Meeting of the Faculty Council

March 27, 3:00 p.m.

Assembly Room, 2nd Floor, Wilson Library

Chancellor Michael Hooker will preside. Attendance of elected Council members is required.

Agenda

ACT 3:00 Memorial Resolution for Timothy C. Toomey, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry

INFO 3:05 Chancellor’s Remarks and Question Period

INFO 3:20 Chair of the Faculty’s Remarks

INFO 3:25 Undergraduate Research Initiatives, Robert C. Allen, Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences

DISC 3:35 Annual Report of the Administrative Board of the Library. James A. Wilde, Chair

DISC 3:45 Annual Report of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Council. Richard N. Andrews, Chair of the Faculty

ACT 3:50 Annual Report of the Committee on Educational Policy. Anthony J. Passannante, Chair

Res. 98-2. Electronic Dissemination of the Carolina Course Review.

Res. 98-3. Use of the Carolina Course Review for Personnel Evaluation.

Res. 98-4. Eligibility Standards for Junior Transfer Students.

Res. 98-5. Revision of the Final Examination Policy

ACT 5:00 CLOSED SESSION. Second Report of the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards. Honorary Degrees for Commencement 1999. Joseph S. Ferrell, Secretary of the Faculty.

 

Joseph S. Ferrell
Secretary of the Faculty

 

KEY:
ACT = Action
INFO = Information
DISC = Discussion

Minutes

Attendance

Present (49): Anderson, Bailey, Bangdiwala, Beckman, Carl, Collins, Cordeiro-Stone, Dalton, Daye, Debreczeny, Devellis, Eckel, Estroff, Farel, Fink, Fletcher, Foshee, Fox, Gatzy, Haggis, Hattem, Hogue, Holmgren, Hooper, Hyatt, Irene, Johnson, Lentz, Loda, Lubker, Margolis, McNeil, Melchert, Mill, Owen, Panter, Passannante, Pfaff, Plante, Rabinowitz, Raper, Schaller, Searles, Skelly, Strauss, Tauchen, Vevea, Weiss, White.

Excused absences (26): Barefoot, Bluestein, Bose, Bromberg, Clegg, Cravey, Favorov, Gasaway, Harrison, Hodges, Howard, Jackson, Lachiewicz, Lord, Mandel, Marshall, Matson, Mauriello, Pagano, Platin, Salgado, Shea, Stabler, Stidham, Tysinger, Williams.

Unexcused absences (8): Brink, Conover, Covach, Crimmins, Graves, Moreau, Pielak, Rosenman.

Memorial Resolution

Professor Jane Leserman presented a memorial resolution for the late Timothy C. Toomey, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry.

Chancellor’s Remarks and Question Period

UPBC statement of priorities.

Chancellor Hooker has informed the Board of Trustees of the statement of priorities recently developed by the University Priorities and Budget Committee. He believes this document will inform the development of the case statement for the upcoming capital campaign and also will play an important role in reallocating some of our budgeted funds to areas of higher priority. [The full text of the document can be found on the Faculty Council Web page.]

Service learning grants.

The University has received a grant from James and Jean Ueltschi for the development of additional service learning courses. Ten grants of $8,000 will be made to faculty members who will prepare and teach a service learning course in the 1998-99 academic year.

Plan for recruiting minority faculty.

Prof. William A. Darity (Economics), Prof. Soyini Madison (Communication Studies), and Vice Provost Tom Meyer have developed for the Chancellor and Provost a plan for recruiting minority faculty. Over the past two years we have suffered a net loss of African-American faculty. We need to redouble our efforts to work with departments to identify prospective African-American and Hispanic candidates.

The research environment.

