February 10, 2015

Executive Summary


1. Call to Order

Chair Zonderman called the tenth meeting of the sixty-first session of the NC State Faculty Senate to order at 3 p.m.

2. Remarks and Announcements

Chair Zonderman welcomed Senators and guests.

3. Presentations

Chair Zonderman presented Dr. Daniel Solomon, Dean of the College of Sciences, with a plaque from the Faculty Senate for outstanding services to the university.  Dr. Solomon plans to retreat from his position as dean and rejoin the faculty at the end of the academic year.

4. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No 9, January 27, 2015

A motion passed to approve the minutes

.

5. Remarks from Chancellor Woodson

Chancellor Woodson handed out a brochure of the 2014-2015 Report (Facts and Figures) for NC State University. Chancellor Woodson thanked Chair Zonderman for his leadership since the passing of Dr. Jonathan Ocko. Chancellor Woodson commented on change in the Board of Governors and the Presidency. He stated that as the board moves forward he hopes they will pay attention to what the critical needs of the universities are as they search for another President. Chancellor Woodson reported that the university was recently reaffirmed by SACS and noted that it is the result of a lot of hard work.  The SACS Board met in late December and NC State received the confirmation in late January.  He said the board continues to question the way the university assess learning outcomes, but only in the way they want us to continue to document the approach we take as an institution. Chancellor Woodson announced that the Board of Trustees approved NC State’s request for tuition and fee increases, undergraduate tuition at 3percent.  He said they presented to the BOG Finance Committee and received a lot of support.   There were questions asked about the fee increase that is being instituted for the Student Health Center.  He stated that many students struggle in making the transition to higher education and it is a serious issue, so most of the funds for the Health Center are to support hiring more counselors. Chancellor Woodson stated that another controversial issue the university leadership brought to the board that the BOG pushed back on was a general student security fee. He explained that the pushback was for the first time this would be a fee charged to every student in the UNC system, but it would go centrally to the system office and then be distributed on a formula yet to be defined.

6. Presentation on the Graduate School

Dr. Maureen Grasso, Dean of the Graduate School, presented a PowerPoint on “Enhancing the Success of Graduate Students.” Dean Grasso stated that when thinking of graduate education many are familiar with the environment, how changing technology is disrupting, enhancing, altering the way we deliver programs and the way students talk to each other.   She said the mental health issue is affecting graduate students as well.  There are older and more mature students. They are finding demographic changes in terms of first generation and demographic changes in terms of the international mix of students. Then of course, there is reshuffling of traditional education in terms of interdisciplinary programs, and also in how technology is impacting some disciplines to evolve into new ways.

7.  Old/New Business

Elections Secretary Daley explained the duties of the Secretary of the Faculty. Chair Zonderman encouraged the Senators that are rotating off the Faculty Senate to consider running for secretary.  He also urged senators to encourage people to run for open positions so that there will be competitive elections. Discussion of the Board of Governors and President Ross Chair Zonderman shared the resolution passed by the Faculty Assembly regarding the transition in leadership and direction of the UNC System. There was a motion (seconded) to endorse the resolution. After much discussion, the motion passed to endorse the resolution.  The vote count was 17 yes, 1 no, and 2 abstentions.

8. Issues of Concern

Senator Nfah-Abbenyi stated that the Student Senate passed a resolution about changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and they are asking for input from the faculty. The issue will be discussed in the next Executive Committee meeting.

9. Adjourn

A motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 4:13 p.m.

