September 6, 2016

Meeting Minutes


Minutes of the Faculty Senate

Regular Meeting No. 2 of the 63rd Session: Faculty Senate Chambers

Present: Chair Moore, Associate Chair Orcutt, Chair-Elect Bird, Parliamentarian Lubischer, Provost Arden, Senators Ange-van Heugten, Argyropoulos, Ash, Bernhard, Berry-James, Bullock, Bykova, Fath, Feducia, Havner, Hawkins, Hergeth, Huffman, Kotek, Nam, Parker, Peretti, Pearce, Perros, Sannes, Sederoff, Young

Excused: Senators Auerbach, Barrie, Kuzma, Rever, Thakur

Absent: Senators Bartlett, Carver, Gunter, Kathariou, Laffitte, Silverberg

Guests: Katharine Stewart, VP for Faculty Affairs; Mitchell Moravec, Student Senate; Chancellor Randy Woodson; Eileen Goldgeier, General Counsel; PJ Teal, Chancellor’s Office; Marc Hoit, VC for OIT; Angkana Bode, Staff Senate Chair; David Zonderman, Past Chair of the Faculty, Doug James, Assistant Director, Office of Faculty Development, Ann Horner, Executive Director, Annual Giving

1. Call to Order - Jeannette Moore, Chair of the Faculty

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

2. Introductory Remarks - Jeannette Moore, Chair of the Faculty

Chair Moore asked the guests to introduce themselves to the group.

3. Announcements - Jeannette Moore, Chair of the Faculty

Chair Moore reminded the group to see the second page of the agenda each week to view the announcements and committee activity.

Committees

Academic policy

This committee has been active. They met with the University Academic Advising Council and the Inter-College Transfer Program at their most recent meeting.  Those minutes are already posted on the Faculty Senate website.  A new item on their list is the graduate school application fee and the role of the graduate school in admissions, an item that came up during first Senate meeting on August 23rd.

Governance and Personnel Policy

This committee met and discussed various items. Those minutes are also posted on the Faculty Senate website.

Resource and Environment

This committee met and discussed various items. Those minutes are also posted on the Faculty Senate website.

Announcements

  • Chair Moore announced that at the September 20th Faculty Senate meeting, the Dean of the Graduate School, Maureen Grasso, will address the topic of graduate faculty appointments and review.
  • Chair Moore welcomed newly-appointed Senator Tom Barrie from the College of Design.
  • Chair Moore asked for meeting topic suggestions for the October 4th General Faculty meeting be sent to her within the next week in order to formulate the meeting agenda.
  • Faculty Assembly --- 2016.94 passed

Chair Moore reported that the UNC Faculty Assembly met on Friday, September 2nd.  At the meeting the Assembly passed a Resolution on the Governance Implications of North Carolina Session Law 2016-94. This Resolution is an objection to the process regarding how some things were done this past year.  Named specifically, items that were included in the budget by legislators that really should have come from the Board of Governors or the President of the UNC system, Margaret Spellings. Also named specifically was reversing the penalty for UNC Chapel Hill for exceeding the 18% out-of-state enrollment cap.  Chair Moore pointed out that the objection is not to any of those things; the objection was to the process of how they were put in place because the Board of Governors and the President of the UNC system are supposed to work together to oversee everything to do with the UNC system.

Chair Moore stated that she has a copy of the resolution if anyone would like to see it after the meeting.

  • Fall Letter

Chair Moore reported that Vice Chancellor Mike Mullen sent his fall letter to the faculty so if you’re on teaching faculty for undergraduates you should have received that. She stated that Vice Chancellor Mullen was reminding us all that the success of our students is goal one of our strategic plan and that engagement with students is very important in terms of their success.

  • Faculty Library Spaces

Chair Moore stated that the faculty spaces in both libraries are really great.  These are spaces that faculty can reserve not just in the Hunt Library but now in the DH Hill Library.  She provided a link to accommodate those reservation requests.

  • Inauguration

Chair Moore announced that the Inauguration of Margaret Spellings as the President of the UNC system will occur on October 13th.

4. Approval of the Minutes

Associate Chair Orcutt called for a motion to approve the minutes for the second meeting of the 63rd NC State Faculty Senate session.