The Committee on Research, chaired by Prof. Arne Kalleberg, has conducted a number of open-ended interviews with faculty members on the research environment. The committee is also conducting a broad survey of the faculty on this subject. Chancellor Hooker touched on some of the points that emerged from the interviews:

  • Faculty research leaves are desperately needed.
  • Current levels of support for travel to conferences are inadequate.
  • Matching funds for major grants are in short supply.
  • Funding for graduate students is inadequate.
  • Departments need more administrative help.
  • Bridge funds are needed to keep projects going between grants.
  • The increasing space needs of scientific research must be addressed soon.
  • Multi-disciplinary research should be encouraged and more opportunities made available.

Legislative priorities.

Chancellor Hooker is pleased, on the whole, with the budget requests that General Administration has forwarded to the General Assembly. We did not succeed, however, in our request for more funding for graduate student tuition waivers. We asked for $4 million, but less than $1 million has been requested. President Broad intends to revisit this issue after the current study of tuition levels in graduate programs has been completed.

Venable Hall renovation.

The administration is giving much thought to what should be done with Venable Hall. Chancellor Hooker thinks it should be demolished and replaced rather than renovated. If that is undertaken, space must be found to house the Chemistry Department during construction. It has been suggested that a new building be erected in the area between Venable and Phillips. This possibility will be one of the major foci of the campus land use plan now being developed by Ayers/Saint/Gross.

Budget reallocation.

Chancellor Hooker noted that there are many more opportunities for excellence than we have funding to support. He is eager to provide more support for multidisciplinary research and would like to be able to create a source of funding similar to the technology grants. He has, however, exhausted the academic enhancement funds made available by the General Assembly. He had intended initially to commit those funds to short-term projects, but priorities such as the freshman seminars and the computing initiative seemed so worthy that he has funded them permanently. The Chancellor is pleased, then, that the University Priorities and Budget Committee is developing procedures “that will enable us to reprioritize and reallocate to new priorities.”

University Research Council.

Prof. Paul Farel (Physiology) commented that the University Research Council is an effective and important mechanism for research funding, especially for junior faculty, but has become distanced from the faculty. Information on funding available through the Council is not as well known as it once was. It is not well known who serves on the Council or how they are chosen. He hoped that the Chancellor would look into this. Prof. Andrews said he has brought Prof. Farel’s concern to the Council’s attention.

Carolina Computing Initiative.

Prof. Leon Fink (History) noted that questions continue to arise from student groups, faculty, and others about the Carolina Computing Initiative. He asked why this initiative had been announced and put into motion with little or no prior faculty or student input. Chancellor Hooker replied that the administration is making an ex post facto effort to do just that. He reviewed the sequence of events that led to the Initiative, beginning with a presentation to the Board of Trustees by Marian Moore, Chief Information Officer. The report so impressed the Board that they directed immediate implementation. Prof. Andrews said that the Instructional Technology Advisory Committee, chaired by Dean Darryl Gless, and the Student Information Technology Advisory Committee, recently established by student government, might be appropriate faculty and student groups to provide the kind of input Prof. Fink mentioned.

Prof. Fink also asked for clarification of the involvement in the initiative, if any, of IBM. Chancellor Hooker answered that IBM had originally been involved in a consulting capacity with a General Administration study for enhancing computing on all sixteen campuses. IBM has dropped out of that project in order to preserve its ability to bid on any future computer sales that might result from the study. IBM has not been involved in the Carolina Computing Initiative.

Master classrooms.

Prof. George Rabinowitz (Political Science) commented on the unsatisfactory state of the master classrooms in the basement of Hanes.

Cost of instructional units.

Prof. Donald Haggis (Classics) pointed to recent information conveyed to the Classics Department identifying that department as the second most expensive on campus in terms of cost per credit hour. He wondered whether this kind of analysis is appropriate. The Chancellor said that he was not familiar with the data, but that he would think that cost per student credit hour would not be the last step in evaluating what might be termed “academic efficiency.”

Chair of the Faculty’s Remarks

Prof. Andrews urged Council members to respond to invitations to President Broad’s inauguration and to attend Commencement on May 17. The speaker is Marian Wright Edelman. He said that he is working with Provost Richardson on a committee to develop the case statement for the upcoming capital campaign and has also been asked to suggest faculty members who might participate in developing the revised central campus plan. He asked anyone with an interest in either of these efforts to contact him.