Meeting Minutes


Present:

Chair Zonderman, Secretary Daley, Parliamentarian Fath; Senators   Auerbach, Banks, Bernhard, Bird, Borden, Bullock, Byrnes,  Davidian, Fleisher, Gunter, Heitmann, Holden, Knopp, Krause, Laffitte, Lunardi, Nfah—Abbenyi, Smith, Sotillo, Spontak, Steer, Williams  

Excused:

Chair-Elect Moore; Provost Arden; Senators:  Ash, Baumer, Cubbage, Devetsikiotis, Levy, Orcutt, Scearce

Absent:

Senators:  Allaire, Bartlett, Brady, Edwards, Fuentes, Moore

Guests:

Chancellor Woodson; P.J. Teal, Chancellor’s Office; Marcia Gumpertz, Assistant Vice Provost, Faculty Diversity; Tom H., ACE Fellow; Eileen Goldgeier, General Counsel; Dan Solomon, Dean, College of Sciences; Josh Teder, Student Senate ProTempore; Roy Baroff, Faculty Ombuds; Maureen Grasso, Dean, Graduate School

1. Call to Order

Chair Zonderman called the tenth meeting of the sixty-first session of the NC State Faculty Senate to order at 3 p.m.

2. Remarks and Announcements

Chair Zonderman welcomed Senators and guests.

3. Presentation

Chair Zonderman presented Dr. Dan Solomon, Dean of the College of Sciences, with a plaque from the Faculty Senate for outstanding services to the university.  Dr. Solomon plans to retreat from his position as dean and rejoin the faculty at the end of the academic year.

4.  Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 9, January 27, 2015

Minutes of the January 27 meeting were approved as submitted.

5. Remarks from Chancellor Woodson

Chancellor Woodson handed out a brochure of the 2014-2015 Report (Facts and Figures) for NC State University. Chancellor Woodson thanked Chair Zonderman for the leadership he has shown since the passing of Dr. Jonathan Ocko. Chancellor Woodson commented on the change in the Board of Governors and the Presidency. Chancellor Woodson stated that he is confident that the Board of Governors has a lot of respect for this institution.  The terms in which it was handled could have been handled better.  Most understand that when there has been a dramatic change in the General Assembly and the associated governing board, that there will be changes like this on occasion.  He stated that it was a surprise to President Ross and a surprise to the Chancellors, but as they move forward he hopes that they will pay attention to what the critical needs of the universities are as they search for another President. Chancellor Woodson encouraged the Faculty Senate to continue to work with the Faculty Assembly of the UNC System because that is where a lot of the conversations are taking place. Chancellor Woodson reported that the university was recently reaffirmed by SACS and noted that it is the results of a lot of hard work.  The SACS Board met in late December and NC State received the confirmation in late January.  He said the board continues to question the way the university assesses learning outcomes, but only in the way they want us to continue to document the approach we take as an institution. Chancellor Woodson announced that the Board of Trustees approved NC State’s request for tuition and fee increases, undergraduate tuition at 3percent.  They presented to the BOG Finance Committee this week and received a lot of support.   Questions were asked about the fee increase that is being instituted for the Student Health Center.  He said there haven’t been a significant increase in the Health Center in a few years and the big crisis that everyone is facing in higher education is a crisis in counseling, i.e., psychological counseling.  Many of the students struggle in making the transition to higher education and it is a serious issue. Most of the funds for the Health Center are to support hiring more counselors.  Currently there is an average wait to see a counselor of two to three weeks, which is just not acceptable.  “If you have a crisis we need to deal with it in a timely way; this will allow us to expand the Counseling Center and provide the critical resources that our students need.” Senator Auerbach asked if the wait was because of an increase in demand.  The Chancellor’s response was it’s an increase in demand and it’s a societal issue in many parts of our society. It is something that all campuses are seeing.  