November 4, 2014

Executive Summary


1. Call to Order

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

2. Remarks and Announcements

Chair Zonderman announced that the West Wing of D.H. Hill Library will be closed for renovations during the spring semester.  The Faculty Senate meetings will be held in the Administrative Conference room of the library and the Faculty Senate office will also relocate to that area until the end of the spring semester. Chair Zonderman reported that there are rumors about the budget restructuring task force.  He stated that the two big items to remind people of is first, nothing has been decided yet.  The second item is they are working to develop a simpler model for allocating enrollment change money. Chair Zonderman announced that Senator Derek Aday will be leaving the Senate at the end of the semester to become a full time Assistant Dean.  Sarah Ash will become the new co-chair of the Academic Policy Committee and Dr. James Knopp will serve out the remainder of Senator Aday’s term. Anyone interested in serving as the Faculty Senate representative on the Athletics Council to replace Senator Aday should contact Chair Zonderrman.

3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 4, October 7, 2014

A motion passed to approve the minutes

4. Presentation:  Student Retention and Success

Vice Provost Louis Hunt, University Registrar stated that it is important to realize that they have moved in a particular direction and they have also changed the quality of input.  He reported that more than 51% of kids that are applying and enrolling at NC State are in the top 10% of their graduating classes.  Their SAT scores are in the range of 1248.  They have taken a number of AP courses and have earned mostly A’s and B’s in high school.  He said there has been a lot of movement in a positive direction in a very short amount of time. Hunt showed a slide (graph) of the incoming cohort and stated that in the strategic plan they have made some choices to hold the undergraduate population where it is for a while. He reported that in 2007 they were admitting about 4800 students and this year they bought in 4300.  Last year they admitted less than 4200 students and this coming year they are looking at bringing in 4250 with about 1250 transfer students. Managing for Student Success Vice Chancellor Mullen stated that he thinks of student success as an opportunity where we are successful and our students are successful.  He said if the students come here and they are successful in classes and are successful in making meaningful relationships with faculty and professional staff on campus that gets them involved in a variety of curricula and co-curricular activities that enriches their lives and essentially gives them a leg up as they move through the system. It not only prepares them for that first job out of college, but really prepares them with a very good broad education that serves them well as they go through a career of jobs throughout their lives. Vice Chancellor Mullen stated that in the strategic plan they were looking at bringing in more transfer students to take some of the pressure off of that first year.  He said we need to take a serious look at intra-campus transfer  issues and we (Louis, Provost , and I) all agree that if we can move students effectively and into the majors that they prefer, we could gain a few percentage points rather than students leaving in good standing and going some place else.  He pointed out that only about 5% of students leave this institution not in good standing.

5. Remarks from Provost Arden

Provost Arden reported that significant progress is being made with graduation rates and retention.  He noted that everyone is putting in a lot of work. Budget Provost Arden reported that a 2% budget reduction has been submitted to General Administration and they will submit to the Board of Governors a 2% budget reduction as was asked by the State Budget Director.  He stated that we have also submitted some budget expansion request.  The official budget submission from the Board of Governors will be the 2% reduction submission because that is what the state Budget Director requested. Provost Arden announced that Vice Chancellor of Research Terri Lomax is leaving the university and Chancellor Woodson will be announcing an interim in the next few days. They are going to begin a search for that position and Vice Chancellor Marc Hoit will serve as chair of the Search Committee. Provost Arden announced that Vice Provost Betsy Brown is retiring at the end of the academic year.   He commended her for the work that she has done during her tenure. Provost Arden announced that they are in the process of signing a contract for a faculty ombuds. The position will be a contract faculty ombuds who will report to the Chancellor.  That person will be housed off campus.

6. Adjourn

A motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 4:25 p.m.

Meeting Minutes


Present:

Chair Zonderman, Secretary Daley, Chair- Elect Moore, Parliamentarian Fath; Provost Arden; Senators   Aday,  Ash, Auerbach, Banks, Bartlett, Baumer, Bernhard, Borden, Brady, Cubbage, Fleisher, Fuentes, Gunter, Heitmann, Holden, Levy, Lunardi,  Nfah—Abbenyi, Smith, Sotillo, Spontak, Steer, Williams  

Excused:

Senators Bullock, Davidian, Edwards, Krause, Moore, Scearce

Absent:

Senators Allaire, Bird, Devetsikiotis, Laffitte, Orcutt

Guests:

Betsy Brown, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs; Michael Mullen, Vice Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs; Louis Hunt, vice Provost and University Registrar

1. Call to Order

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

2. Remarks and Announcements

Chair Zonderman announced that the West Wing of the D.H. Hill Library will be closed for renovations during the spring semester.  The Faculty Senate meetings will be held in the Administrative Conference room of the library and the Faculty Senate office will also relocate to that area until the end of spring semester. Chair Zonderman reported that there are rumors about the budget restructuring task force.  He stated that the two big items to remind people of are, first, that nothing has been decided yet.  The second item is they are working to develop a simpler model for allocating enrollment change money. If you teach more students, how to develop a formula where you will receive more money; if you teach less students how to develop a formula where you will receive less money.  The first stage is only going to deal with enrollment change money.  For the whole university this amounts to several million dollars out of an academic budget that is more than $400 million. Chair Zonderman informed the Senators that Senator Derek Aday will be leaving the Senate at the end of the semester to become a full time Assistant Dean.  Sarah Ash will become the new co-chair of the Academic Policy Committee and Dr. James Knopp will serve out the remainder of his term. Anyone interested in serving as the Faculty Senate representative on the Athletics Council to replace Senator Aday should contact Chair Zonderrman.

3.  Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No.4, October 7, 2014

The minutes of the October 7, 2014 meeting were approved.

