University of North Florida
Board of Trustees
Educational Policy Committee
February 11, 2013
University Center at 10:30 a.m.
Committee Members Present
Mr. Wilfredo Gonzalez , Ms. Ann Hicks, Dr. William Klostermeyer, Ms. Joan Newton
Committee Members Absent
Mr. Luther Coggin, Ms. Toni Crawford
Item 1 Call to Order
Chair Hicks called the meeting to order.
Item 2 Approval of the Minutes, October 12, 2006
Chair Hicks asked for a motion to approve the minutes for October 12, 2006. The motion was offered, seconded and approved unanimously.
Item 3 Open Comments
There were no comments from the public.
Item 4 Bylaws, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Revisions
Chair Hicks asked Vice President’s Serwatka and Stone to speak about this item.
Vice President Serwatka stated that there were two sets of changes proposed to the existing bylaws. He spoke about the first set of proposed changes, stating that there were certain SACS requirements that weren’t clearly represented in the current bylaws. He referenced the meeting materials, stating that the standards outlined in red referenced the criteria that necessitated the changes – these proposed changes would further define the powers and fiduciary responsibilities of the Board and define the President as the chief administrator for the University.
Vice President Serwatka spoke about the second set of proposed changes which included a code of ethics for the Board, previously suggested by Trustee Halverson.
President Delaney stated that the proposed code of ethics had been styled based on SACS criteria with further deliberation. Vice President Serwatka stated that the proposed code of ethics was consistent with the Association of Governing Boards (AGB), as well as other State University System (SUS) institutions.
Vice President Serwatka referenced a sentence in the bylaws, “Trustees shall not attempt to influence the hiring decision or employment of University employees . . .” He suggested that the trustees might give this sentence a moment of thought, stating that this did not prohibit trustees from providing references for students or inhibit trustees from seeking guidance about a student. Vice President Stone provided further direction, stating that the idea was that there should not be attempts at influencing hiring decisions.
Chair Hicks asked for clarification regarding faculty and staff promotions and salary, and personnel disciplinary action and termination. Vice President Serwatka affirmed that these issues were included but that the language referencing these might not be clear enough. President Delaney agreed that a phrase should be added to capture employment, salary, disciplinary action, termination, etc. Vice President Stone agreed to incorporate these changes prior to the December 14th Finance and Audit Committee meeting.
Chair Hicks asked for a motion to approve the bylaws, including the recommended change of language. The motion was offered, seconded and carried.
Item 5 Program Reviews
Chair Hicks asked Provost Workman to speak about this item.
Provost Workman stated that pursuant to Florida statutes, program reviews were conducted every seven years for each of the University’s degree programs. He stated that the reviews required much preparation and the University was deeply engaged in this process.
Provost Workman spoke about the focus of the academic program review process, stating that it was the intent of the process to evaluate academic and administrative quality and productivity, and to determine if they were consistent with the institution’s mission, as well as to engage in continuous improvement.
Provost Workman stated that this process began with each program providing a self-study. This self-study was then forwarded to an oversight committee in Academic Affairs. Subsequently, the program was subjected to an external review process using reviewers who came from outside the state and who had no personal relationship with the department.
Provost Workman further discussed the external review process, stating that each department choose the external review team based on individuals who had distinguished themselves and who had experience in program review. He clarified that the departments made these selections because they were best suited to make decisions about experts in their field. He also stated that it was his practice as Provost to instruct reviewers not to seek leverage in the budget process but to provide direction on how to use existing resources to better each program.
Provost Workman stated that the University had been involved in the program review process throughout the history of the institution but administration noticed that the Board of Trustees had not been included in the flow of information. President Delaney stated that it was highly appropriate that the Board be informed about the steps the University was taking to see that there were quality programs, and that the Board should receive the opportunity to provide input into this process.
Trustee Hicks asked for clarification on who hired the reviewers. Provost Workman stated that he hired each reviewer. He further clarified that professional accreditation reviews could serve in lieu of these external reviews.
Vice President Serwatka spoke about the two types of accreditation (regional and professional) – SACS provides regional accreditation to the University as a whole, and professional accreditation is for individual programs or colleges.
Provost Workman stated that the majority of all disciplines that were eligible for national professional accreditation were intact – there were four that were not but these programs were pursuing accreditation.
Chair Taylor asked if faculty salaries were included in these external reviews. Vice President Serwatka stated that faculty salaries were not included. Provost Workman stated that external reviewers were not experts in differential salaries in disciplines, and the University’s ability to affect pay had been limited until the recent past. He stated that the external review process included faculty numbers, support people, adequacy of equipment, etc.
Chair Taylor asked if this could become part of the internal review process. He stated that it was the Board’s hope to affect faculty salaries. He asked that administration track faculty salaries to determine if progress was being made.
Chair Taylor also asked for clarification regarding mandates from the Legislature, in particular the number of credits that could be included in any program. Provost Workman stated that there were tensions between the state mandates and expectations of accrediting bodies – the accrediting bodies wanted programs to be as full and rich as possible but the state wanted them wanted to be as lean as possible.
Provost Workman stated that it was the intention of administration to share with this committee the results of program reviews as they were received. He spoke about the assessment of student learning, stating that the state mandated that every program stipulate what was expected from every student; therefore, every program established an academic learning compact (ALC). Provost Workman stated that each department had established a way of assessing the ALC and used this to review the curriculum – its scope and adequacy.
Provost Workman addressed faculty performance plans, stating that the tenure and promotion process was included in the meeting materials – this information was prepared for this committee to provide a picture of the evaluation process in place.
Chair Taylor spoke about his concern regarding faculty and the value of publications – there was a propensity in higher education to place value on the number of publications versus the scholarly impact of these publications. He stated that emphasis should be placed on the scholarly content and the true value of the contribution. Provost Workman stated that academia generally had put pressure on faculty to publish in order to advance their careers. He stated that UNF really had appropriately applied a local standard to measure adequate performance.
President Delaney stated that it was his administration’s intent to regularly provide to this committee reports similar to program reviews. Chair Taylor stated that this was a good report with great overview and one he felt the Board would appreciate.
This item was presented for information only. No further action was required.
Item 6 Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned.