University of North Carolina at Asheville


Minutes, April 27, 20063:15 pm



Members:     L. Atkinson, G. Boudreaux, B. Butler, K. Cole, L. Cornett, B. Hook, P. Downes,

H. Holt, B. Larson, D. Lisnerski, C. McKenzie, S. Mills, G. Nallan, P. Nickless,

M. Ruiz, S. Walters, J. Wood; M. Padilla.


Excused:     S. Judson.


Visitors:      H. Johnson, C. Mitchell, J. Noor, A. Shope, D. Smith, B. Spellman, B. Wilson.



I.        Call to Order

     Pamela Nickless called the meeting to order at 3:20 pm and welcomed Senators and guests. 

     The order of business was modified.


III.      Student Government Association Report

          SGA President John Noor thanked the Senate for keeping the two student representatives on the Minority Affairs Commission.  He will see that they attend the meetings. 

          Highlights of meeting with President Bowles

          Although there are huge start-up costs, President Bowles supports a rental book policy as it will be cheaper for students.  The Senate discussed why some faculty may not embrace a rental book policy:  it is anti-intellectual (a college textbook should be read, underlined, written in, and kept as students build a foundation); there is an ethical issue (books that are bought and sold second-hand and any rental policy would compromise all the royalties that authors of books are paid); translations and definitive additions change;  students will not receive any supplemental materials that come with many books; faculty have little flexibility in dropping a book that students dislike.  Dr. Padilla announced that a task group chaired by AVC Whatley with several faculty will work on this issue.

          President Bowles was very open to an alternative funding mechanism for UNCA and some of our small population schools.  UNCA is underfunded at $2,000 per student.  Included in the General Assembly bill is an extra $1.5 million for UNCA in recurring dollars, but President Bowles said it will likely not stay recurring.  UNCA would receive more funding for graduate students as opposed to undergraduates but that is not necessarily why a college would want to add a graduate program.  President Bowles did not seem to want to push for graduate programs.

          The Governor wants to offer early-college at universities and community colleges.  UNC-G, NC A&T, and UNC-W will start an early-college next year.  Many issues are associated with early-college, such as safety for 15-17 year olds on a college campus and holding core classes that will eliminate slots for undergraduates.  Dr. Padilla noted that there are no plans to initiate an early- or middle-college at UNCA. 

          There is a need to plan tuition in four-year increments so people can plan financially for college.    

          Alternate Faculty Conciliator

          The SGA selected Peter Caulfield as 2006-07 Alternate Faculty Conciliator.


II.      Administrative Report

     Mark Padilla gave the Administrative Report.

     Merit System

          At Dr. Nickless’ request, Dr. Padilla summarized the merit system.  There are usually two components to an increase for faculty members each year when funds are available – COLA (cost of living adjustment) and Merit (performance).  Many schools give the majority as COLA and a portion is allotted for merit.  He has an obligation to maintain a merit system where faculty receive both the symbolic and the financial reward for accomplishments as reviewed by the Chair, the AVC, and the Provost.  Three people now read every record.  The problem is merit creep – more and more faculty receiving high merit with increasingly smaller financial reward.  Last fall the Chairs/Program Directors reviewed how we allocate merit and agreed to a 60/40 split (60% of each department could be recommended to an AVC as high merit and 40% as merit).  They also retained the authority to make the recommendations.  This model is difficult for smaller departments and not every department met the 60/40 split.  The AVCs and Chairs discussed those instances and tried to reconcile them to adhere to the split.  Problems will be addressed next year.

          The following points were made during discussion:

  • 60% of a department can be recommended for high merit including the Chair but the Chair does not self-recommend.  This is a serious conflict of interest for small departments and is institutional unfairness.  Perhaps AVCs should recommend 60% of Chairs for high merit to resolve this issue.
  • High merit is a prestigious award yet the majority of faculty receive it and there is little difference between merit and high merit.  Is it worth going through this if the monetary difference is small? 
  • Inconsistent standards were applied between program areas yet there are disciplinary differences.  We should articulate what each category means by objectifying meaningful criteria.
  • We need to retain a unified campus and unified goals in teaching, scholarship, and service. 
  • Put this on the agenda in the fall to get wider discussion with faculty about their criteria. 
  • Discuss formative evaluation for faculty to clarify the goals in the three areas.  What are we looking for in an excellent teacher?  What are we looking for in service and scholarship?
  • The Provost awards exceptional merit to faculty whose substantial contributions impacted the university as a whole.      
  • What do we mean by contributing largely to the university?  Is it making one’s department stronger or is it contributing to ILS and to the masters program and other callings to strengthen the university?  This discussion will be very helpful to Chairs, the Provost, and the Deans. 
  • A Merit Task Force could recommend criteria for use in the process. 