4. Presentation:  Student Retention and Success

Vice Provost Hunt, University Registrar, stated that it is important to realize that they have moved in a particular direction and they have changed the quality of input.  He reported that more than 51% of kids that are applying and enrolling at NC State are in the top 10% of their graduating classes.  Their SAT scores are in the range of 1248.  They have taken a number of AP courses and have earned mostly A’s and B’s in high school.  There has been a lot of movement in a positive direction in a very short amount of time. Hunt showed a graph of the incoming cohort and stated that in the strategic plan they made some choices to hold the undergraduate population where it is for a while, which they have done.  In 2007 they were admitting about 4800 students and this year they bought in 4300 students. Last year they were below 4200 and this coming year they are looking at bringing in 4250 with about 1250 transfer students. Vice Provost Hunt stated that there are three different ways to look at student retentions.  He explained that the one year retention rate is where a student comes in as a freshman (do I reenroll for that second year?).  We have moved from 86% to 93 percent.  Then two year sophomore will come back to that next, junior year, which is a big movement from 74 to 87 percent and finally, the three year (junior to senior) retention, which starts getting pretty close toward graduation.  We have gone from 69 to 82 percent.  We are seeing some positive movement, so it is difficult to say that any one factor on campus is the cause of that. Vice Provost Hunt stated that if you look at 4, 5, and 6 years graduation rates we are doing a good job highlighting the idea that students should graduate in four years.  We are making good progress moving kids toward a four year graduation.  He noted that Engineering students are going to coop, internship, etc., so a lot of times you are going to move out to the fifth year.  There we have gone from 55 to 71 percent.  The six year which is sort of the national bench mark, we have gone from 62 to 75 percent.  My numbers suggests that the next number will be 76 percent and actually this next four year rate should be at 48 percent. We are seeing some real positive movement.  The issues are that when we look at our peers we are still way below where they are.  We have very similar students come in, but we are not moving our kids through at the same rate.  These are retention rates from US News and World Report.  We are bordered here by retention rates.  The last two years we have been at 93 percent; we are going to see some upward movement.  There is still something that we need to do that we haven’t quite solved. Vice Provost Hunt stated that the strategic plan calls for hitting a retention rate of 94% and a six year graduation rate of 80 percent.  The plan calls for that to be in the 2014 cohort whose enrollment was a couple of months ago.  He said that lays out the framework of where we are. Managing for Student Success Vice Chancellor Mullen stated that he prefers to think of student success as an opportunity where we are successful and our students are successful.  If they are successful in your classes  and  in making meaningful relationships with faculty and professional staff on campus that gets them involved in a variety of curricula and co-curricular activities. This enriches their lives and essentially gives them a leg up as they move through the system and not only prepares them for that first job out of college, but really prepares them with a very good, broad education that serves them well as they go through a career of jobs throughout their lives. In the strategic plan we said that we were looking at bringing in more transfer students to take some of the pressure off of that first year.  We need to take a serious look at intra-campus transfer  issues and we (Louis, Provost , and I) all agree that if we can move students effectively and into the majors that they prefer, we could gain a few percentage points there rather than students leaving in good standing and going someplace else.  He pointed out that only about 5% of students leave this institution not in good standing. When we look at the graduation rates it is not students who were asked to leave.  We are looking at proactive advising models and we are looking at new ways to get more students involved in high education practices. Vice Chancellor Mullen pointed out some examples of things that happening.
  • Changes in orientation process
  • We have looked at how we do the Wolf Pack Welcome Week differently
  • We are talking about what it takes to get through NC State, that this is a place where you have to work in order to succeed.
  • We also have to do things that are mandated.
  • We are having very frank discussions about sexual assault and alcohol use and abuse
Mullen stated that there needs to be more academic opportunities during Wolf Pack Welcome Week.  He said this year we had workshops in chemistry and physics.  We had students waiting in line, standing room only outside the door of Talley. You will be seeing a lot more expansion than opportunities for faculty to be involved with freshmen during the time prior to when classes start. Mullen stated that Student Support Service is here for those students with learning disabilities.  The Undergraduate Tutorial Center has been revamped to a University Tutorial Center.  The writing program has been re-expanded and is now back available to graduate students. Mullen stated that when the strategic plan was written we had 10 Living and Learning Villages, the goal was fourteen.  The fourteenth village opened this fall, the Entrepreneurial Village over in Opportunity Hall on Centennial Campus in Wolf Ridge; that has been a real positive. Mullen reported that more than half of our students living on campus participate in Living and Learning Villages and about 33% of all of the students are participating in the villages.  Data over the last several years shows that students in a village have higher first year GPAs, higher first year retention rates, higher rates of credit completion, and they have higher graduation rates than students who live in residence halls.  They all have higher rates than students who live off campus.  He stated that it would be great if we could figure out more ways to bring faculty into our villages. Mullen stated that they are changing advising.  Our advising center at central level has been very active in the First Year Commons.  We have had walk- in advising.  