students may be less pressured to getting that second degree as opposed to simply going out with a bachelor’s degree.  So there are moving dynamics here.  He then stated that he didn’t want to draw too many conclusions from just two years, but it is a concern.  Remember that for enrollment you get funded on what you project - -and then there’s an adjustment for the following year.  So we’re already funded for this year, based on what we projected, so the adjustment net will be a negative – it will be next year.  That is the concern. Senator Sederoff:  In our business we fund our own graduate students; so if we have money, we can hire good people.  We have plenty of good candidates.  Maybe there aren’t good candidates.  So what is the situation across the board? The Provost answered that he hasn’t seen the numbers for this year’s applicant pools by college yet.  But he understands that in many of the areas there are still good and deep applicant numbers. He stated that we have to understand the dynamics as to why the students were not taken on board.  It’s different for master’s and doctoral candidates; for doctoral it has to do with the confidence of an investigator that they can support that student over a four or five year period.  With master’s students, there’s much more fluidity associated with the market. Senator Pearce: Aren’t projections dependent on the state of the economy?          Provost Arden responded by saying that you do as much as you can.  He further stated that it is an integrated model and that Drs. Larick and Hunt lead the enrollment planning committee.  He explained that undergraduate is very different; kind of like a spigot – up or down.  The University has 26,000 applicants for our 4,300 spots.  We accept 10k-odd.  Usually are right on the money.  So on the UG side, we control the spigot.  On the graduate side, it is very decentralized because it’s controlled at the local program and even the local faculty level.  There is a process that goes on between the enrollment planning committee and the colleges and program directors that Duane and Louis work hard on. I think they try to look at market but it’s very difficult to judge year to year.  He stated that overall the application rates for our graduate programs remain strong and that he thinks it comes down more to master’s students, it comes down to individual student opportunity versus faculty or department decisions of how many master’s students can we take.  At the doctoral level it comes down to individual faculty or program decisions about how many assistantships are available and how secure we think we are in being able to bring this number of students in and being able to support them. Provost Arden thanked the members of the Senate and expressed his appreciation for their hard work.

6. Old/New Business

Status of resolutions passed in the previous year - Jeannette Moore
  • Chair Moore spoke regarding the resolution of appreciation to Chancellor and Mrs. Woodson, which was approved last year.  This resolution of appreciation was for the establishment of scholarships for faculty and staff families.
  • Resolution in Favor of Updating the Alma Mater (Appendix A in the April 19, 2016 agenda)
This resolution was in favor of updating the Alma mater, citing concern that in its current form it does not promote inclusion and diversity, required a response from the Chancellor, which was read to the Faculty Senate. Chair Moore stated that the response would initiate some dialogue, even if the changes would not be implemented. Senator Auerbach stated that he did not want this to just disappear. He suggested asking someone from the Alumni Association and their Board of Directors to attend a Faculty Senate meeting. Chair Moore requested that Senator Auerbach bring this issue to the table at the Executive Committee meeting on Thursday, 8/25.
  • Resolution of Opposition to the new Proposed Drug and Alcohol Free Workplace regulation (Appendix B in the April 19, 2016 agenda)
Chair Moore explained that this issue first came to the Faculty Senate a year ago and was sent back with a lot of suggestions.  When the response was received in the Spring with very few changes, quite a few problems still remained. The Faculty Senate then passed the resolution of opposition stating that in its current form it is simply unacceptable.  Chair Moore read the response from the Chancellor, which explained that the he has asked the Provost and Eileen Goldgeier to work with the leadership of the Faculty Senate regarding this concern. This issue will be coming back to the Executive Committee for further discussion.

7. Faculty Assembly Update - Paul Williams, Faculty Assembly Delegate

Dr. Paul Williams presented information regarding the Faculty Assembly Delegates, their role and a little about the purpose of the group in general.  He explained that the Faculty Assembly is a consultative body that consists of representatives from the 17 constituents across the University of North Carolina system.  The group was created by Bill Friday, long-time president of the University system.  His goal for the group was that it would serve as an information conduit between the president and the member institutions. The meetings serve as an opportunity for the group to convey concerns to the president, and will meet six times per year, the president always in attendance.  This past year was unusual with the new appointment of President Spellings, so the Faculty Assembly will meet with her for the first time on Friday, September 2nd.

