University of North Carolina at Asheville


Minutes, April 7, 2005



Members:          L. Atkinson, B.  Butler, R. Booker, L. Cornett, J. Konz, B. Larson, D. Lisnerski, G. Nallan,

S. Mills, P. Nickless, D. Pierce, B. Reynolds, I. Rossell, M. Ruiz; M. Padilla.


Excused:          S. Walters.


Visitors:            D. Clarke, T. Glenn, A. Gravely, A. Hantz, E. Katz, L. Mathews, P. McClellan, C. McKenzie,

T. Rizzo, A. Shope, B. Spellman, K. Whatley, P. Williams, B. Wilson.  



I.          Call to Order and Announcements

Dr. Pamela Nickless called the meeting to order at 3:18 pm and welcomed Senators and guests.  There were no announcements. 


II.         Approval of minutes

            The minutes of March 3, 2005, were approved with two editorial corrections.


III.        Administrative Report

            Dr. Mark Padilla gave the Administrative Report.

            Update on Budget

            As reported in the Chapel Hill Herald and the Raleigh News and Observer, the Board of Governors (BOG) took $97,570 from UNCA’s tuition receipts as a penalty for exceeding the 18% enrollment cap on out-of-state incoming freshman in the fall semester.  Chancellor Mullen has accepted responsibility for exceeding the cap.  There were no budgetary consequences because the money had not been budgeted.  It is hard to hit the enrollment target exactly.  UNCA will be more conservative for the fall to ensure that we stay within the enrollment target.  UNCA might well deserve to have a different cap, perhaps closer to 25%. 

            The BOG has not permitted any school to increase its in-state undergraduate tuition.  The BOG approved the $600 a year out-of-state tuition increase and the request to increase student fees.  

            As reported in the Asheville Citizen-Times, all of the UNC system campuses were asked to project how they would absorb budget cuts up to four percent in the 2005-06 fiscal year.  There is a $1 billion state deficit.  A four percent cut for UNCA is substantial.  To date, no budget cut has been imposed for next year.   

            The composite figures for the UNC system:

            1%   = $19.6M cut

            2%   = $39M    

            3%   = $58M    

            4%   = $79M     “ (a reduction of 908 positions).


Dr. Padilla noted that state funding of our overall budget is shrinking.  When he came to UNCA, the state funded 50% of our budget -- it is now less than 40%.  It is worse in other states.  We need to continue to find ways to survive in a culture that does not value state assistance in higher education as much as it used to. 

            Draft 2006-07 and 2007-08 Academic Calendars

            Dr. Whatley reported that Bulldog Day had been removed from the fall 2006 calendar.  This enables classes to start on a Monday, which was a concern for some faculty.  There have been discussions about having a partial day of service for freshmen and sophomores during the Undergraduate Research Symposium.

            Dr. Rossell expressed concern that Bulldog Day was not being held in the fall and asked what impact this would have on freshman class bonding, faculty/student bonding, and the community.  Dr. Whatley replied that in the new ILS program set up, freshman advisors will be placed with students in their classes – bonding would occur during orientation and the first week of class.   

            Dr. Rossell asked about the impact on the community.  Ms. Pat McClellan explained that having a Monday start date affects orientation and Bulldog Day.  We do not want to lose the idea of service in the community and options are being discussed – such as having an optional multi-day service opportunity similar to the optional wilderness experience. 

            Dr. Padilla stated that he wants to engage the community in a discussion of what the next generation of service learning would look like.  He has heard reports that some of the events on Bulldog Day have been a bit lackluster.  Other schools are moving toward a sustained campus commitment.  This is important, but we might use the fall semester/early spring to build toward making a significant community impact and experience bonding through orientation.  The idea is to move service learning forward and make it more important, not less important.   

            Dr. Rossell noted that if we are trying to strengthen service learning and take away Bulldog Day, students and others might get the impression that service learning is being de-emphasized.  Dr. Padilla agreed that is the danger.

            Dr. Larson moved that the Faculty Senate approve the draft of the 2006-07 and 2007-08 Academic Calendars.  Dr. Reynolds seconded the motion.  Dr. Nickless noted that while the Senate approves the calendars, ultimately the Chancellor sets the calendar.  Changes may occur, but she was sure the Senate would be informed of them in a timely fashion.  The motion passed unanimously.


