Dr. Elizabeth Barber, (Faculty Senate Vice President) then took over the meeting, moderating the information and feedback session. She noted that with the new election, 60% of legislators are new, and primarily won their positions on campaigns promising cut???backs. The old guard, who as yet continue to man the councils and working groups, were committed to bringing the UNC system to the distinction of 3rd best in the nation, but we could not expect such attention to high standards from the new elect. Dr. Barber urged all faculty to take the online faculty survey to ensure faculty interests be represented.
Dr. Barber then invited comments from faculty with regard to the UNC President Tom Ross??? five goals/ priorities for the Strategic Plan:
Karen Smith???Grotto encouraged a review of the time involved in developing high quality online courses. Silvanus Udoka urged that the new system goals be aligned with A&T???s new strategic plan, Preeminence 2020.
Daniel Miller pointed out the need for more collaboration between education and workforce development bodies and activities already in place in the Triad. Dr. Miller already collaborates with some of these groups to help develop jobs in the area.
Elizabeth Barber noted that many faculty, and especially Leadership Studies Program faculty, are already involved in community workforce projects, including Dr. Miller. Dr. Barber sees Leadership Studies faculty taking a leading role in such activities in the future. Moreover, she noted the need for venues where such collaborations can be developed and staged.
Janis Oldham explained the need to train students, not only for careers outside the university, but for cultivating next generations of academics as well. This, she laments, is not even a goal in system planning at present. She fears that current task??? and skills???focused approaches to learning eclipse the need for future professors to help in the intellectual development of students.
Brian Sims underscored the importance of designing a system strategic plan that leaves plenty of room for individually crafted strategic plans to be pursued. It just makes sense, Sims argued, that A&T, a landgrant university, have collaborative input into K???12 education in the state to respond to local as well as state needs. ???One size fits all??? strategies would not be the best way to reach out to fill the special community needs of the Triad.
Sonia Wilson urged greater attention to traditional student needs, fearing they would be overlooked in the rush to accommodate transfer students.
Silvanus Udoka encouraged the use of existing programs to accommodate this goal.
Radiah Minor noted that across the UNC system, students suffer from ill advisement. Transfer counselors are sorely needed, she argued, because many credits are not accepted toward the degrees that the students choose, but they are not apprised of this fact until after they arrive in a new school. The correct advisement before transfer is especially important for student athletes.
Daniel Miller noted the emphasis upon speed of completion of degree did not support important goals such as lifelong learning or accommodate the special circumstances that many of our students face (working parents, military postings, veterans with special needs, etc.)
Elizabeth Barber supported the need for attention to individual student situations, rather than pushing every student through a quick study program. She noted that high quality advising is critical to this goal. Gerono Rotich lamented the enormous work load that many faculty suffer, with full teaching loads, heavy advising duties, and pressure to publish as well. Faculty need some relief to manage their duties at present, without increasing pressure for greater achievement.
Brian Sims noted that the continual turnover of leadership, such as departmental chairs, presents a significant problem for continuity of vision and mission within departments. Radiah Minor added to this concern that little training is given for improving advising skills, while students can bypass their advisors altogether, receiving their PINs from who???knows???where?
Valerie Neiman reported that transfer students are admitted without their transcripts being input fully and correctly. This, she said, leads to situations where students are advised to take unnecessary classes to fulfill requirements that they have already completed elsewhere.
Elizabeth Barber noted that the faculty survey has a place to add new goals, not covered by the five proposed goals. She voiced concern for the lack of attention to global initiatives and support for global experiences for faculty and students, which undoubtedly increase student employability, cultural awareness and tolerance, and global citizenship.
Eleanor Gwinn stated the need to help students to travel abroad; such experiences, she argued, change their lives dramatically and make them better citizens of their own nations.
Elizabeth Barber urged greater opportunities for students to go out of the university and for outsiders to come on campus, for example co???ops and internships. We need much more support for international work and research opportunities for faculty and students.
Elizabeth Barber introduced the goal as the one faculty need to be concerned about; it speaks cut???backs and eliminations of already struggling programs.
