University of North Carolina at Asheville


Minutes, October 20, 2005 – 3:15pm



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

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

P. Nickless, M. Ruiz, J. Wood; M. Padilla.


Excused:          S. Walters.


Visitors:            H. Dezendorf, D. Forbes, A. Gravely, M. Honeycutt, J. Kuhlman, E. Little, L. Preston,

D. Sanchez-Ossorio, C. Schaller, D. Race, A. Shope.




I.          Call to Order

Pamela Nickless called the meeting to order at 3:18pm and welcomed Senators and guests.


II.         Approval of minutes

The minutes of September 15, 2005, were approved with editorial corrections.


III.        Administrative Report 

            Provost Mark Padilla gave the Administrative Report.


            Faculty salary letters will go out this month rather than in November as reported earlier. 

The administration is working on operating budgets with the goal to shift more funding for travel into the department budgets and out of the AVC budgets.  The goal is to have a travel allowance of $600 per faculty member so that the Chairs/Program Directors can best allocate these faculty development dollars. 

At the last Chair’s meeting Dr. Padilla approached the Chairs/Program Directors about a new model for conducting merit reviews.  He is concerned about the imbalance between the number of merits and high merits and wants to create a better distribution to properly recognize the achievement of high merit.  Academic Affairs is not interested in taking over the merit review process but he did propose a model where that would be a possibility.  He is looking for other models -- whether from the Chairs or from the Senate -- where we could achieve the goals of the review system without having Academic Affairs do more of the evaluation.  Dr. Nickless suggested that FWDC look at the issue – the Executive Committee will discuss it at its next meeting.

            Dr. Holt referred to the funds that AVCs typically used as supplemental funding and asked whether there would be any supplemental funding.  Dr. Padilla replied that the amount of money that goes into the department budgets for travel and the amount of discretionary funds that the AVCs have to supplement are still under question.  The goal is to have $600 per faculty member in each department budget plus have discretionary funds – that would be the ideal.  The Chancellor and senior staff have been discussing where the $470,000 in budget cuts will be allocated.  He will have more information at the next meeting. 


IV.        Executive Committee Report

            Pamela Nickless gave the Executive Committee Report.

            Chancellor’s Advisory Committee

            Dr. Nickless and CSAC Chair Connie Schaller met with Chancellor Ponder, Christine Riley, and Buffy Bagwell two or three times recently to discuss the situation on campus – particularly faculty and staff morale.  This resulted in the formation of a Chancellor’s Advisory Committee [not officially named] composed of faculty and staff, both SPA and EPA non-faculty.  Members are:  Gwen Ashburn, Buffy Bagwell, Judy Bohan, Merianne Epstein, Vic Foster, Linda Hall, Bruce Larson, Tom Lawton, Steve Lewis, Pat McClellan, Mike Ruiz, Pamela Nickless, Adrienne Oliver, David Perkins, Melanie Rhodarmer, Christine Riley, Connie Schaller, and Bryan Sinclair. 

Chancellor Ponder is chairing and directing the committee and it will meet weekly this semester and next semester.  They discussed the climate on campus in a positive, proactive way:  the type of campus we want this to be and how we can move forward and make it a better place for everybody to work.     

            Dr. Downes asked if reports will be made on what comes out of the meetings.  Dr. Nickless stated yes:  they are discussing communication on campus -- how the advisory committee will be communicating on campus, how the campus communicates with itself, and how to improve communication. 

            Ms. Schaller stated that she was thrilled that the committee included a housekeeper, a second shift supervisor, and someone from campus police – the committee reaches out campus-wide.  

            Dr. Padilla asked if the committee had a charge.  Dr. Nickless replied not yet – that was also why they did not have a formal name.


V.         Student Government Association Report

SGA Vice President Davon Sanchez-Ossorio reported that this will likely be his last report to the Faculty Senate.  A residential senator will give subsequent reports. 

The SGA is scheduling appointments with each department Chair to discuss the textbook bill he reported on last month. 

SGA is working with Housing to create campus information centers in each dorm and will then consider having them in each academic building. 


VI.        Faculty Welfare and Development Committee Report 

            Don Lisnerski reported for the Faculty Welfare and Development Committee. 