IV.        Executive Committee Report

            Chancellor Search Committee Update
            Dr. Konz reported that the Chancellor Search Committee has a strong and diverse pool of candidates and is adhering to the timetable of having the new Chancellor named in May.  

            Update from Task Force on Student Rating of Instruction

            Dr. Leah Mathews reported that the Senate assembled the Task Force on Student Rating of Instruction two years ago in response to a concern that the student evaluation form, which has been in use for over 20 years, could benefit from revision.  The Task Force work has included a synthesis of feedback from faculty regarding the perceptions of the current form, a review of evaluation instruments used at other universities, and research on student evaluation of teaching.  They spent a substantial amount of time considering both the type of questions that are meaningful to ask students about our teaching, as well as how to ask them in a way that responses will be useful for us to improve our teaching.  They drafted an instrument that they believe is a significant improvement to the existing form and have asked for faculty feedback before pursuing a pilot test of the instrument. 

            A section has been added to assess the progress students have made on various learning objectives.  In addition to the closed-ended questions, the draft will also include a set of open-ended questions to elicit feedback that is directly useful for the improvement of our teaching. 

            Faculty participants are being asked to conduct the pilot test during the last week of class (April 25-May 2) and at the start of a class session.  Depending upon the results of the pilot test, the Task Force could return in the fall with a report and recommendations on whether this draft should be adopted by the university or whether it might be useful to think about further study. 

            The Senate discussed: (1) having the pilot test identify whether a course is in the major or not and (2) whether students would recognize course objectives.  Dr. Nickless thanked Dr. Mathews and members of the Task Force for their continued hard work.  She suggested that the Task Force present the pilot test results at a faculty forum in the fall.  Dr. Mathews agreed this would be a good way to introduce their ideas -- which the Senate will take up as recommendations.

Report from Task Force to Study Faculty Salary Distribution

            Bruce Larson reported that the Task Force has been working since January/February 2004.  The Final Report has two parts:  the Report proper and Attachments.    Dr. Nickless suggested that Dr. Larson give a short report and hold substantive questions until after Senators have carefully read the report.

            Dr. Larson noted that the 18 recommendations addressed equity adjustments, starting salary offers, compensation for Department Chairs/Program Directors, compensation for faculty members coming from or partially in administrative positions, and additional recommendations which they were not asked to make.  He outlined the recommendations, the references, and the statistical analyses that formed the core of the equity adjustments.  He corrected a citation on page 6.   

            Dr. Nickless noted that the Task Force was now dissolved, but may be asked to host a faculty forum in the fall. 

New Method of electing officers to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee

            Dr. Nickless reminded Senators that the recently revised Constitution changes how officers of the Faculty Senate are elected:  “Nominations shall be made from the floor of the Senate and can be made by any member of the faculty eligible to vote or serve on the Senate.”  She encouraged interested Senators to self-nominate and let others know of their interest to serve on the Executive Committee.

Meeting on Space Needs for Conferences

            Dr. Nickless reported on a meeting that addressed space needs for conferences.  As Senate Chair, she received two letters – one from Leah Karpen and one from Dot Sulock – who expressed their views on Owen Conference Center.  Both letters were very similar to what Ms. Sulock expressed at the March Senate meeting.  They will be placed in the Senate files.  The use of Owen Conference Center is still up in the air.   

V.         Student Government Association Report

            Mr. Tarik Glenn reported for the Student Government Association.

            Greenfest is underway with a dumpster dive and alternative fuel vehicles on the quad.

            SGA elections will be next Thursday and Friday for all of the officers with the exception of freshman senators.  Freshman senator elections will take place next fall.

            SGA has an exciting new webpage after three years of work. 


VI.        Faculty Welfare and Development Committee Report

            Dr. Don Lisnerski gave the Faculty Welfare and Development Committee Report.   

            First Reading:

            The following documents were distributed for First Reading:

            FWDC 4:  2005 Revision to the Post-Tenure Review Process

                           (Revision to SD1000F) (Faculty Handbook Section 3.7)

            FWDC 5: 2005 Revision to the Guidelines for Awarding of Reappointment, Tenure and

                           Promotion (Revision of SD1092S) (Faculty Handbook

            FWDC 6: Revision to the Faculty Handbook Election Procedures (Section 10.2.1)

            Update on Committee Assignments

            The University Service Committee report was postponed until the April 28th Senate meeting.