We still don’t have tremendous crises here on campus but we need to make sure that is the case going forward.  He mentioned the situation at Appalachian State where nine student deaths have occurred this academic year.  While a couple have been attributed to accidents it is all too often a result of students in crisis that aren’t able to get the help they need. We want to make sure that we are working hard to prevent that. Chancellor Woodson stated that another controversial issue the university leadership brought to the board that they pushed back on was a general student security fee. Over the course of the last year there has been a task force looking at campus safety that he co-chaired with Chancellor Martin from NC A&T and it was driven by the increasing challenge campuses faced with sexual assault and with reporting of sexual assault in other campus based activities in the federal obligation through the Clery Act. Chancellor Woodson stated that we are going to have to respond to new federal laws with regard to Title 9, which is the title in the higher education act that requires equal treatment regardless of gender.  You often hear it referred to in the context of athletics. Title 9 also relates to other issues of diversities on our campuses, particularly in terms of sexual harassment, stalking, and assault.  We have a lot of issues that we face and the President proposed a fifty dollars student fee. Chancellor explained that the pushback was for the first time this would be a fee charged to every student in the UNC system, but it would go centrally to the system office and then be distributed on a formula yet to be defined.  This is the first fee charged to students that didn’t benefit students directly, dollar for dollar on their campus.  There was a lot of concern about the precedent that would be set.  After a lot of discussion and debate he thinks the Board will be voting in two weeks on a compromise which would be a $30 fee, $26 of which would come to each of the campuses for campus security, lighting, physical aspects of the campus, compensating police officers in a way that is consistent with the market.  It would also help with counseling to a certain extent but not as much as we need to support our students.Questions and Comments Speaking of psychological counseling is there any movement or concept of sharing the resources among many campuses? The Chancellor’s response was no, there hasn’t been a lot of conversation about it.  He said the short answer is no we have not broached the subject of sharing largely as a self-preservation ploy, but the point is well taken. Was the increase in demand due to a change in policy for the students starting this past fall? Chancellor Woodson stated that he doesn’t know the answer to that.  He said the ratio of counselors to student body is a number by which you are accredited and we have been below that number for ten years. Senator Bullock stated that it is a problem nationwide on campuses and the US Department of Health and Human Services is funding training grants so that we can increase the number of professionals to be available for mental health services and NC State is one of the recipients.  She noted that a grant for $1.5 million was recently received to train graduate students to work in the health profession and it was a nationwide initiative. Chair Zonderman stated that this conversation will continue in the next meeting.  He added that there are two national answers. One is with the Americans with Disabilities Act where students that have a psychological disability are covered.  The university has to admit students if the medical community says they are able to attend.  The other issue is an increasing number of students take medications, but once they get here they don’t take them like they should, which cause some of them to struggle and some end up going through serious psychological and psychiatric crisis.  He reminded the faculty that there is a professional team on campus to provide help if there is ever a situation with a student that is in crisis. Senator Bullock pointed out that the student Ombuds Office is another resource.