He continued by saying that the concern last year was mainly due to all the uncertainty that has arisen as a result of a new president being named, the new board, and the actions they were taking. The group provides its share of political intrigue and Dr. Williams expressed his respect for last year’s Assembly Chair, Steve Leonard.  He stated that Dr. Leonard took command of the process early on by setting the agenda and the tone of the process.  He was able to establish an understanding between the Assembly and the leadership, which resulted in a great deal of unity.

Dr. Williams then reviewed some of the actions of the Assembly last year, which included the expression of concern regarding the process by which the President was named, and a letter formed by the Assembly to President Spellings regarding concern about the NC GAP proposal, which was believed by the Assembly to be a bad idea.  Going forward, he stated, the Assembly is looking forward to meeting with President Spellings on Friday, 9/2, when she and the Board of Governors will present their new vision for the UNC system.

Questions/Comments Senator Bykova – Has the compensation issue been discussed by the Assembly? Dr. Williams stated that President Spellings has addressed the compensation issue and has said that salaries are an issue. She has stated that she is on our side with respect to that, and that something needs to be done about faculty salaries. He went on to say that the Assembly is hopeful that President Spellings will address the legislature on our behalf and convince them to bring faculty salaries up to where they should be. Senator Sederoff – Expressed concern regarding student access to voting. Dr. Williams stated that this has not come up for discussion with the Assembly, but he is aware that there is a student assembly and may be an issue they are trying to deal with. Brandon Stafford, NC State University Student Body Vice President and a guest in the meeting, stated that there are currently initiatives going on around campus to improve student engagement in the voting process.  He is also aware that Wake County will be on campus to get students registered to vote. Staff Senate Chair Angkana Bode added that the Staff Senate is also working on an initiative to encourage staff to vote.

8. Input from Senators on Topics of Concern - Chair Moore

Chair Moore reported to the committee that 14 issues came in last year, and that we went through all of these and looked at them throughout the year.  The request this year for concerns has resulted in only one issue:
  • Concern:        
Chair Moore explained that the concern is regarding the student application fee for graduate school at NC State.  The $85 fee is reportedly higher than most others.  What is not understood is that while the department does most of the work, from bringing candidates on site, communicating with them and then making the decision prior to forwarding the information to the graduate school, the questions that have arisen are: Why is the fee so high and what does the department receive? Can this be reduced so the applicant pool be increased or can some of the money come back to the departments? Chair Moore stated that the Executive Committee will meet on Thursday, 8/25/16 and will then come back to the Senate with that information.
  • Comments
Senator Hawkins stated that as students are applying to graduate school, they are making a very weighted decision because of these costs and this could definitely influence the applicant pool; many cannot afford it. Several senators then expressed concern that it was a concern in many departments.  They are also troubled that the graduate school doesn’t vet any student; that task is completed by the department, and the graduate school receives all of the fees. Chair Moore announced to the Faculty Senate that on 9/20, Dean of the Graduate School, Maureen Grasso, will attend the Faculty Senate meeting to talk about something else but will open for questions and we can ask her about these concerns at that time.