VII.       Academic Policies Committee Report

            Dr. Jeff Konz reported for the Academic Policies Committee.

            Report on Plus/Minus Grading

            Last fall, the Executive Committee asked APC to conduct an assessment of plus-minus grading since its introduction at UNCA in 2002-03.  APC has concluded that instituting plus-minus grading has had minimal impact on the grade distribution at UNCA (either in terms of the overall GPA, the mean GPA, or in terms of the distribution of grades around that mean).  The collective UNCA GPA is .02 points lower with plus/minus grading than it would have been with straight letter grading.  This difference was the same in both 2002-03 and 2003-04.  The literature review showed that, broadly speaking, there was little expected or actual impact of plus/minus grading on grade distributions.  In particular, APC found that there was no discernable impact on grade inflation.  The only students who would be expected to experience an impact would be those at the upper end of the grade distribution, because of the existence of A- grades without A+ grades. 

            APC also found that the concerns that faculty have at other institutions are similar to the concerns that faculty have here – about the impact on grade inflation (which appears to be minimal at most) and about equity, particularly uneven implementation of plus/minus grading in multiple-section courses.

            The most significant conclusion APC has is that in looking at grades given in courses with multiple sections, there are significant differences across courses but not as a consequence of some instructors using plus/minus grading and some not.  There appears to be no connection between grading policy and course GPA, and therefore no equity issue for students.  APC is concerned about the significant difference in grades across sections in these courses, but views this as a matter for Chair and Program Director discretion.  The report is available at: APC Report PLUS-MINUS GRADING: Impacts on Grading at UNCA

            APC consideration of Proposed Changes in Commencement

            Last January, while giving a report to the Senate, Vice Chancellor Massey requested that the Senate consider changes in commencement.  The impetus behind the request was that if students participate in commencement they are more likely to support the university financially and otherwise after they graduate.  APC was asked to consider three proposals intended to increase participation in commencement: 

            1)  Allow students who can be expected to graduate in August (because they have one or two courses to complete in the summer) to walk in May. 

            2)  Have a formal commencement ceremony in December for fall graduates, so that students who are finishing up in the fall semester have their own ceremony. 

            3)  Is it necessary for graduates to receive their diplomas at commencement?  Handing out diplomas lengthens the graduation ceremony.  (This is wrapped in the first question.  If it were decided that students do not receive their diploma at commencement, it has implications for when senior grades are due, as well as other issues). 

            APC began by considering the meaning of commencement and what it means to us as an institution, as faculty, and as students.  APC concluded that commencement is a meaningful ceremony for many people that represents an acknowledgement from the institution that degree requirements have been completed.  It also recognizes individual students for their accomplishments when they walk across the stage.  APC found those to be compelling reasons to consider commencement as significant.  It also believes that the reasons being given for considering changes in commencement are hypothetical and anecdotal and that, in the absence of compelling evidence to support making this change, it saw no reason to begin the conversation.  If APC were to be presented with evidence from the literature or from other sources to suggest that these benefits to the university arise from making changes like this, then we can initiate a full campus conversation on whether or not we wish to precede.  Dr. Konz met with Chancellor Mullen and he understood APC’s arguments.  Dr. Konz will send a copy of APC’s report to Mr. Massey.

            During discussion, Dr. Konz noted that the fall commencement is much more about resources than the consideration of whether summer graduates should walk in May.  There are institutional resources involved in putting on a full commencement that involve space, staff, and faculty time.  The expectation is that if we have a commencement in December, it would be parallel to the May commencement and would require an institutional and a faculty commitment.  APC did not get far in this conversation because there is inadequate space to host such an event until a convocation center is built. 

            Dr. Padilla stated that he thought that APC decided that #2 was an administrative issue and that #3 was an APC issue.  He asked if the issue of resource needs was not more of an IDC issue.  He reminded the Senate that Vice Chancellor Massey came to this body and stated that it was his expert opinion that commencement including students able to complete their degree in the summer would make it more meaningful.  He was disappointed that the question Mr. Massey asked the Senate to consider was never discussed – instead the facilities issue was addressed.