     Chief Academic Officers Meeting

            Highlights of the meeting follow:

  • Rob Nelson has been appointed Vice President for Finance. 
  • The closed search for the Vice President for Academic Affairs should be settled by mid-May. 
  • The meeting focused on retention, the mission of the university system, and how the missions of the individual campuses relate to that mission. 
  • Tax receipts are higher than anticipated.


IV.      Executive Committee Report

          Pamela Nickless reported for the Executive Committee.

         Faculty Handbook Editorial Consultant

          At the Executive Committee’s request, Dr. Nickless will serve as editorial consultant on revising the Faculty Handbook next year.  She will work closely with Ms. Gravely, the Provost, and Dr. Friedenberg. 

          Evaluating Administrative Offices

          The Chancellor asked the Executive Committee’s advice on putting into place a regular review-evaluation of administrative offices.  She is hoping to start evaluating administrative offices by group – not the entire campus – next year.  The Chancellor’s interest in this matter contradicts what Dr. Padilla reported at the last meeting but the misunderstanding arose due to semantics.  In the past we have evaluated administrative offices.  What the Chancellor views as her prerogative is evaluating the personnel in those offices.  Areas under new leadership or which are being rearranged, such as Academic and Student Affairs, will not be evaluated immediately. 


V.      Faculty Welfare and Development Committee Report

          Don Lisnerski reported for the Faculty Welfare and Development Committee. 

     Second Reading

     The following documents were considered for Second Reading:


     FWDC 12:    Proposal to Eliminate the Academic Support Services Committee

                        (Faculty Handbook 10.4.3)

FWDC 12 passed without dissent and became Senate Document 4706S.


FWDC 13:    Proposal to Establish the Campus Commission on the Allocation of Student Services                                  Funds as a Standing Committee (Faculty Handbook 10.4.2)

FWDC 13 passed without dissent and became Senate Document 4806S.


FWDC 14:    Proposal to Establish the Teaching Awards Committee as a Standing Committee

                   (Revision of SD0194F) (Faculty Handbook 10.4.29)

FWDC 14 passed without dissent and became Senate Document 4906S.


VI.      Academic Policies Committee Report

          Gary Nallan reported for the Academic Policies Committee.

          Second Reading

     The following documents were considered for Second Reading:

     APC 34:  Modify course descriptions for DRAM 124, 325 and 440; Modify title and course description

     for DRAM 317.

          APC 34 passed without dissent and became Senate Document 5006S.


     APC 35:  Delete DRAM 355; Add DRAM 106, Theatre Production. 

APC 35 passed without dissent and became Senate Document 5106S.


APC 36:  Changing the Core Requirements for Drama Majors.

APC 36 passed without dissent and became Senate Document 5206S.


APC 37:  Changing Requirements for the Declaration of Drama Major.

APC 37 passed without dissent and became Senate Document 5306S.


APC 38:  Changing Requirements for the Drama Minor.

APC 38 passed without dissent and became Senate Document 5406S.


APC 39:  Elimination of Health Care Management Concentration.

APC 39 passed without dissent and became Senate Document 5506S.


APC 33:  Policy on Disruptive Behavior in the Classroom was considered for discussion.

 (Faculty Handbook 5.2.11 and 8.3.5)

    The Senate discussed due process and ensuring that when a student is withdrawn there is a mechanism for appeal or to file a grievance.  Dr. Wood suggested that the process should be articulated in the policy.  Cathy Mitchell chaired a Task Force which developed this policy.  She explained two ways to appeal activities that occur within the classroom: 1) via the faculty conciliator if students are disputing a grade, and 2) via the Academic Appeals Board if there is a bigger dispute with a faculty member.  The task force struggled with the issue of due process versus continued disruption of the classroom.  The department Chair and the faculty member will be involved.  That way, if there is a faculty member who has a tendency to get upset, the department Chair could balance that.  The department Chair should also have an idea of what is happening in other classes.  The Task Force wrote process documents (based on UNC-G’s) that will be approved administratively rather than through the Senate.  Dr. Wood wanted to make sure that students would know where to go next.  Dr. Mitchell stated that the process would not be in the Catalog but that students would receive a letter from the Registrar’s Office saying they have been administratively dropped and explaining their options.  APC 33 passed without dissent and became Senate Document 5606S.