We have had more than 1000 students from all majors come to the First Year Commons for walk-in advising.  We also have virtual advising online where students can get questions answered within 24 hours or so.   We also, with the strategic plan, call for more intrusive advising models where we would have more advisors with fewer students per advisor; we have started to do some of that with the CALS/COS reorganization.  We hired six advisors this past year to provide more intensive advising in the First Year Life Science Program and some of the other programs. Mullen stated that a couple of years ago it was not uncommon to only have 4, 5, or 6 Fulbright applications.  We had 33 this past year.  We scored four which is more than we have had apply in some years. It is only a matter of time before we receive the Rhodes Scholar. We have 2500 students participating in the Honor’s and Scholar’s Program. Mullen stated that they are pushing hard on undergraduate research and study abroad through the Chancellor’s Office and Terri Lomax’s office.  We have added approximately $100,000 in undergraduate research to help more students be involved with more faculty and to participate in research conferences throughout the year.  We have also added significant money into study abroad to fund scholarships for students of low financial means who otherwise might not be able to take advantage of the study abroad opportunity. Mullen stated that they have reorganized the Career Center.  It used to be an Experience and Learning Center, those have now merged and they are in Pullen Hall, which is being renovated. Mullen stated that the instances and problems with mental health issues are increasing on our campus.  We have been systematically adding more counselors for the last couple of years trying to get to the accredited level of one counselor for every 1500 students.  We are seeing demand on our Counseling Center skyrocket.  He pointed out that there is a student of concerns website where if you notice unusual behaviors with students there is a place to report that to find out what is going on with the student. Vice Provost Hunt reported that the Goodnight Scholars Program is not well recognized on campus.  That is where we bring in 50 students a year and they get $17,500.  They are in STEM disciplines and have to be from middle classe families.  He explained middle class as a family with a household income between $40,000 and $85,000, which makes it hard to send a kid off to college. He said this has been a successful program, something we are very fortunate that the Goodnights have endowed for us. Hunt stated that Michelle Johnson has been a big part of the Academic Policy updates, working with Academic Policy Committee, Associate Deans and a variety of people.  We have made a lot of changes that are pushing students in the right direction to get the behaviors that we want out of them.  A good example is course repeat.  You can’t take a course for a third time without some intervention.  Another example is we have changed that course repeat into grade exclusion among other examples that are moving us in a positive direction. Hunt stated that they have the Advising Dashboard and other advising software to make it easier for a faculty member in the limited time that they have with a student, be able to access where the student is academically and socially in other areas and how they can get that student the best advice. Hunt stated that the Enrollment Wizard helps a student find the needle in a haystack.  We have a pretty tough curriculum here, more so than a lot of other schools, which may be part of our issues with why our graduation rates are lower. Hunt stated that they tried to pilot an Academic Recovery Program this year bringing back some freshmen that were going to be suspended after the first year.  They had a contract with them, made them take a different core, and assigned mentors to them.  The program has been fairly successful.  He noted that it is not going to be 100 percent but it might be a model that they are able to move forward with. SCALE-UP and Large Course Redesign are all things that have certainly impacted the students’ success. Improved transfer student advising—Vice Provost Hunt stated that they have heard a lot of faculty concerns about transfer students.  Are they prepared or are they the same as freshmen on our campus?  He said they are working on that and are doing things like military credit articulation. Hunt stated that NC State libraries are making a real impact.  You have the Hunt library with all of the student spaces.  The kids are hanging out in the library now, which is bound to be better than hanging out in your apartment being distracted by other things. Moving Forward TH!NK QEP— Vice Chancellor Mullen stated that this year there are fifteen courses being run—six English composition courses, six FYI, COS 295A which is a large first year life sciences course and MIE201 and E101.We have small, large, and medium sections.  We will be able to look at assessment data across all of those different kinds of courses to find out what works and what doesn’t. Centrally manage internal and external transfer—Vice Provost Hunt stated that they created the CODA process a couple years ago and that has worked well.  He said they are going to move that internal process into Enrollment Management. They will be able to manage more precisely the internal/external balance. Hunt said the other one that is important is to develop alternative pathways for students to enroll in the Community College System.  This past fall we had 1250 new transfer students and more than 600 of those were from community college. That is a great way for kids to get here at NC State that may not have been prepared to come. Vice Provost Hunt noted that there are some challenges, he has heard from faculty that the students are not always on the same footing.  He stated that there are some real opportunities for us to meet with the community colleges to see where the difference are, to try to align the curricula or find out what would work better for these students. Vice Chancellor Mullen stated that they are looking at developing new intervention strategies to retain and graduate students.  We have gone with the New Students Program Office; they already do first year programs.  One thing that often happens to second year students after they have had  so much attention during their first year is they show up on campus wondering why they are not getting the same attention as they did the first year.  