            Dr. Konz clarified that the three proposals were referred to APC in January.  APC recognized that #2 is a question of resources and nothing APC is saying is inconsistent with that.  If we chose administratively to have a December commencement, speaking as a Senator rather than a member of APC, we would be concerned because of the implications for faculty time.  Dr. Nickless added that in her opinion, the main part of the report is #1. 

            Proposed development of an internal template/style sheet  

            APC has considered the development of an internal template/style sheet for Catalog copy to assist in the preparation of documents so APC would not have to devote as much time to editorial and formatting issues.  APC hopes to have a style sheet ready to use next fall.

            Academic Program Reviews

            APC recognizes there are some inefficiencies in the way it processes proposals for curricular change.  It probably devotes far too many faculty resources to the consideration of documents that may be minor.  Dr. Konz will be in communication with APC, past Chairs of APC, and AVCs about how we might change the process.  Dr. Nickless noted that for the first time, the Faculty Senate will adopt Standing Rules for 2005-06 in the fall.  The Senate may want to adopt new procedures that APC endorses this year. 

            Second Reading:  (Unanimously Approved by APC)

            The following documents were considered for Second Reading:


            APC  25:  Changes to History Major Requirements; Remove Course Distribution Section;

                           Change Prerequisites for HIST 390.

            APC 25 passed unanimously and became Senate document 3605S.


                        APC 27:   Changes in MMAS Foundation Options.

                        APC 27 passed unanimously and became Senate document 3705S.


                        APC 28:  Changes in MMAS Aesthetics and Social Awareness Options.

                        APC 28 passed unanimously and became Senate document 3805S.


            APC 30: Delete MCOM 321, 362, 386, 486; Add MCOM 104; Replace VMP 205 with

VMP 207 and 209.

                        APC 30 passed unanimously and became Senate document 3905S.


                        APC 31:   Change Requirements for Major in MCOM; Change Requirements for

                                       Declaring a Major in MCOM; Change Requirements for Minor in MCOM.

                        APC 31 passed unanimously and became Senate document 4005S.


                        APC 32:  Addition of International Studies Major; Changes to International Studies Minor;

                                       Addition of New INTS Classes.

                        APC 32 passed unanimously and became Senate document 4105S.


                        APC 33:   Addition of Research Methods Courses to Biology Curriculum;

                                       Change Title and Description of BIOL 351.

                        APC 33 passed unanimously and became Senate document 4205S.


                        APC 34:   Addition of Computer Competency Requirements for Biology;

                                       Changes in Descriptions of BIOL 444 and 455.

                        APC 34 passed unanimously and became Senate document 4305S.


                        APC 35:   Changing title of MGMT 360; changing MGMT 413 to MGMT 323;

                                       Changing title and description of MGMT 394; adding MGMT 481;

                                       Changing description of ACCT 301, ACCT 302.

            APC 35 passed unanimously and became Senate document 4405S.


            APC 36:   Delete MGMT 358: Services Marketing.

            APC 36 passed unanimously and became Senate document 4505S.


            APC 37:   Prerequisite changes for ACCT 317, 417; MGMT 316, 380, 381, 398, 425, 458, 480, 491.

            APC 37 passed unanimously and became Senate document 4605S.


            APC 38:   Changes in major requirements for Management and Accounting.

            APC 38 passed unanimously and became Senate document 4705S.


            APC 39:   Change in Minor in Accounting.

            APC 39 passed unanimously and became Senate document 4805S.


            APC 40:   Addition of IST 331:Washington Experience (3); Modification of hours in

                           IST Special Topics.

            APC 40 passed unanimously and became Senate document 4905S.


            APC 41:   Clarification of Art History requirements for Art majors.

            APC 41 passed unanimously and became Senate document 5005S.


            APC 42:   Changes in requirements for Art minors.

                        APC 42 passed unanimously and became Senate document 5105S.


                        APC 43:   Changes in degree competency requirements for Art majors.

                        APC 43 passed unanimously and became Senate document 5205S.


                        APC 44:   Changing description of ART 400.

                        APC 44 passed unanimously and became Senate document 5305S.


                        APC 45:   Clarify Studio Art Requirements for B.A. with Concentration in Art History.

                        APC 45 passed unanimously and became Senate document 5405S.


