Senate Minutes

Nov. 11, 2014

EB 162

President Lugo presiding


Meeting called to order:  2:07

Quorum confirmed – (including 3 votes for “Who is this wise guy?”)

Approval of the minutes with no objections for Oct. 7 and Oct 28


I.                    Individual Reports

A.      Chancellor Sederburg –

a.       The Chancellor search is proceeding nicely.  Chancellor Sederburg has been contacted directly by three or four very good candidates. 

b.      Decisions are being considered now regarding tuition and fees.  We should expect UNCW to forward a request for about a 4% increase in tuition and a 4.5% increase in fees.  This is a conservative amount with respect to our needs, but we don’t want to price ourselves out of the market.

c.       Chancellor Sederburg is focused on maintaining momentum at UNCW, and will emphasize human capital in terms of excellence and equity.  He would like to bring SPA employees up to 85%, and to recognize excellent faculty.

d.      There is also a priority to strengthen the academic core. There will probably be 10 positions added to certain departments.  We also need to build up and provide for maintenance of our wifi systems.

e.      Regarding athletics, we don’t want to go backwards.  There will likely be a combination of some cuts as well as focus on new revenue and fund raising.

f.        Our budget processes on campus are fragmented, so a new task force has been formed to look at integration of planning and budget.

g.       Another new task force will focus on regional engagement, to find a way to help the next Chancellor understand how we do applied learning and regional engagement in the context of our selectivity.

h.      We have a new Trustee – Ken Cameron, from Charlotte.  He is interested in learning more about our campus.

i.         Issues of current interest for the BOG include focus on centers and institutes, and state appropriations to these units.  Our three centers are all on very solid ground.  There will be interesting political issues if funding for these institutes is opposed.

j.        GA emails daily with requests for information of various sorts.  Most recently we’ve had to provide information on money spent at Trask for basketball.

k.       Chancellor Sederburg acknowledged faculty interest in shared governance on campus.  He will be happy to meet with faculty or Senate Steering on this matter.

B.      President Lugo –

a.       President Lugo continues to voice the views of the Senate with respect to organization of the search process.  Compromises will be necessary but he is pushing especially for review of the three finalists to be open.  Other UNC campuses are making the same arguments, so this fight will continue at a higher level, and must involve President Ross.  One argument that’s been made against involving more people in the search is that information is more likely to be leaked.  This reportedly happened in a search at Winston-Salem, with a candidate withdrawing as a result.  In President Lugo’s opinion, if the candidate had been interested in the position, s/he would likely have remained in the pool.

b.      Elections for a new Senate President will be held at our December meeting. President Lugo would like this to be an election with a choice. 

c.       Provost Battles provided a written response (circulated with the meeting agenda) to the Senate Resolution of Oct. 7 (Motion MO 4) on the critical importance of shared governance, as requested in the resolution.  The written response basically says that she already responded verbally (see Senate minutes from 10/ 7).

d.      The PTR Committee report is in, and has been posted.  There will be no action on that report today.  Senators should read the report carefully.  There is an aggressive timeline for moving forward, with responses needed by Dec. 1. The Senate will consider the report at our next meeting. Compliance is needed with BOG policy 400.3.3.1.

e.      There is a new NC Senate policy on prior learning assessment for military.  This is a done deal, so we must respond.  The Faculty Assembly is working on the issue. There are possible threats to our University Studies requirements.

f.        There is also a GA committee focused on competencies assessment, probably in the form of a common test/assessment to be completed by all students.  There is no evidence that such an assessment is workable, and we will have to continue to emphasize that our continuous assessments in the classroom are the ones that matter.  Jennifer Horan is representing UNCW on this committee.

g.       GA is also focusing on minimum admissions requirements. There is pilot program on HMI campuses with a sliding scale on admission with lower SAT offset by higher GPA’s scores.  This will not be much of an issue for UNCW.  We continue to attract the students we need to attract.

h.      An important BOT meeting will take place on Nov. 20-21. President Lugo would like to have at least 30 faculty there.  He will address the value of UNCW, why it is important to us to have a good chancellor, and what it takes for a faculty member to be tenured.  He would like to be able to point to wonderful faculty in the room.

i.         Regarding athletics, things will probably become more restrictive in terms of what we can do.

j.        Prior to our discussion of the Academic Freedom document, President Lugo will explain some changes.