With no changes, a motion to approve the minutes as submitted was made, seconded, and passed unanimously.

5. Chancellor's Remarks and Question & Answer - Randy Woodson, Chancellor

Chancellor Woodson expressed his apologies for not being able to attend the first meeting of this session on August 23rd.  He thanked the Faculty Senate for everything they do for the students and for NC State University.  He stated that as the Provost shared at the previous meeting, this year’s freshman class is really strong.  He thanked the Faculty Senate again for all they are doing to help the students at NC State get the quality education that the University has always stood for.

Chancellor Woodson offered his congratulations to the College of Natural Resources and their Olympic gold medalist, swimmer Ryan Held.  He stated that NC State had a record number of participants in these Olympic Games; five current students that were participating - four from swimming and diving and one from rifle. He continued by saying that Ryan won the gold medal and was considered the “famous one” for being emotional on the medal podium.  He stated that the Olympics are an amazing event and Ryan’s reaction to his success reminded us what that venue means to the country and to the world. He recounted an interview that Ryan gave to Time Magazine, saying that it was amazing that now he’s back on campus in a Wildlife Management class, nobody seems to be thinking about it at all – just studying with the rest of the 34,000 students.  Chancellor Woodson stated that this was a great thing for NC State University and for Ryan. He reminded the group that the University is doing quite well in a lot of Olympic sports, stating that men’s swimming and diving has won the ACC each of the last two years and Braden Holloway is a terrific leader for men’s and women’s swimming and diving and does so much for our student athletes.

Chancellor Woodson stated that Nature magazine and Science magazine are the two most highly-ranked publications in the world.  He continued by saying that every five years, Nature does a survey – sort of an analysis – of the top life and physical and mathematical sciences journals in the world and looks at the Universities that have always been at the top of the scholarly universe.  He reported that NC State is one of only three North American Universities in the top 50 of the Universities that have made the most progress.

The Chancellor stated that the thing that is the most interesting to him in addition to being 31st in the world and being there with Stanford and Baylor Medicine which were the other two North American Universities in the top 50, but that in the top 10 of the Universities making the most progress, none are in North America; nine of the top 10 are in China and one in South Korea. He stated that the world is changing – and in our country, because of the work that our faculty does, NC State has always been the place that everyone around the world wants to come to study. He stated that we need to fight to protect that and that the Faculty is doing a great job.  He continued by saying that NC State hit the high water mark this year in research funding – with $460 million in research expenditures.

He continued by saying that a lot of good things are happening and a lot of good progress is being made because the University has worked hard to recruit and retain faculty, knowing that they are the lifeblood of the University.  He stated that we are nipping at the heels of some of the best in the world.

Chancellor Woodson also commented that the Princeton Review comes out every year – the ones that do the “number one party school.” He was happy to report that it is not NC State and we are not in the top ten; the Chancellor is proud of that.  He continued that the University is also not on the list that we used to be on – the one for one of the ugliest campuses in U.S.  He gave credit to the people in the physical plant and other places that have done a lot to make sure that this campus gets seen in a more favorable light. He stated that Hillsborough Street – in spite of the challenges associated with renovations, has done a lot and will continue to do a lot to elevate the brand of the institution and access to campus.  The Chancellor continued by saying that NC State has always been a beautiful campus that you have to get out of your car to enjoy. Chancellor Woodson mentioned that the University is on some good lists as well, including being among the top 50 in the country for game development.

The Chancellor stated that NC State benefitted more than any other University in the UNC system from the bond package; the reason being that the University had compelling projects – the engineering oval project and the plant sciences research building and that the University also committed to raising money for both of those.  He stated that he was hopeful that the Senators saw that Golden Leaf Foundation has granted to the University $45 million for the plant sciences building.  He continued by stating that the University is still raising money for both of these projects, taking steps to make sure that both of these projects stay on time.  He stated that there will be shovels in the ground by early fall of 2017.

The Chancellor reported that two new canine police officers have been added to the NC State police force.  Their names are Reed and Ford, and they are Labrador Retrievers. He stated that the campus is excited to have them here in this environment.  Additionally, the Chancellor reminded the Senate that this year is the 50-year celebration of Carter Finley Stadium, so they can expect to see a lot of festivities associated with this.