Undergraduate Research Initiatives

Prof. Robert C. Allen, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, spoke of two initiatives relating to undergraduate research.

Office of Undergraduate Research.

In consultation with Dean Palm, Provost Richardson has asked the College to plan for including an Office of Undergraduate Research in the James M. Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence. In preparation for that, Dean Allen is undertaking a review and assessment of current organized opportunities for undergraduate research here and at other institutions and is consulting faculty colleagues to gain an idea of current and potential opportunities in this regard. This work will form the basis of a proposal to the Provost and Dean Palm as to the organization, leadership, and mission of the Office.

Burch Field Research Seminars.

Lucius E. Burch III, Class of 1963, has pledged $1.32 million to endow a program of field research seminars for undergraduates and has made a gift of $153,000 to support the first three years of the program’s operation. The Burch Field Research Seminars Program will enable faculty to involve groups of 8 to 15 undergraduates in field research for an entire semester at an off-campus site. A participating student will earn a semester’s worth of credit. The seminars will be organized through the Center of Undergraduate Excellence with administrative support provided by the Study Abroad office. The first seminar will be conducted next fall by Prof. Michael Luger (Public Policy Analysis) in Washington, D.C., with assistance from the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. This is the second initiative supported by Mr. Burch. The first was the Burch Fellows Program.

Annual Reports of Standing Committees

Administrative Board of the Library.

Prof. James Wilde (Economics) presented the annual report of the Administrative Board of the Library. He noted that expansion of Internet technology has meant that students are making less use of copying machines and more use of printers to print documents off-line. This has caused some ripples in the Library’s budget. Also, movement in the direction of electronic journals is accelerating and confronts us with considerable subscription dilemmas. The Administrative Board will need to be vigilant to see that these trends do not result in a serious erosion in funding for traditional forms of scholarship.

Executive Committee of the Faculty Council.

The annual report of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Council was received without question or comment.

Educational Policy Committee.

Prof. Anthony J. Passannante (Anesthesiology) presented the annual report of the Educational Policy Committee, and introduced four resolutions for action.

Electronic dissemination of the Carolina Course Review. Resolution 98-2 presented by the Educational Policy Committee (hereafter, EPC) provides that the current restrictions on electronic dissemination of the Carolina Course Review (hereafter, CCR) continue indefinitely. Prof. Passannante emphasized that EPC strongly supports evaluation of teaching and bears no malice toward anyone involved in the publication of the CCR, but EPC finds that CCR has flaws that make it an unsuitable instrument for faculty personnel evaluation or dissemination outside the Carolina community.

Prof. Marila Cordeiro-Stone (Pathology & Lab Medicine) asked whether undergraduate students value the CCR. Prof. Passannante replied that it is his impression that students who use the CCR are satisfied with the information it provides, but the CCR is no longer a student publication. It has changed into a quasi-official service that is generated by inaccurate statistical methods. Prof. Passannante said that although EPC strongly supports evaluation of teaching, the committee was not asked for advice on how that should be done. EPC was simply asked to advise the Council as to whether CCR is an appropriate instrument for that purpose. The committee has concluded that CCR is not such an instrument.

On motion of Prof. Richard Beckman (Journalism), the resolution as presented was amended to delete the word “permanently.” Resolution 98-2 was then adopted unanimously.

Use of Carolina Course Review for faculty personnel evaluation. Prof. Passannante introduced Resolution 98-3 to prohibit use of the CCR an official instrument of faculty personnel evaluation. He said that although not many departments are actually using CCR for that purpose, EPC does not think that an invalid measure should be used at all.

Prof. Bobbi Owen (Dramatic Art), Associate Dean of the College, pointed out that immediate discontinuance of CCR would pose problems for departments who have no other method at the moment for evaluating teaching. She thought that it would be better to address the problems that have been identified rather than to throw out the entire process. Prof. Passannante said that EPC had not considered the problems that immediate cessation might cause.