II.                  Committee Reports

A.      The USAC offers Motion MO 1.

a.       President Lugo offered his concern about the rapid growth of courses that are now being included in University Studies.  The Committee currently has about 200 additional course proposals. We risk seeming to have insufficient focus in our curriculum.  The proposal is on the floor.

b.      Senator McCaffrey brought a motion (forwarded ahead of time, as required), as follows:

·         that the Senate postpone action on CLA 211 and ask the USAC to clarify and communicate to the Senate its understanding of how one university studies course can satisfy all the student learning outcomes for two different methodology-based perspectives or approaches simultaneously.  (The two diversity categories of Approaches & Perspectives are excluded from this question.)  An additional statement was read in support of the motion. 

c.       The motion to postpone, etc. was seconded. 

d.      Dr. McCaffrey read a statement in support of the motion.

e.      It was clarified that the intent was to consider the original motion as soon as possible, hopefully at our next meeting, but that the USAC should communicate to the Senate about the logic of the motion.

f.        It was further clarified that the motion is not just about a particular course (CLA 211), but rather about the broader issue of whether a single course can address multiple SLOs sufficiently.

g.       The question was called.  A vote “Yes” would mean that the original motion is postponed.  The vote was 48 in favor, 4 against. 

h.      The question on the remainder of MO 1 was then called.  A vote “Yes” would indicate that all courses other than CLA 211 would be added to the catalogue for University Studies.  The vote was 48 in favor, and 2 against.

B.      The USAC also offers MO 2 calling for a review of University Studies courses in 2015/16.

a.       Dean Posey explained that this motion is in response to a GA requirement that institutions show that they review general education courses regularly, to ensure that they continue to address the intent.  We need to have a policy in place by Jan.

b.      President Lugo expressed a general objection, because we do a careful job with our US review, and SACS has confirmed this.

c.        In response to a question about the need for this step in addition to regular SACS review, Dean Posey commented that SACS doesn’t require a review of individual courses, but rather an overall assessment of the general education program, in terms of our seven learning objectives (and not in terms of our specific categories of US).

d.      President Lugo clarified that this review is separate from the issue of state-level competencies, which will involve an instrument used for assessment purposes.

e.      Concern was expressed about a possible cynical approach to the task of providing a syllabus that includes “what’s needed.”  There was also a question of whether this collection of syllabi isn’t already being done.  Posey clarified that the rationale for requesting a syllabus was to make the re-review process as similar as possible to the original consideration of materials (where a syllabus is required), and that we do not currently have a policy specifying that this regular review takes place.

f.        Further clarifications from Senators included the points that the original University Studies proposal specified the need for periodic review, that having a policy is a GA mandate, and that the review will be done by us (rather than by GA).  A vote “No” on the motion would mean we would need to craft a different mechanism for compliance with the mandate.  The USAC has put a lot of time into considering this motion already.

g.       The question was called.  A vote “Yes” would indicate support for the proposed review process.  The vote was 48 in favor, 5 against.  Lugo described the vote as an expression of thanks to the USAC.


C.      The Steering Committee offers MO 3, to approve the revised policies on Academic Freedom.

a.       President Lugo reviewed revisions, including the addition of a flow chart to indicate the “decider” at each step of consideration in the RPT process, and associated text.  The intent was to clarify a “two strikes” policy for reappointment, tenure, and promotion.

b.      Discussion of the flow chart included the following questions and clarifications:

1.       Regarding whether the faculty/department have a vote, currently, the senior department members are advisory to the Chair and have no separate authority on their own.  The Chair is the responsible administrator in passing on the decision.

2.       Regarding whether the faculty vote can serve as “one strike,” a change to the policies would be required.

3.       Dean Berkeley clarified that in current practice, a “split decision” (i.e., a difference between the majority vote of the senior members and the Chair) goes forward to the Dean.  The senior members have the option of adding a letter to the dossier.

4.       President Lugo pointed out that our current language does not include a description of this, and that a clear resolution from the Senate would be needed.

5.       Provost Battles commented that final steps in the RPT process are not included in the flow chart.  The Chancellor has the option to say yes or no; if no, the BOT can say no as well.  Those options are not included.

6.       Vice President Reeves indicated that the flow chart could be amended to reflect those steps.  A motion to that end was seconded.

7.       Regarding whether a degree of freedom was lost (in relation to a no vote by the BOT), Lugo clarified that the BOT can always say no.  Chancellor Sederburg added that the BOT is the final conferring body, but not typically the “decider.”