            FWDC 3:  Sense of the Senate Resolution


Sense of the Senate Resolution (as amended)


Given that the Senate’s Constitution charges us to both “Maintain and promote the welfare of all members of the University community”, and to “Advise and counsel the administration upon any matters that the administration or the Senate may wish to present…” and that the University of North Carolina Asheville has a long history of emphasizing to the University Community the need for each of us to have respect for each other’s opinions, beliefs and individual characteristics, AND


Given that in the December 1999 Subcommittee on Faculty and Staff Diversification’s report to the Chancellor’s Task Force on Diversity it is stated in the Executive Summary that “In the preparation of this document, we routinely heard reports of a climate of fear surrounding the relationship of both faculty and staff with their immediate superiors. We have aimed our recommendations toward converting the university to a more humane place to work, a place that is earnest about the career success of the people who work here”, AND


Given the fact that many recommendations made by the Subcommittee were never implemented and that the situation existing then still appears to exist today,

THEREFORE, the Faculty Welfare and Development Committee of the Faculty Senate proposes a formal sense of the Senate on the following:


RESOLVED, that the Faculty Senate endorses the Chancellor’s establishment of an “advisory committee on people and planning”, and


RESOLVED, that the Faculty Senate endorses the FWDC exploring with the Chancellor’s Office and CSAC the following:


1. The establishment of a staff ombudsperson/conciliator

2. The establishment of a faculty ombudsperson/conciliator

3. The continuation of a student ombudsperson/conciliator

4. These ombudspeople/conciliators, and their alternates, be provided appropriate time and training so that they may adequately carry out their duties.



There is a growing concern on our campus that there exists a continued hostile work environment in which constant fear of retribution persists. To support a positive learning environment for UNCA students, the university needs to promote an open, respectful, and collegial environment for all faculty and staff as well.  Indeed, a Liberal Arts university should strive to serve as a model of a truly Liberal society.  Therefore, the establishment of such a Committee and implementation of its suggestions and recommendations and the Chancellor’s actions should serve to defuse the present situation and create a more positive working environment for all of UNCA.

In addition, it is hoped that in the near future that an ombudsperson/conciliator office be established on campus. All three individuals would be provided office space and materials as well as reassignment time in order to be able to devote a meaningful amount of time to produce meaningful results.


            The Senate discussed:  endorsing the concept of the Resolution; exploring how this works on other campuses in the UNC system; having workshops on inappropriate management styles; and needing to speak in general terms as personnel actions are private by law.  Dr. Nickless read an email from Scott Walters in support of the resolution.  He indicated that he had heard from many staff members with concerns.  Dr. Walters’ email read, in part:  “…. I think it would be a very positive thing for the representatives of the faculty to go on record supporting efforts to create a more positive, safe, and open work atmosphere for everyone on this campus.  …..this is one valuable way we can use the safety our tenure status provides.”  Friendly amendments were accepted.  FWDC 3 passed unanimously as amended and became Senate Document 0205F.  Dr. Nickless will present the document to Chancellor Ponder.

            1999 Task Force on Diversity Report

            Dr. Wood stated that he was heartened to see that the Task Force on Diversity report was unearthed in preparing the resolution that just passed.  The 1999 report addressed the lack of an open, collegial climate on campus and it continues to languish.  We applaud ourselves for wanting to create this liberal environment with lots of diversity on campus and yet there does seem to be, again and again, an inattention to those issues.  The Diversity Task Force report had specific recommendations.  It would be nice to take this opportunity to say maybe there are other uses we can get from it and other kinds of attention to this issue.  Dr. Nickless noted that Dr. Don Locke, Interim Director of the University Multicultural Affairs, has the reports from all the subcommittees, so we may see some of those recommendations used. 

            First Reading:

            The following document was distributed for First Reading:

            FWDC 2:  Proposal to Revise Membership on the International Programs Advisory Committee

   (revision of SD6803S; Handbook 10.4.12)


VII.       Academic Policies Committee

            Gary Nallan reported that the Academic Policies Committee has received six proposals and will begin consideration of proposals next Thursday.


VIII.      Institutional Development Committee Report

            Bruce Larson reported for the Institutional Development Committee. 

Update on SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools)

Jim Kuhlman, Chair of the SACS Committee, reported that Mark Padilla asked him to chair the committee last summer in preparation for our next accreditation review.  SACS’ new accreditation model is similar in many respects to what we went through in 2002.  There are two components – Compliance and Quality Enhancement Plan.   

The Compliance component is very different from previous iterations in that it has shrunk from 489 “must” statements down to about 70 criteria.  One important characteristic is the emphasis that SACS is putting on institutional assessment.  They shrank the must statements and will be looking more critically at our self-assessment efforts. 

The Quality Enhancement Plan component is somewhat analogous to our enhancement self-study where we had several committees look at student curricula and non-curricula integration.  That is now a required part of the study, but it is very different in that it focuses exclusively on learning outcomes.  The other difference is that if our quality enhancement plan is accepted, SACS will return in five years to assess whether we were successful in implementing the plan.   