                        APC 46:   Changes in AP Credit for Art Courses. 

                        APC 46 passed unanimously and became Senate document 5505S.


                        APC 48:   Proposal to Terminate Joint Program with the NCSU School of Forest Resources.

                        APC 48 passed unanimously and became Senate document 5605S.


                        APC 49:   Computer Competency for students pursuing Individual Degrees; Computer Competency

                                       for students concentrating in Ethics and Social Institutions.

            APC 49 passed unanimously and became Senate document 5705S.


            APC 29 and APC 47 were set aside for discussion.

                        APC 29:  Increase Credit Hours for Courses in Mass Communication and Visual Media Production.

            Dr. Nickless questioned the impact statement on resources.  Dr. Hantz explained that the department is growing and the curriculum change is not intended to preclude requests for additional faculty based on growth.  APC 29 passed unanimously and became Senate document 5805S.

                        APC 47:   Changes in Drop/Add Policy; Changes in Academic Suspension and Dismissal Policy.

            In a friendly amendment, the phrase “under exceptional circumstances” was added to the second paragraph of the Drop/Add Policy.  An editorial correction was also made.  APC 47 passed unanimously as amended and became Senate document 5905S.

            First Reading:

            The following document was distributed for First Reading:


            APC 50:  Proposal to Eliminate Joint Program with Western Carolina University in Nursing.

            Dr. Konz noted that Senators received this document prior to the meeting; he moved to waive the

Comer Rule to consider the document.  Dr. Pierce seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. 

            Dr. Clarke and Dr. Whatley noted that no students were currently enrolled in the program.  Interested students may take courses at UNCA and transfer to Western Carolina University; WCU advisors will tell students what courses they need to take.  APC 50 passed unanimously and became Senate document 6005S.  (Dr. Whatley is looking into another inactive joint program.)


VIII.      Institutional Development Committee Report

            Dr. Irene Rossell reported for the Institutional Development Committee (IDC).

            Update on Task Force on Enrollment Growth and University Size

            The Task Force is completing its discussions on enrollment growth.  Its report will be posted on the web tomorrow and Dr. Rossell will email the link to faculty, staff, and students with a request for comments.  The final forum to discuss recommendations will be on April 14th from 3:15-4:30 pm in Laurel Forum.  The Task Force will present its recommendations to the Faculty Senate on April 28th.

            Second Reading:

            The following document was considered for Second Reading:


            IDC 8:  Intent to Plan a B.A. in Religious Studies.

            Dr. Spellman explained that IDC 8 was a distillation of a Task Force report that recommended the creation of a complete Religious Studies department with four or five full-time faculty.  Task Force representatives met with the Provost and it was acknowledged that in terms of practicality it was unlikely that the Office of the President would provide any start-up funds for the program.  There would be incremental growth; we offer courses now in the minor with faculty from across campus.  One possibility is to set aside through the Position Allocation Committee one position for an individual to be hired in a traditional department with the clear mandate that a Religious Studies department would be created over the next three or four years and one or two more faculty would be added.  At that juncture, that individual would leave the host/traditional department and become the Chair in a functioning department of two or three faculty members.  The question is a serious one – if there is no additional outside funding from the state, where do we look for those additional dollars for positions and space?  Dr. Pierce noted that this could be similar to the Health and Wellness major which was approved in 1998 and is just now becoming a major. 

            Dr. Rossell suggested that the Senate address these issues next year in the Intent to Establish proposal.  The Task Force on Enrollment Growth is releasing its recommendations and that is also something we need to think about.  For example, if UNCA is to grow, perhaps we need more majors such as Religious Studies to absorb some of the growth.  There are a lot of curricular planning issues that will come into play in making that kind of decision.

            Dr. Nickless questioned the demand for religious studies among our students.  Many people are very interested in religion and not at all interested in studying religion.  That does not mean that we should not have the program.  But if that is going to be an argument, we need more documentation in the Intent to Establish proposal.  IDC 8 passed unanimously and became Senate document 6105S.


IX.        Old Business

            There was no Old Business.


X.         New Business

            There was no New Business.


XI.        Adjourn

            Dr. Nickless adjourned the meeting at 5:10pm.


Respectfully submitted by:          Sandra Gravely

Don Lisnerski