Prof. Ferrell (Secretary of the Faculty) pointed out that the resolution does not forbid distribution of CCR questionnaires or analysis of the answers. It only prohibits use for official faculty personnel evaluation.

Prof. Passannante said that as a long-range goal it would make perfect sense for students to evaluate courses and to organize and distribute the data, which they could do in any form and to any extent. However, if the University is going to give quasi-official sanction to CCR, a valid instrument should be designed.

Prof. Cordeiro-Stone noted that there is a difference between giving a faculty member the raw data developed by CCR for his or her course and analyzing that data and distributing the analysis to the administration. She thought the raw data would provide useful information to the faculty member. Prof. Owen thought that if the raw data could continue to be used on an interim basis, that might be a reasonable solution.

In response to questions from several Council members, Profs. Passannante and Turchi reviewed the origins and administration of CCR. The questions were designed in 1984 and have remained unchanged, as have the norms for the responses. The questions are supposed to measure five levels of satisfaction with the courses. In fact, they all measure the same thing. The questions are subject to the biases of class size, expected grade, and GPA. The questionnaires are distributed to departments and faculty who request them by a faculty member in the Economics Department who collects the answer sheets, organizes them, and sends them to data processing for scanning and analysis. A staff member in ATN does the runs and produces the Web-ready output. The raw material and reports are returned to the Economics professor who distributes the information to departments and faculty. About 60% of undergraduate classes are rated. The system is extremely efficient and well managed. Much information is produced at little cost, but no one claims responsibility for content. Coverage of the faculty is incomplete and biased. Consequently, the published data are misleading. Between 75% and 80% of all answers on CCR questionnaires are either “agree” or “strongly agree” and all of the questions are phrased to elicit a positive response. The published norms, however, are based on a percentile ranking that spreads what is essentially a two-point distribution across a 0 to 100 percentile range. Consequently, the data can imply that a faculty member is a poor teacher when the answers from the raw data are all positive ratings.

Prof. George Rabinowitz (Political Science) said that the Political Science Department uses CCR in all courses and that it is used for personnel evaluation purposes along with other information. Although he is personally not an advocate of CCR, he would prefer that its use for evaluation purposes not be prohibited because now it is the only information that the department chair has to evaluate a faculty member’s teaching.

Prof. Turchi said that the greatest problem is the way the raw data are summarized and reported. He thought that the raw data could be presented in a more informative way, even with no change in the existing instrument. He thought that the instrument could probably be improved.

The discussion then turned to the question of whether there are valid cost-effective methods of evaluating teaching and whether a valid instrument could be designed that would be useful across all departments and disciplines. After several exchanges, Prof. Rabinowitz moved a substitute resolution that “The Faculty Council resolves that the CCR should be used with extreme caution as an instrument of official personnel evaluation at the departmental and administrative levels and the Faculty Council recommends that EPC investigate the problem of appropriately assessing teaching effectiveness.”

Prof. Passannante opposed the first clause of the Rabinowitz substitute but agreed with the second. Prof. Owen supported the substitute, but wondered whether it would not be more appropriate for an ad hoc committee to address the problem of evaluating teaching effectiveness.

Prof. Barry Lentz (Biochemistry & Biophysics) opposed the substitute. He preferred the original resolution because it would force the administration to address the problem of evaluating teaching sooner rather than later.

Prof. Rabinowitz’ motion to substitute was defeated and a motion to call the previous question was adopted. Resolution 98-3 was put to a vote and adopted.

Prof. Lentz moved “that the Faculty Council request EPC to draw up a recommendation to the administration for action to develop an appropriate review for personnel evaluation and to determine the relationship of that review to the future of CCR.” Prof. Miles Fletcher (History) asked that the motion be reworded to direct EPC to develop recommendations for an approach toward evaluating teaching at the department level. He said that the History Department has developed its own evaluation procedures that it would prefer to continue to use, and he doubted the wisdom of trying to mandate specific methods for all units. Prof. Lentz said it was not his intent to direct EPC to develop guidelines but rather to frame the question for the administration to address. This would take resources and expertise.