Chancellor Woodson stated that the University will officially launch the public phase of the Campaign with a celebration week of 10/23. It will culminate in a big celebration and kick off of the campaign on 10/28 with a party on the Stafford Commons, which will occur immediately following the Chancellor’s Fall Address.  He continued that this is also Homecoming week with a lot of the Foundation Boards on campus and the football game on Saturday.

In closing, the Chancellor reminded the Senate that all of us are attentive to the strange world that we are living in right now, a lot of that created by the political environment that we’re in, which is at a level of interest beyond imagination. He continued by stating that we are also very sensitive to the fact that the entire country is on edge. He challenged everyone that we should all be thinking about how we can help our students get through a very critical time in their lives by having thoughtful conversations about the climate across the world and across the country.

Chancellor Woodson went on to say that he is not sure that students have the same kind of mindset about free speech that others who grew up in a different time think about, stating that “we always have to walk this line.”  He stated that University campuses are struggling with this now – free speech, hate speech, micro-aggression – all the things that are very important in keeping a campus climate inclusive, diverse, and welcoming but at the same time reminding us all that people have the right to say a lot of things, and unless it’s targeted toward an individual, it’s likely legal.  He continued by saying that a lot of these conversations occur in classrooms and across campus and that the University is doing everything we can to make sure that we give our students a safe and welcoming environment so that they can be successful; stating that this is their dream – and it’s our dream for them to be in an environment where they can grow as scholars and they can grow as individuals.

Questions/Issues

Senator Pearce: What do you mean by a safe environment? 

Chancellor Woodson stated that he will not define it, but he feels it is one where people are not afraid.

Senator Pearce: If you’re talking about faculty in a safe environment, does that mean we have to censor ourselves to make sure we don’t say something that might hurt the feelings of someone?

The Chancellor responded that no, he will not tell faculty what to say.  He cited an example where students wanted him to put a plaque up on the free expression tunnel telling students what they could and couldn’t say in the tunnel.  He responded that “that’s not free expression is it?”  He went on to say that a safe environment is one that is free from threat, where students don’t feel intimidated to study.  The Chancellor stated that throughout his career in higher education, he has not seen a time as complicated as it is right now and that the campus community is in this together.  He reiterated that he will never tell faculty what to say in their classrooms or what not to say unless something is said that is a threat to an individual student.

Senator Sederoff:  He wanted to have a discussion in regard to sustainability, with respect to our capital investment.  He cited an example that a couple of years ago, leaders of biomedical research wrote an open letter written to community saying that the current paradigm used to support biomedical research was unsustainable, assuming there would be continued funding for public research, which not likely, yet there were still large investments in capital resources, which were likely to wither. Up-front costs are often obtainable but costs to sustain facilities are often not. Do we have a reasonable plan for sustainability of resources?

The Chancellor responded by saying that the University is not paying essentially any debt on academic buildings with overhead from grants – maybe some of the Centennial Campus space that was built with expansion space, but for example, the engineering oval, plant sciences building and all the buildings that faculty and students study in every day are built with largely state funding and private funding. He stated that the biggest challenge facing the University is that the deferred maintenance on our buildings is growing by leaps and bounds. He continued by saying that in the past we relied on the State to fund us through formula – and that hasn’t been forthcoming in recent years. As a result, we have to develop strategies for sustaining buildings because they’re going to be with us for a long time.

Senator Bykova: What do you have in place or what is the Administration doing right now for faculty in terms of research funding – especially funding for travel, including international travel?

Chancellor Woodson responded by saying that the reality is that we are doing everything we can to provide the infrastructure around faculty to bring in the resources they need for their research program.  The international travel we put in is mostly all for undergraduate education for faculty who are supporting study abroad.  Chancellor Woodson asked the Provost for additional comments.

Provost Arden commented that there are some small grants that international affairs has for faculty, but there simply is not a lot of money, and certainly not simple money – just to support international travel.

Senator Bykova:  I am on the International Programs Committee – and we know that Dr. Li initiated last year a kind of international travel support for faculty – it was only $10k.  Basically that is nothing.

The Chancellor stated that you all face this every day; the flexible resources you can use to encourage and incentivize and all of those things is very limited and it is a challenge.