We are looking at some second year programs that would intentionally introduce returning sophomores more to undergraduate research opportunities, career center opportunities, and study abroad opportunities and other kinds of engagement activities.  It wouldn’t be a yearlong program, but how do we get them more aligned.  One of the beauties of a place like NC State is we are a research university with endless opportunities yet only a small percentage of our students actively take advantage of this. Explore implementation of a University College.  Vice Chancellor Mullen reported that 20% of our incoming freshmen come into the First Year College as undeclared. It is second only to engineering at this point.  Yet, if you look at the organizational structure within the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, this is  at the bottom of the chart  and within a small bin. Mullen state that he also has the Interdisciplinary Environmental Science BS Program.  We have the global perspective certificate which is administered within that particular wing.  Then over at NC State there is a Music Department, dance, and theatre department and in Student Development Health and Wellness there is Health and Exercise Studies and all of these are scattered. The University College is really a way of taking that label at the bottom of the organization chart that was First Year College and moving it up and reorganizing most of everything academic that already exists in DASA into a more coherent structure.  Though what I really want that to do is provide in the short term a  virtual one stop shop where every student on campus knows that this is the place you stop if you want information about undergraduate research, scholars, living and learning villages, etc., -- that this is a one stop, virtual shop for student success. Provide integrated support through One-Stop Shop.  Vice Provost Hunt stated the next thing is integrate some student support services together into one shop, to make it easier for students to navigate the administrative part of the enrollment.  There is a real opportunity there and we are moving forward with that. Vice Chancellor Mullen stated that he is actively looking at how we better utilize our data on this campus both from an internal perspective and looking at some other opportunities that aggregate our data and allow us to highlight students that may be in trouble.  Over the next several months you will hear more about those efforts as we get more clarity on how we can utilize that data. Align academic and financial aid policies to promote satisfactory academic progress. Vice Provost Hunt stated that they have done a lot of policy work.  We are looking at our peers to see where their policy is different.  The UNC System and Faculty Assembly came up with fostering undergraduate student success. That requires us to align our academic and financial aid policies to promote satisfactory academic progress.   We are well on the way with that.  Some of that may create new suspension regulations, which he thinks will work well. Hunt said it is important that we use the system that we have.  There is a regulation that says you are supposed to take attendance in 100 and 200 level classes. That is not being formally done.   If we took that attendance, we could use the academic reporting system to notify students and their advisors that there is a problem. Early College High School Vice Provost Hunt stated that North Carolina has more early college high schools than the rest of the US.  The students are pretty good students on average.  Both those and the home school students do pretty well.  He said there are some challenges from orientation and advising, it’s hard to know how to deal with them. Questions and Comments Do early college students come in as regular freshmen?  If so that will greatly improve our graduation rate. Hunt stated that the numbers aren’t that large for us, but they should improve the graduation rate.  The challenge still is that the student might come in with “X” number of college credits wanting to get into an Engineering major, but the courses don’t align with the Engineering curriculum.  It is not always a direct match, but they are going to be good students.  The graphs on retention rates and graduation rates seem to run parallel to each other and they both tend to take dips at the same time.  It would be interesting to know why. Hunt stated that each data point is associated with a cohort. However, it is interesting.   You can’t see it in the data but I suspect when you have the great recession you are going to see all of them take a dip.  Sometimes the job market is really h3 and students leave. There are a lot of things that drive them, and there is still a lot of noise in that system. We could do some more analysis on it. Senator Auerbach  stated that we might be interested in causality for some of this, and some of it won’t all be things we have control over. Hunt agreed.  He said they look at a lot of this every day, and he believes that a lot of it comes down to individuals.  This is a complex social system with individuals interacting in it.  You just have one million different things.  There is a lot of dials to turn.  One thing we are doing about this academic recovery program is that we have assigned a mentor.  There is opportunity but we look at this endlessly and a different lens might actually work pretty well too.  We also subscribe and talk to colleagues and experts around the country trying to figure out what we are not observing or figuring out. Georgia Tech has a very large engineering program.  So how do they get to this top graduation rate? Hunt stated that he watched a webinar this afternoon that GA put on where they had someone come and talk.  They were talking about the velocity of students and the momentum of students. They were talking about curricular and how restricted curricula were.  We have a very prescriptive curriculum here and I would like for faculty to look at that. Senator Borden commented that Virginia Tech’s Engineering is just as prescriptive as NC State’s and in Civil Engineering they are almost total prescriptive, so we have some options. Do you track data on our enrollment, residence versus non-residence?  I remember seeing Purdue do data analysis.  Comparatively speaking NC State admits a fairly substantial proportion of its freshmen class who live here in Wake County, about 25 %, and therefore if you look at a place like Virginia Tech where there is not a big, local population. The university captures these living and learning villages.  