6. Presentation on the Graduate School

Dr. Maureen Grasso, Dean of the Graduate School, presented a PowerPoint on “Enhancing the Success of Graduate Students.” Dr. Grasso provided the new location of the Graduate School, which is on Centennial Campus at 1000 Main Campus Drive.  The vision statement and mission of the Graduate School are:  Leadership and Innovation in Graduate Education; to serve as a catalyst for excellence in graduate education. Dr. Grasso stated that when thinking of graduate education many are familiar with the environment, how changing technology is disrupting, enhancing, altering the way we deliver our programs and the way students talk to each other. Dr. Grasso stated that the mental health issue is affecting graduate students as well.  There are older more mature students.  We are finding demographic changing in terms of first generation.  We are finding demographic changes in terms of the international mix of students and then of course reshuffling of traditional education in terms of interdisciplinary programs, and also how technologies are impacting some of those disciplines to evolve into new ways.  Everyone is aware of the way that higher education is not being funded as it has in the past and all of that impact what is done in graduate education.  So, if you take that and look at the strategic plan for the university, it is impacting everything that we do here. Dr. Grasso stated that the focus of the graduate school is about the success of graduate students and enhancing that success.  We see graduate students as a vital part of the whole university strategic plan, not only being a vital player, but a receiver of all of these directions of the strategic plan.  We see interdisciplinary research. What we are doing in terms of developing new degree programs like the PSM (Professional Science Masters) and other new kinds of joint and dual degrees. All impact the success of our students. We in the graduate school are constantly looking at ways that we can work with faculty and students to increase our improvement of what we do and how we do it. Slide 7:  Grasso explained that the slide represents years of research that have been done between three institutions and nationwide looking at doctoral completion.  NC State works very closely with the University of Florida and the University of Georgia to look at optimal conditions for doctoral completion.  These variables also apply to master students as well. Dr. Grasso pointed out items 3 and 4 on the slide and stated that the mentoring aspects of what we do with students are critical. This is a national and international conversation that is happening now among graduate leaders about how we are mentoring our students, how are we demystifying what we do in graduate education -- are we throwing them in and saying go ahead and swim or are we helping them along the way. Dr. Grasso stated that even with the best mentoring and the best students, without funding it is not going to assist them to get through. Slide 8:  Dr. Grasso reported that one of the great directions they are taking in their commitment to the strategic plan is about mentoring.  She stated that mentoring is about forming productive working relationships between faculty and students and it is also student to student. One of the things we are focusing on in the graduate school is putting emphasis on mentoring.  We are doing workshops and seminars through the directors of graduate programs. Slide 9:   Grasso stated that they do a lot with postdoctoral scholars implementing workshops/seminars on effective mentoring, mentoring postdoctoral scholars through individual development plans to assist them in establishing professional goals. Slide 10:  Dean Grasso stated that they are creating an Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award, which will be announced in the spring and nominations will come in the fall. There will be two categories each year.  In the odd years the category will be Social Sciences, Business, and Education.  The second category will be Biological and Life sciences.  In the even years the two award categories will be mathematics, physical science, and engineering, and category two humanities and design. Slide 11:  How else are we improving in terms of mentoring?  Dean Grasso stated that one of the key things to know about our students nationwide is that they know how to talk to one another, but they don’t know how to take the essence of what they are doing and talk to an intelligent lay audience.  She said they are going to be looking at ways to teach the students how to communicate their scholarships. Dean Grasso noted that one thing new that will be coming next fall is a three minute thesis.  This is a competition across campus that will enable students to get out for three minutes and convince faculty of the value of their research and what they are doing.  Students from across campus will be invited to engage in that activity.  She said this is something that she has done in the past and the idea is being adopted from the University of Queensland.  She stated that a lot of universities in the South and Northeast are doing this as well; it is a great way for students to stand up and talk about their research. Dean Grasso stated that they are also looking at completion and time toward degree.  We want to build on NC State work so we can go forward, and then explore how we can track our students into career.  That is national conversation and it also helps us to show the impact of what our students are doing. Slide 13:  Dean Grasso pointed out that time to degree for the master’s is going pretty well.  She said 2004-2005 is where they started with the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) project between the three universities mentioned earlier in terms of times to degree and you can see where NC State was in terms of doctoral time to degrees. We are not going the direction we think we should go; we are going to where it is taking much longer.  She said one of the things that they will be doing in the graduate school is working with the Directors of Graduate Studies (DGPs), working with faculty to begin to explore what’s going on and why. Is one of the reasons, an increase in the change in mix of doctoral degrees?  Grasso’s response was no, because at other institutions we are seeing the reverse, but this peak has to do with the economy.  