Senator Argyropoulos:  Last year or the year before, the enrollment targets for graduate students were changed: a 20% increase for graduate programs, and we are not meeting them this year.  What are we going to do in a concerted fashion to actually meet that relatively large target in a time of reduced funding and all kinds of restrictions?

Provost Arden responded to this question by stating that the bottom line is it’s complex and that everything cannot be lumped together.  There’s undergraduate and graduate and among graduate, you’ve got master’s and doctoral.  He stated that there is good news and not so good news; the total overall enrollment targets missed the last two years.  He reminded the Senate that we do not have the final numbers for this year yet and that Census day was last Wednesday and currently we are working on getting the numbers probably by tomorrow in terms of how many we’re off and where that is.  He went on to say that there are two reasons, both on the undergraduate and graduate side; the good part is that we are over-predicting the number of continuing students that we have – graduate and undergraduate – and there’s a reason for that; our students are moving through to graduation more quickly.  He stated that it’s about the total number on campus and how that compares with last year. So both at the undergraduate and graduate side, we missed both on new admits and on continuing students.

He went on to state that the reality is our standard of students and what we’re doing with them over the last five or six years has changed so dramatically.  The students are moving through in record time; the six year graduation rate has gone from 71% to almost 78% this fall.  So on the undergraduate side you’ve really got more of a continuing student dynamic than new students.  On the graduate side, you’ve got both because graduate students are actually graduating more quickly as well.  It’s different between the doctoral and the masters from one college to the next.  He stated that he has asked Drs. Larick and Hunt for a very thorough and detailed report for this fall because we’ve now missed our enrollment targets two years in a row and there’s not going to be one simple solution; there will have to be a number of different solutions. He continued by saying that this is a very complex issue, but a very, very high priority.

The Chancellor reminded the Senate that the research intensive, doctoral-intensive universities are more vulnerable to the current formula because we can change tomorrow the undergraduate formula; we can fill this place with as many as you want.  He continued by saying that’s not what we want to do.  On the graduate side, because admission is decentralized and subject to the economy more and subject to availability of funding, it’s more of a challenge.

The Provost then stated that he expects by the end of Fall to roll out a comprehensive strategy that will try to set realistic goals and ensure we make them.  The reality is if we don’t meet our targets and we get a cut, the Provost has no way to buffer that other than to pass it on to the units.

Chancellor Woodson reminded the Senate that the graduate targets aren’t created in the Provost’s office – they are created by negotiations back and forth within the units.  So the numbers don’t come from the Provost sitting in an office setting the targets --- it’s with the leadership of the college.

Senator Pearce:  Are the growth targets tied to tenure track faculty? The growth of the tenure track faculty is flat and one might would think that if you want more graduate students you need more tenure track faculty.

The Provost responded that there has been slight growth of tenure track faculty, probably 40 or 50 over the past five years, across the University. He stated that what we didn’t take into account is you look at the demographics of faculty and how many we have retiring or leaving for one reason or the other, over the last five years we have hired about 350 faculty. We are doing a huge amount of hiring – 25% tenure track faculty on this campus.  That is very expensive and we’re all working hard to make some gains but not as we had hoped we would with these expenditures. He went on to say that the second thing we have to look at is the number of doctoral/grad school student/tenure track faculty at peer institutions. For many colleges it’s well behind. So there is some flexibility and we have to figure out where the sweet spot is.

Chancellor Woodson then pointed out that, on the other hand, the ratio of faculty to undergraduates has never been lower at NC State, but we haven’t continued to grow our undergraduates the way we were.  Typically we’re about 1300-1350 tenure track and 500-600 non-tenure track.

Senator Argyropoulos: Some colleges have programs that have large service classes – service classes have a NRA that help the graduate students.  Some have support to help graduate students and others do not.  It is not equal.

The Provost responded that it’s very difficult to have the conversation at a general University level; it comes down to college and programs, which are all different.

Senator Sederoff:  So much of our effort is talking about and raising money that we should put it in our mission statement

The Chancellor responded that it is not our mission but it’s a reason to support faculty and all that they do; our mission is still education, research and service.

6. Provost's Remarks and Question & Answer - Warwick Arden, Excecutive Vice Chancellor and Provost 

The Provost did not have prepared remarks, but took questions from the Faculty Senate.