Do we have data that track this performance for these residences versus non-residence? If they live here, there are so many distractions.  The university doesn’t become the source of the social life and it has to, that is what makes it a place that you want to be.  Hunt stated that those tend to be really good students.  He said doesn’t necessarily buy that argument. Question about retention of those students who live off campus and those who live on campus. Vice Chancellor Mullen stated that our retention rates, GPAs, graduation rates are all lower for those students who start off campus.  It is not a huge gap, the retention rate is on the order of 4 to 5 percent differential and within the residence halls it’s 2 to 3 percent with or without a living and learning village.  He said at other schools he has seen as much as a 15% differential for living on campus and off campus and part of that is a function of academic preparedness. Have you tracked both within the university and comparing with our peer institutions household income as related to retention? Vice Provost Hunt stated that they look at it, not so much compared to our peers because it’s hard to sometimes get good information on that.  We have a pretty nice mix of students.  We do have a large number of Pell eligible kids which is something we want to continue and their graduation rates are lower. On your last slide you had increase utilization of progress reporting system.  A lot of us have quite a few advisees and those progress reports come in during advising so we are totally swamped.  A lot of time we don’t have time to even read those, so I don’t take action on them, so having more progress reporting is not going to go anywhere unless those reports go to Vice Chancellor Mullen and he has people who can intervene and help. Vice Chancellor Mullen said that is one of the things he would like to see happen.  If we got to a place where we get really good utilization of progress reporting particularly early on, we would look for those that are truly at risk and turn them around and talk with advising coordinators. Vice Provost Hunt stated that he has heard some people talking over the last decade about where are you spending your money and its mostly about marketing and paper versus social media. Typically they are saying that is usually like a pyramid and you have it upside down on where you should actually spend resources.  There is a possibility that we are actually doing some of that now.  If we could frontload some of our effort with students, make sure that they get out of the gate fully engaged, they usually cruise right along. The good news is all these numbers are going up for entering freshmen, which I think is terrific.  I have heard there is some concern on the diversity side. Those in particular are African American young men and rural high school students.  A lot of kids are coming from high schools where they barely have one or two AP classes and they are up against kids that come out of high schools like Enloe High School,  that take twelve AP classes and their GPAs are 5.9, so how do we recruit students out of rural high schools? Hunt stated that geographic diversity, especially in North Carolina, is very important to us.  If we have a kid coming out of Northampton County that is in the top 10% of his class he probably is admitted.  The other types of diversity, African American males, etc., we have made some nice gains this past year and we have tried some new things.  Obviously that profile goes up, it changes what the qualified students looks like.   The last two years as we increase this profile we have seen our applicant pool improve.  The quality of the applicant pool improved across all demographics, so the African American male looks better.  We were able to change some processes, so we saw some big gains last year. The other thing is if you walk around this campus it is much more diverse than it has ever been in the past.  The question is who is participating and who is not.  We are seeing great progress but there are certain groups that are underrepresented but we are working hard on it.  Is there a way to alert advisors that students are not doing well in the classes?  Mullen stated that the progress reporting system is an engine for that and one of the things that we need to get to is to have an interface where everybody feels comfortable.  If we can get notification early on, on a student and we have it set to go to the advisor that can turn it around.   Early warning systems are something that we are working on getting more easily assessable to. Hunt stated that the student information system would allow us to easily monitor semester grades.  We have talked about it but not very loudly.  It would be no problem for us to turn that on.  It might be a really important thing to do.

5. Remarks from Provost Arden

Provost Arden reported that significant progress is being made with graduation rates and retention.  He noted that everyone is putting in a lot of work. Budget Provost Arden reported that a 2% budget reduction has been submitted to General Administration and they will submit to the Board of Governors a 2% budget reduction as was asked by the State Budget Director.  He stated that we have also submitted some budget expansion request.  The official budget submission from the Board of Governors will be the 2% reduction submission because that is what the state Budget Director requested.  However, we also know that GA will be submitting budget expansion priorities on the side.  As much as anything it is going to depend on where the state budget rests.  We are behind in our revenues already so we will see how things set later on in the year. Provost Arden announced that Terri Lomax is leaving the university. Chancellor Woodson will be announcing, in the next few days, an interim appointment for Vice Chancellor for Research.  He stated that they are going to begin a search for that position, and Marc Hoit will be the chair of that Search Committee. Provost Arden announced that Vice Provost Betsy Brown is retiring at the end of the academic year.   He commended her for the work that she has done during her tenure. Provost Arden announced that they are moments away from signing a contract for a faculty ombuds.   The position will be a contract faculty ombuds who will report to the Chancellor.  That person will be housed off campus.

6. Adjourn

A motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 4:25 p.m.
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