Karen Smith???Grotto urged course???sharing opportunities need to be better streamlined to allow students at other universities to enroll for shared courses at their own institutions without importing them in as transfer credits. Resources are needed to support these initiatives.
Ann Collard explained that much time is needed to develop collaborations that function well, so planning grants are needed to encourage course???development etc. Rushed schedules and overworked experts do not foster collaborative program and course development.
Elizabeth Barber noted a similar problem with regard to advising. Good advisors need incentives (extra pay or release time) to share their advising expertise across campus, a sharing that would serve all students. She advised that we make better use of the experts we already have on campus, but recognize that they require time and incentives to share their expertise. Moreover, faculty in general need to better represent the work we do, so outsiders better appreciate the workload pressures we endure. Most non???academics have no idea of the broad range of duties undertaken by a professor.
Brian Sims noted that financial aid services need to be improved. Faculty travel procedures too are sadly outdated and run up travel costs due to restrictive rules. Textbooks too cost our students far more than online sources cost. The various offices on campus need to update their policies and procedures. Janis Oldham urged faculty to know their department???s data, know what your department is producing, so we may all argue well for our department???s productivity.
Karen Smith???Grotto explained her concern that the various programs on campus are not synchronized; for example, registration figures often do not accurately reflect the number of students in classes. Good evaluation and assessment procedures exist across the campus but we need one place that houses all data and keeps it accurate.
Silvanus Udoka stated that IT services on campus need attention. One might expect a smoother interface between various foundational platforms, such as Banner and Blackboard, but this is not the case. Often figures do not accord between the various entities. Moreover, important changes are made in campus technologies without any information being shared with faculty about the changes.
Elizabeth Barber urged the greater use of research???based ???best practices??? and better information on how to operationalize these good ideas. She asked for public forums about these.
Janis Oldham responded that there are many ???best practices??? programs in use on campus, for example Emporium and Scale???Up are being used in the Math Department. College of Arts and Sciences is looking for opportunities to extend the use of these programs to other departments, new environments, and alternative students settings. But ???best practices??? is not everything, Dr. Oldham warned. If the programs do not suit our students??? special needs, they undermine learning. We need to adapt the programs to our students and study their effects.
Ann Collard expressed her concern that we are asked to fundraise but many major donors are on don???task lists because they are being targeted for higher level fundraising efforts.
Radiah Minor explained that building relationships is the cornerstone of fundraising. She encouraged faculty to visit their development offices, which have expert staff to help. Often they already have an advocate in a certain organization to assist in funding requests.
Silvanus Udoka wondered at the very low donation rates at A&T. We should study the root causes of this penury.
Wendy Hamblet expressed sadness at the language and tone of the document, which seems not to have sound ethical grounding in ???Triple Bottom Line??? concerns (people, planet, profits), but only profit and cutbacks as its guiding goal. We ought to be thinking bigger, asking what kinds of human beings our universities are shaping, what kind of citizens and with what values our educational programs will produce to lead and populate our democracies.
Dr. Johnson of Bluford Library underscored the need for a stronger infrastructure to achieve the proposed goals.
Janis Oldham reminded the faculty that many of their students??? problems originate in the public schools.
Elizabeth Barber recounted her experiences teaching in Virginia universities, where public schools and teacher trainers collaborated effectively to produce teachers who were responsive to local needs. She said this collaboration was critical to building the trust that is essential to an effective teacher training program. Changes in leadership leave our departments starting over from scratch with each new leader. We need more administrative continuity for more effective programs.
Lorraine Anderson stated that there was nothing to be argued with in the new plan, but the question would revolve around the effectiveness with which it comes to be implemented.
Eleano Gwinn lamented that there was nothing in the new plan to support arts and creative expression. Weave Online, SACs committees, and QEP programs do not appear to share information or communicate with each other, making for endless meetings about the same things, many of whose issues might well have been combined to require fewer bodies to deliberate on them.
Elizabeth Barber closed the meeting by urging faculty to complete the online survey today, as Dr. Sims needs the input for tomorrow???s Council meeting.