Senator Huffman:  Asked about a new policy regarding faculty recruitment.

Provost Arden responded that it is not really a policy, but guidelines.  He stated that his office has always had guidelines about how much we will partner with a department or a college on various things, whether that’s new hires, start up for new hires, retention etc. He went on to say that they have been very aggressive about this in terms of the level of partnership that the Provost’s office has done over the last several years - not to just make a lot of hires but really great hires and give them the resources they need to be successful.

The Provost then went back to the enrollment discussion, saying that when you look at resources that are available to partner with the colleges on start-ups and retentions and all of those things, those resources come from enrolment funds and tuition – 95%.  We have missed our enrollment targets the last two years. He went on to say that we have other resources coming in – somewhere between $15-$25 million. He continued by saying that the other part is tuition – there are very significant pressures on downward tuition both from Legislature and from the Board of Governors.  He stated that we have been under a 5% per year cap; now the legislature wants a flat tuition for incoming students as well.  We are under a 3% limit for fees.  This is all going to reduce available resources. So, he said, the good news is that we are hiring some extraordinary people, but the bad news is they’re expensive. He stated that we need to make sure we can keep commitments that we make to people.

Senator Bullock:  There is a disconnect between academic units and enrollment targets. Have you explored other predictive models or algorithms?

The Provost responded that yes, all targets for any given college are negotiated targets and we can decide whether to undertake 4200, 4300 or 4400 overall  -- but first time, full time admits is a negotiated target.

Senator Bullock:  Has there been discussion about looking at new algorithms?

Provost Arden responded that yes, we pride ourselves on being an analytically-rich institution.  We have great folks in statistical and data sciences.  He continued that he thinks it is time to go back and look at some of the algorithms we have been using for 10-15 years, because the parameters are changing so quickly.  That is part of what we will be doing this fall – looking at our algorithms specifically to predict continuing student numbers.  At the moment we’re off – only 10% but it makes a difference.

Senator Bullock: What role does the 12-cell matrix play in that planning?

Chancellor Woodson responded that we are an institution that admits students directly to the major and that we negotiate with all the Deans in all the Colleges the target for each major – the students determine what happens next.

Senator Bullock: There are number factors in between that contribute to the outcomes.  So there are transfers, internal, external then when we start the funding models focusing on the production of student credit hours.

Chancellor Woodson responded that there is no funding model and no there are no distribution of resources at this University based on student credit hours.

Provost Arden also responded by stating that what we’ve been talking about for a couple of years is not changing anybody’s base budget, but looking at incremental or change funding and linking it to enrollment funding in some way.  He stated what we are still in the process of lowering that because it’s important that we don’t put into place things that drive this in the wrong direction – we don’t want unintended consequences or misplaced incentives. As soon as we get these census numbers and model it – what was put on the table that the Deans will approve is take 50% of the enrollment funds that would have been generated and allocate on a recurring basis.

He went on to say that we will likely get a budget cut next year – so we are taking our time to model this correctly. Additionally, he stated that over the last five years some colleges have had rapid enrollment growth, others have lost credit hours – some 20% - and their budgets haven’t been cut.  So those that are growing are subsidizing those who are declining.  Not sure we want to do this over time.  We really have to think about that.

The Provost went on to say that we have changed our philosophy – at the undergraduate level we are going to focus on quality and not quantity, and grow moderately at the graduate level.  The model works as long as you meet the graduate enrollment targets. He stated that we are getting hurt by our own success with students moving more quickly through.  We are a high demand institution and this is not an insurmountable problem – a matter of thinking through it critically and have the appropriate balance of growth and resources.

Senator Perros:  How will you evaluate the success of the cluster hiring program?

Provost Arden responded that the University will evaluate the same way we evaluate the overall faculty or institute success – scholarship, research, and national imminence.  He pointed out that our clusters and cluster hires are responsible for a lot of the increase reflected in the Nature index.

Senator Hawkins:  Are you considering any way to incentivize obtaining graduate students?   Are you trying to make the process easier?