8.       One option for the flow chart would take it only as far as the Chancellor, going forward or not after the Chancellor’s determination, with the understanding that the BOT is the final confirmation in RPT.  In counterpoint, it was argued that a junior faculty member should understand that the BOT has the final authority.

9.       Regarding whether the flow chart confirms the language from AA about the “decider/recommender” distinction, the intent of the chart (i.e., to reflect a parallel “two strikes” process for reappointment, tenure, and promotion) was emphasized.

10.   In response to Provost Battle’s mention that the original language makes the Provost’s recommendation of nonreappointment final (i.e., one strike), Lugo clarified that the change in the flow chart and in the wording of section vii was intentional.  The intent is that there be “two strikes” for everyone.

11.   The question was called to amend the flow chart to reflect the final steps (i.e., involving the Chancellor and BOT) in the process for all RPT considerations.  The vote was 51 in favor, 0 against.


C.      Returning to the entire Academic Freedom and Tenure document, a question was raised about Section D on Continuing Evaluation of Faculty.  Section D specifies that a full evaluation for RPT will be completed every four years, which is not current practice.

D.      Discussion of Section D included the following points:

1.       Section D is not in reference to post-tenure review.

2.       Section D was not changed during the review of the RPT document.

3.       Section D may have been a hold-over policy from prior to PTR.  At that time, everyone had to be considered for promotion at least every four years, so that possible advancement would not be ignored.  Our current PTR does not require a review for promotion.

4.       Section D may also be a hold-over from when tenure for assistant professors was an option.  This was a safety valve for tenured assistants, as well as tenured associates. It served a different function from PTR, but may be unnecessary now.

5.       A motion to strike Section D was seconded.

6.       In support, it was argued that annual evaluations, with comments on progress toward promotion, make Section D superfluous.  We might consider adding a statement that continuing evaluations are done via annual evaluations and PTR.

7.       As a friendly amendment to the motion, a recommendation to have Steering review Section D more carefully, with an eye toward reflecting the language discussed, was accepted and seconded.

8.       The question was called on the amended motion – to trust Steering to revise the Section in keeping with the spirit of the discussion.  The vote was 48 in favor, 1 against.

9.       Senator Kaminish was commended for finding the issue.  Here, here.


E.       The entire Academic Freedom and Tenure document is again on the floor.  When the document goes before the BOT, President Lugo will be present as a faculty advocate.

F.       Senator Meinhold offered a motion for an additional revision – that a split decision between the majority of senior faculty members and the department chair go forward for further consideration, as with a “Yes.”  The motion was seconded.

G.     Discussion of the motion included the following points:

1.       This motion would change the Chair’s authority, and the Faculty Senate does have the authority to make this change in RPT. 

2.       The intent is that the Chair, alone, cannot give a “strike.”

3.       The Chair already has to record the vote of the senior members in her/his recommendation, and the senior members have the opportunity to add a letter for consideration as the dossier goes forward.  If there is a split decision, it’s not a “No” and not a “Yes.” Two additional “No’s” would be required.

4.       We should check for discrepancies between the language of this document and the Faculty Handbook, but this document has authority.

5.       Concerns were expressed by one or two Chairs.

6.       It was emphasized that if the majority of senior members say “Yes,” the dossier at least gets to RPT, where faculty review the decision.  Currently, if the Chair and Dean say “No,” the RPT Committee never sees the dossier.  We want the faculty to review it one more time.

7.       In regard to whether this change would impact the Chair’s responsibility in writing her/his own recommendation, it was emphasized that the Chair’s opinion is still needed.  The senior members can then write a letter too, and both letters go forward with the dossier.  Both sides should make their case.  In a decision that is contentious, this helps to balance the Chair’s power with the faculty’s, and the faculty can review again.

8.       It was noted that such cases often involve a split among senior members too, despite a majority vote, and that there is a distinction between moving forward “as if it were a yes” and an actual “yes” decision.  A split decision can still move forward, but it’s not a “yes.”  It was also clarified that the senior members are not required to include a letter.

9.       The question was called on the motion to send forward a split decision “as if it were a yes.”  The vote was 42 in favor, 6 against.


H.      The entire Academic Freedom and Tenure document is again on the floor.  The question is called with amendments as indicated.  As a change to our governing document, passing the motion would require 44 votes (2/3’s of the Senate body).  The vote was 48 in favor, 1 against. 



Motion to adjourn:  3:54