There is a difference between the cultures in labs, but the culture is different as you well know.  She stated that she thinks something else that will change over time is what the dissertation is, what it looks like.  It may not look like what we know it looks like today.  Our completion rates look pretty good for doctoral, our goal is to see if we can’t push it up to 70 percent.  We know that we don’t want 100% but we do need to take a look at when do students move out of the program.  Sooner is much better than later.  If the students aren’t making satisfactory progress in those first two years perhaps we need to encourage them to look at other career opportunities, rather than having staying in for seven, eight, or nine years and they not finishing.  It is better to encourage students if they are not doing well.  We know students know how to take courses and they know how to take exams, but many of them don’t understand what it takes to write that dissertation and create that original piece of work and that is why we are sometimes seeing problems at the end. Dr. Grasso stated that a group of North Carolina deans meet quarterly and last year they began to discuss some of the strategic pieces of information that graduate deans need to know and would like to share across the system.  They began to identify strategic questions and considered the kinds of data that can be collected. In the document that is out there (public information) they (deans) are looking to collect the percent of completion of the time to degree.  She said they have done that and have bench line data between all the campuses.  The data is being validated to make sure that it is accurate and reflects what they are reporting from campuses.  They are also asking that exit and interviews be done with all graduate students, where a common core question will be asked across all campuses. Dean Grasso updated the faculty on what is happening nationally.  The Counsel of Graduate Schools is exploring ways that it can track doctoral students out into their careers, which is very difficult to do.  The Counsel of Graduate Schools is asking questions in this report and there will surely be a study that is going to come out where they will ask universities to participate.  What information should we be collecting?  How should we collect it? Who’s going to use it and how it is going to be used?  How we define certain terms?  How are we going to analyze all of it?  She stated that this whole idea of tracking students out into the careers is not new.  Many of our AAU universities are doing that and so many of us are looking at that as models. Questions and Comments Secretary Daley stated that there is a lot of concern about Graduate Student Support Plan and its funding especially in his area in a Professional Master’s Program. Dean Grasso stated that no decision has been made. What does the future funding in GSSP look like? Grasso stated that they are looking at a model that is based on seventeen year old assumptions.  The committee that is looking at this is considering all sorts of recommendations.  It is a well-represented committee, so concerns of masters programs that are in the Humanities and Social Sciences as well as the Sciences are well represented and a lot of good ideas are coming forward, but we are not there yet. Chancellor Woodson stated that a significant portion (30%) of the tuition and fee increase funds that are generated is being used to support GSSP.  The Board of Governors restricted the use of those funds for financial aid, but they didn’t restrict the use of those dollars for financial aid for graduate students as long as it’s GSSP. Senator Bullock commented that she knows the focus is on doctoral program, but with the increase in demand for professional master’s programs especially those on line, are there any plans for improving the partnership or collaboration with DELTA in terms of how we fund distance education programs or online programs for professionals who want to earn MBAs online, MSWs online, is that one of the considerations for how we might improve graduate education access? Grasso responded that the way DELTA is funded, it is not really permanent continuing funding, but some programs are really flourishing that are online and some of our online programs are ranked extremely high but the way we fund online programs is problematic. Grasso stated that they partner closely but in terms of funding, the funding model and how that is done is outside the purview of the graduate school, but it is something that she can bring to the table to begin a conversation about. Secretary Daley commented that professional masters programs are different from PhD programs.  He said they get students in as professional master’s student and then some decide that they want a PhD, but they have already used 2 years of their GSSP and the three years left is not enough time to get them through, so they end up sending them to another school where they can be fully funded. Grasso stated that they are taking up that issue in the GSSP discussions.

7.  Old/New Business

Elections Secretary Daley explained the duties of the Secretary of the Faculty. Chair Zonderman encouraged the Senators that are rotating off the Faculty Senate to consider running for secretary.  He also urged senators to encourage people to run for open positions so that there will be competitive elections. Discussion of the Board of Governors and President Ross Chair Zonderman announced that the Faculty Assembly passed a resolution regarding the transition in leadership and direction of the UNC System. The Faculty Senate has several options.  They can adopt the resolution, amend it, send it back to the Executive Committee, create our own resolution or take no action whatsoever. He noted that the resolution has been sent to all of the Faculty Senates in the system. There was a motion (seconded) to endorse the resolution. After much discussion, the motion passed to adopt the resolution.  The vote count was 17 yes, 1 no, and 2 abstentions.

8. Issues of Concern

Senator Nfah-Abbenyi stated that the Student Senate passed a resolution about changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day and would like input from the Faculty Senate. The issue will be discussed in the next Executive Committee meeting.

9. Adjourn

A motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 4:13 p.m.
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