Our next SACS campus visit will be 2012.  We did a lot of work to prepare for our last SACS visit in terms of creating and putting into place an institutional effectiveness program.  After SACS left in 2002, most academic departments continued to produce biennial reports, but there has been virtually no activity elsewhere on campus.  Also, in 2002, there were individual departmental assessment reports and unit assessment reports but we never completed the structure so that it became a part of the overall strategic planning/budget allocation process.  Consequently, we have a partial assessment program and need to do some very serious work. 



            Discussion of Masters Programs on campus

            IDC has met three times since the last Senate meeting.  They have been gathering information and talking about the role that masters programs might play at UNCA.  In relation to that, they have spent some time talking with Mark Padilla, Bill Spellman, Rick Chess, and Gwen Ashburn.  Earlier this week IDC met with Christine Riley who will have both Human Resources and Institutional Research reporting to her.  She will be pulling together issues related to personnel, people, and planning. 

IDC has had one discussion with Rick Chess who, along with others, authored a potential MFA program in Creative Writing; this was a pre-proposal discussion.  IDC and Dr. Chess discussed the pre-proposal, in part to educate IDC about what might be involved in a masters program at UNCA, and in part to help Dr. Chess see some areas that might benefit from further thought.  Basically, IDC has been learning more about the MFA and masters programs at UNCA and gathering information.  Sandra Byrd, Interim Director of the Asheville Graduate Center, will meet with IDC on November 8th as they continue these discussions.

Mike Ruiz asked if the planning for masters programs was coming from the growth idea where we would receive more funding or if there were other reasons – such as public service, community service, or serving our area.  Dr. Larson replied that IDC has only had a discussion about one program – the MFA in Creative Writing.  It certainly has been the case that in discussions in relation to that program, the financial dimension has been something that has been very important.  However, in discussions on the MFA in Creative Writing with Drs. Chess, Ashburn, and Spellman, there was a great deal of attention given to the  creative dimensions of the program and what it might do for the local community, as well as what it might do for the academic program in literature and language.  The MFA pre-proposal was sensitive to UNCA’s mission but it also suggested that there may be financial benefits associated with masters programs at UNCA. 

Dr. Ruiz added that in the halls of the natural science departments, the comments are that the only way we will get more money is if one of us has a masters program.  He wants to see the data – more analysis.  UNCA has had a masters program for many years.  Is that for the community, or for the enrichment, or are we getting some benefits financially – is that the reason why we do it?  When he taught graduate courses, he thought – does this cost us something in some way?  Dr. Larson noted that there are lots of questions to be asked such as those raised by Dr. Ruiz. 

Dr. Lisnerski asked how many graduate programs or graduate students are required in the UNC system to move to the level where funding for salaries change for the university – and are we even thinking of pursuing this?  Dr. Larson stated that the answer to that is no, but ultimately that is a decision on the part of the BOG.  Dr. Padilla agreed – we are charged with our mission and work within our classification.  Also, a new Carnegie classification system will be released in November; there will no longer be a distinction among baccalaureate, liberal arts, and general baccalaureates. 

            Dr. Lisnerski asked if we are going to limit graduate programs.  Dr. Larson noted that there is absolutely no decision whatsoever on the part of IDC, or anyone else, to do anything in relation to graduate programs.  We are here to help think about this.  We are still in the questioning and fact-finding phase.  He views discussion of limiting graduate programs as being highly premature. 

Dr. Cornett asked if IDC would advise people who are interested in continuing to pursue these questions to come to IDC or will IDC open a broader discussion later.  Dr. Larson replied that IDC will proceed deliberately and systematically and not in haste.  There is no rush.  The most important thing for the university as a whole is – to be alert to and participate in the activities that the Chancellor will be helping us create during this academic year.  Some of the questions posed today, and some of the possibilities that might be explored, might be better explored next year, after we have had university-wide discussions.   


IX.        Old Business

            There was no Old Business.


X.         New Business

President-elect Erskine Bowles plans to visit each of the 16 UNC campuses before officially taking office on January 1, 2006.  He will be visiting UNCA next Monday, October 24th.  The Faculty Senate is hosting the faculty meeting with Mr. Bowles from 3:40-4:40pm in the Owen Conference Center. 


XI.        Adjourn

            Dr. Nickless adjourned the meeting at 4:25pm.


Respectfully submitted by:          Sandra Gravely

                                                Don Lisnerski