9. Senate Communication (To and From Constituents) - Chair-Elect Carolyn Bird

Chair-Elect Bird spoke about Senate Communication and how the Faculty Senators are getting information from the Senate out to the faculty?  She stated that last year, we started talking about how do we get info from the Senate out to the other faculty and we have learned that some have mechanisms in place for communication but others do not.
  • Several Senators reported that they utilize their college’s listserv but others have run into barriers or resistance through their Dean’s office.
  • Chair-Elect Bird pointed out that we are their conduit and want to let them know that we are here and what we are doing but also, we want to make their senators visible to them so they will know who to contact if they have issues and concerns.  She asked if we could find a channel that we could have uniform across the colleges.
  • Senator Kathariou suggested that perhaps the college research committee, while others liked the idea of utilizing the library representatives, which most college departments have one.  Discussion followed regarding the pros and particularly cons of utilizing these particular channels.
  • Chair-Elect Bird stated that the effort should be unified and at the level of the college instead of department, and that we should have access to a mail list of the colleges.  Another idea is that senators are invited to department head meetings to share this information.
  • Senator Carver asked how the senators reach everyone when it’s time to vote.
  • Chair Moore stated that we have an all voters list.  She pointed out, however, that there is a desire not to use that list too much since voters can unsubscribe on their own and all may not receive it. Usually this list is used only at the beginning of the semester and once at the end of the semester about what the Senate has done.
  • Senator Fath asked how it is possible to contact the general constituency.  She is concerned that we are not hitting the whole constituency.  Chair Moore responded by saying that we will update the voter roster in September and will pull out the names by college, forming a separate list for each college. She explained that we do that update in September in order to reach all new faculty hires.
  • Associate Chair Orcutt expressed that some colleges do not want anyone to use the listservs, while others do not have a listserv for just faculty. He also stated that anything that relies on individual representatives disseminating information isn’t very reliable; some pass things along and some not so much.
  • Senator Bartlett suggested that we develop a best practice as to how to communicate within the colleges. He also asked why wouldn’t we have a listserv from Faculty Senate and have that domain that we can control so we can push out information on our own.
  • Chair-Elect Bird responded by asking the Senators how they felt about creating some sub-listservs by college so the senators could come together to decide what they want to send out. She wondered how much interest there is in this idea.
  • Senator Kuzma responded by asking why would it have to be done uniformly college by college and can’t the Senators in each college decide how they will communicate?
  • Senator Pearce pointed out that it seems like it should come from the Faculty Senate.  Is it for Senators to decide what to communicate?  He wondered about the interpretation and how it would be communicated; is it the opinions of the Faculty Senate as a whole?
  • Chair-Elect Bird responded by stating that the Senators would inform their college about what is going on in Faculty Senate; it is important to distinguish between the two.  You have to separate your personal perspective.
  • Senator Kathariou asked if the majority of items that are worthy of discussion shouldn’t just go directly from the Faculty Senate to all Faculty.
  • Chair-Elect Bird responded by saying that the information going directly from the Senators gives the enators better visibility inside their colleges.  Then faculty will know who they need to talk to when issues arise.
  • Senator Ash commented that the first step is to find out what the policies are by college and ask if we can use the listservs three times per year.  Find out what the constraints are. She is a proponent of working at the individual college level.
  • Senator Peretti wondered why this is even an issue. He stated that this should not be a big deal.
  • Senator Young suggested attending the college-wide faculty meeting. He stated that a good idea is to get on the agenda of the meeting – be proactive.
  • Marc Hoit, Vice Chancellor for OIT at NC State, advised that no one method of communication generally reaches more than about 7 to 12% of a target audience; you have to do it all – newsletter email, meetings. A strategy is indeed needed to discover what methods work most effectively.

10. Issues of Concern - Chair Moore

Faculty Issues of Concern can be submitted at any time to a Senator or to  Minutes from each Faculty Senate committee (Academic Policy; Governance and Personnel Policy; Resources and Environment) are posted so progress on issues/discussions can be monitored by all. Chair Moore reiterated that issues of concern can come in at any time and they will be dealt with

11. Adjourn

Chair Moore reminded the Senators that the reception at the Chancellor's house (The Point) for Faculty Senators, that traditionally follows the first Faculty Senate meeting, will occur this year after the second meeting (September 6) due to a scheduling conflict with the Chancellor. Invitations from the Chancellor’s office likely will go out this week.  Attendees were reminded to park on the grass.
  • A motion to adjourn was made by Senator Bernhard, seconded and carried unanimously.
  • Chair Moore adjourned the 1st meeting of the 63rd Faculty Senate session at 4:28 p.m.
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