Prof. Passannante said that he did not think it essential for the Council to adopt a formal resolution in order for EPC to address this issue. The Lentz resolution was withdrawn and it was agreed that the EPC would continue to deliberate on the matter of how best to evaluate teaching.

Prof. Leon Fink concluded the discussion of this topic by returning to the original idea behind CCR, which was to be a consumer guide for students. He thought that the original purpose was still valid and he urged students to revive their own instrument, to divorce themselves from what has become an elaborate bureaucratic mechanism, and to offer a free-form guide to classes similar to movie reviews or book reviews.

Eligibility standards for junior transfer students.

Prof. Passannante explained the reasons for Resolution 98-4 which, beginning with the Fall 1999 semester, will require that junior transfer students pass 9 credit hours and achieve a 1.50 GPA in their first semester in order to maintain academic eligibility. He pointed out that junior transfer students who fall below a 1.5 GPA in their first semester will find that it is virtually impossible to raise that to a 2.0 GPA in time to graduate with their class. EPC believes it is in the best interest of such students to make them ineligible for the Spring semester, which will permit them to regain eligibility later and return to the University renewed and reinvigorated.

In response to questions, Prof. Bobbi Owen explained that the present eligibility standard for juniors who entered Carolina as freshman is 1.9 GPA. The proposal gives junior transfer students a bit of a break because they’re adjusting to a new environment. The admission standards for junior transfer students are not the same as for freshmen. For transfer students, we consider only one’s record at the other institution. For entering freshmen, we consider a wide range of factors that can predict academic success. A transfer student’s college transcript can be misleading. For example, many institutions have a forgiveness policy that permits a student who has earned an F in a course to take it over again, perhaps several times, until a passing grade is achieved, in which case the earlier F is expunged from the record. Carolina does not allow that. One effect of current admissions policy is that we are not able to predict a transfer students’ potential for academic success at Carolina as accurately can as we can for entering freshmen.

Resolution 98-4 was adopted as presented. Prof. Andrews said he would bring to the attention of the Admissions Office the Council’s discussion about admissions standards for junior transfer students.

Gendered language.

Prof. Passannante reported that EPC has recommended to the Provost that “gendered language” be eliminated from all official University documents. This recommendation is the committee’s response to a request that it received in April 1997 to consider whether use of the word “freshman” should be discontinued in official correspondence. In response to a question, Prof. Passannante said, “We’re intentionally not responding to the word ‘freshman’ and we didn’t want to express opinions on whether or not an individual word was gendered.” This portion of the committee’s report was not submitted to the Council for action.

Final examination policy.

Prof. Passannante introduced Resolution 98-5 which makes minor changes in the wording of the official policy on final examinations in the light of the discussion at the April 1997 meeting of the Council. The changes take into account problems pointed out last year by Prof. James Murphy, Dean of the Summer School.

Prof. Owen asked that the following sentence from the current policy be restored: “Faculty employing an alternative form of final assessment must adhere to the general final examination schedule, must allow adequate time for completion, and should bear in mind that the students have other scheduled examinations.” This change was incorporated into Resolution 98-5. The resolution was also amended to change the effective date to begin with Summer Session I 1998. The resolution, as amended, was then adopted unanimously.

In response to a question from Prof. Miles Fletcher, Prof. Passannante said that the final examination policy applies only to courses on campus; it does not apply to courses offered via the Internet. Prof. Fletcher said that he hoped the Council and EPC would address the question of examinations in distance learning courses at an appropriate time.

Honorary Degrees

At the conclusion of all other business, the Council went into closed session to hear the report of the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards with respect to honorary degrees to be awarded at Commencement 1999. The committee recommended five candidates for honorary degrees, all of whom were unanimously approved by the Council.

Adjournment.

All business having been concluded, the Council adjourned.

 

Joseph S. Ferrell
Secretary of the Faculty

 

Pdf of meeting materials

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