APC Approved as Minor Proposals:

     APC 43:  Changes in the Drama courses Required for Language Arts Middle School Licensure                and English with Teacher Licensure.

     APC 43 passed and became Senate Document 5706S.


APC 44:  Modification of Required Courses Outside the Major for all Environmental Studies

              Concentrations; Modification to ENVR Concentration Requirements.

APC 44 passed and became Senate Document 5806S.


APC 45:  Modification of Required Courses Outside the Major in IEM Major.

APC 45 passed and became Senate Document 5906S.


APC 46:  Adjusting Degree Requirements in Biology in Response to Changes in Chemistry.

APC 46 passed and became Senate Document 6006S.


APC 47:  Modification of Required courses outside the Math major in response to changes in                       the in the Chemistry curriculum.

APC 47 passed and became Senate Document 6106S.


VII.    Institutional Development Committee Report

         Bruce Larson reported for the Institutional Development Committee. 

         Dr. Larson thanked the members of IDC for their work this year:  Brian Butler, John Wood, Herman Holt, Peg Downes, and Scott Walters who is leaving the Senate.  

         Report on Activities

         Dr. Larson distributed IDC’s Thoughts on Additional Masters Programs and explained that the preliminary criteria are the same as distributed on April 13th but the preamble is a little different.  A faculty forum will be held next Thursday at 10:00 am in 223/224 Highsmith; IDC will make a final presentation of its thoughts and it will be an opportunity to answer questions and share additional thoughts.  IDC is starting to talk with our peer colleges/universities who have or do not have masters/graduate programs.


     Dr. Lisnerski asked for an update on equity adjustments.  Dr. Padilla reported that the two reports have been implemented and the task force has completed its charge.  The equity reports established that our salary structure is equitable.  The equity issue this fall, as we raise beginning salaries, is to ensure we are not practicing salary inversion.  He predicted that the compression will get greater.  Dr. Nickless suggested that the Senate continue to put merit and equity on the agenda for review.


VIII.   Old Business

          Dr. Nickless thanked all the Senators for being so helpful the last two years.  Dr. Nallan thanked Dr. Nickless for serving as Senate Chair the last two years.  A round of applause followed. 


IX.     New Business

         There was no New Business.


X.      Adjourn/Reconvene

         Dr. Nickless adjourned the meeting at 4:18pm.  She reconvened the meeting at 4:19pm to receive the final report from the Task Force on Student Rating of Instruction (SRI). 

         Task Force on Student Rating of Instruction (SRI) Final Report

         Dr. Mathews reported that three years ago the Senate assembled the task force from faculty volunteers as a result of concerns raised by the faculty about our student rating of instruction instrument and protocol.  The work began in earnest during fall 2003 following a collection of faculty feedback about SRI.  [The entire report is available at:  Final Report of the Task Force on SRI.] 

The executive summary follows:


·         The UNCA Faculty Handbook indicates that student rating of instruction (SRI) is used to both help faculty improve their teaching and to make personnel decisions. 


·         Change is needed in how we do SRI.  Faculty are interested in seeing improvements in both the SRI instrument and the overall system of teaching evaluation.


·         We designed and tested a revised SRI form which appears to offer improvements over our current form.  Additional work is needed to refine the SRI form; this work should be linked with a campus-wide discussion on learning objectives and other campus conversations related to our Mission and Guiding Concepts.


·         In addition to changing the SRI form, we recommend additional changes be made.  These include a standardization of procedures for conducting SRI as well as a clarification on how the SRI are used in collaboration with other measures of teaching performance in order to make personnel evaluations. 


·         A continued investigation into SRI and the general process of how we evaluate teaching at UNCA is necessary, and should be led by the Faculty Senate in collaboration with the Center for Teaching and Learning.


     Several Senators thanked Dr. Mathews and members of the Task Force for the progress they made and their hard work.  The work needs to continue and it will be placed on the agenda next year.  We need to have a campus-wide discussion on merit and how we evaluate faculty, including how we use the SRI form.  APC and FWDC will work to move this forward with Academic Affairs and the Center for Teaching and Learning.

     Dr. Nickless adjourned the meeting at 4:43 pm and announced that the organizational meeting of the 2006-07 Faculty Senate would convene immediately.


Respectfully submitted by:    Sandra Gravely

                                           Don Lisnerski