Provost Arden responded that as a Research I Doctoral institution, it is a fundamental part of our mission to have strong Doctoral research programs.  He went on by saying that he does not think that the real tool for getting there is to have more and that the University currently has 63 or 64 Doctoral Program on campus.  He stated that there is a timeline for approval and it typically takes a few years to go through the approval process.  Additionally, he pointed out that new Doctoral programs are expensive and he does not feel that increasing the number of programs is the key; the key is how do we attract and retain the brightest students and have faculty and resources for those students.  He stated that it takes a lot of little things to make the plan robust and sustainable.

Chair Moore intervened to stop questions, given the time restraints.

7. Faculty and Staff Giving Campaign: Launch - David Zonderman, Professor and Department Head for History and Past Chair of the Faculty

Past Chair Zonderman stated that he is honored to be asked to be the co-chair of the Faculty and Staff Giving Campaign with Susan Colby. He went on to say that during Homecoming weekend this Fall there will be a public launch of the capital campaign.  In this capital campaign, he added, there is a very strong commitment that a substantial amount will go into the endowment.

Past Chair Zonderman explained that the goal is two-fold:

    • Participation As faculty and staff, we have devoted a lot to the University for us and our students. The more we can show our alumni and external donors that we are invested, the more of a chance we have to be successful.
  • Fairly low key approach This campaign will not have a heavy touch – no knocking on doors, etc. He stated that we are doing this on the limited resources we have.

Dr. Zonderman reviewed current faculty/staff giving numbers – over 800 participants are giving over $900,000.00.  He said that the current rate is 9% participation and the goal is to double that. His goal is 25% participation. He challenged the Faculty Senate to think about what they are able to do and passed out a form explaining the campaign.

Past Chair Zonderman thanked Dr. Woodson and his wife for beginning the NC State employees’ scholarship fund with a gift of $1.15 million.  Currently, there are 127 scholarship participants receiving a total of $250,000.00 thanks to this fund.  He also stated that currently there are 63 additional donors to this fund.

He reminded the Senate that they are able to designate where their funds/giving can go and is hopeful that they will seriously consider participating.

Questions

Senator Berry-James:  Why do faculty not give?

Dr. Zonderman responded that many times it is simply the employee relationship – why should I give money back?  He also stated that we are not getting increases like we used to and many times that translates into poor giving among faculty and staff. He stated that they are looking for greater participation and modest gifts; all of us can give a little bit per month.

Parliamentarian Lubischer pointed out that the assumption is that the gifts need to be “big gifts,” but in reality, the average gift is $45.  Small numbers add up.

Chair Moore stated that as she remembers, no one has ever really asked for contributions previously.

Senator Sederoff: I am concerned that a visible campaign like this would stimulate our legislature to give us less money.

Past Chair Zonderman stated that the Chancellor is able to thwart this idea by speaking with members of the legislature to explain that the funds from the Legislature are needed to keep the doors open and do the everyday things, plus the vast majority of these funds are restricted.

8. Old and New Business

Chair Moore provided a status of committee discussions on issues that were discussed in the announcements section of the agenda.  She referred to those once again.

9. Issues of  Concern

Chair Moore brought one issue of concern to the Senate:

  • An issue has been received regarding the possibility of opening up Dan Allen Drive. The person who sent the concern suggested that the Dan Allen gate be closed 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. instead of 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. in order to relieve the traffic congestion on Hillsborough Street during construction. An alternative option would be to move the gate so that people in the Dan Allen lot could use Sullivan Drive to exit the campus.

Comments:

This is a particular problem for Biological Sciences – they cannot get anywhere during the day in a timely fashion, which includes classes between campuses. One suggestion was to get temporary passes so access to the gate was available. One faculty member stated that he teaches on both the main campus and the Centennial Campus and that it is currently a 45 minute drive from one place to the other, given the construction delays.  The effect of this delay is impacting quite a few faculty members and students.

The Provost stated that the gate closure was a result of a transportation study to alleviate congestion cutting through campus and delaying the Wolfline as well.

The Provost agreed that this situation does sound like an impediment and he will be happy to talk with Dave Rainer to get it on the radar.

It was decided that the Executive Committee would take up this discussion at their meeting later in the week, September 8th.

Faculty issues of concern can be submitted at any time to a senator or to Faculty-Senate@ncsu.edu. 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.

10. Adjourn

Chair Moore adjourned the 2nd meeting of the 63rd Faculty Senate session at 4:37 p.m.

       
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