Board of Trustees Remarks

Marianna Walker, Chair of the Faculty

February 25, 2011


I.  Greetings - from the faculty and the Faculty Senate

My remarks today will briefly summarize the many activities/issues facing the faculty at East Carolina University.


II.  Budget – As you are all aware, the budget has everyone buzzing; but the manner in which our administration is handling and informing the faculty is commendable.  As you heard yesterday, the administrative team consisting of the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor for Finance (Dr. Niswander), the Provost, Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences, and respective Deans are meeting for budget forums with each individual college.  I have been asked to attend each of the forums and am keeping notes on the questions/concerns from the faculty in each of the forums.  In the three forums that have been held, concerns and questions have been unit specific, but common in the theme including questions about 1) fixed-term faculty seniority and loss of positions (in the event that fixed-term faculty are not rehired), 2) issues surrounding funding model and affects on class size, 3) furloughs, 4) cuts or duplication of programs and relationship to preservation or expansion of existing degree programs.


I applaud the administration in taking valuable time to meet and provide the faculty with budget information, as it unfolds, and how the university will plan for budget cuts.


I also want to publically thank the Chancellor for involving two of our standing university academic committees in this process – the University Budget Committee and the Educational Policies and Planning Committee (commonly known as EPPC) in planning and communicating to faculty about this current budget situation. EPPC has been charged by the Chancellor to assist in defining the criteria for potential program prioritization (including, but not limited to – consolidation criteria, and criteria for elimination and curtailment of programs). 


The Chancellor, Provost, in addition to the other members of the Executive Council have consented to this faculty infusion and shared governance approach and have been transparent in their communication with the faculty from the beginning regarding this budget dilemma.


So, I see three primary areas for faculty involvement in this budget situation –

a)    Educating the faculty on the current budget and management of such and how the budget will be affected depending on the NC State budget outcomes and affects to UNC, ECU, and to our academic programs. Also this approach will allow the faculty to understand decisions of the Dean’s, Vice Chancellors and Chancellor.

b)    Allowing faculty to have a role in determining criteria for program prioritization and budget management through various committees. This does not exist in this manner in all UNC universities.

c)    Need to tell our story – General Public needs to better informed about the many roles of faculty and of the excellence of the faculty we have at East Carolina University. I would like to execute a campaign to obtain as many stories as possible on faculty that showcase the scholarship of the discipline, the intricacies of the curriculum (including undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels), relationship of these areas to research and creative activities and to service for the community and beyond.  We need profiles that demonstrate the excellence and commitment of individual faculty across our many degree programs. 


III.  Faculty Manual -   We continue to plug along with this endeavor.  As I stated in my remarks in November, the Faculty Senate and its committees are truly scrutinizing each section and are thoughtfully considering all contemporary issues during this review. 82 of 131 have been and we still have two months left in the semester. As a example, as we were discussing a section on Weapons policy, one of the senators raised a question about when a faculty member may be on an underwater archeology mission on a shipwreck and uncovers a cannon or cannonball, would this be considered possession of a weapon. Once we found the reference to the statue, we determined that this would not be in violation of this policy! A little humor is always helpful in a faculty senate meeting.


The majority of the faculty manual will be completed by April, however, there are a few sections that may be under discussion and may delay completion under the fall. Issues surrounding personnel policies (i.e. annual report) faculty constitution,  and appellate committee procedures may be delayed pending further discussion on professional ethics and updated committee membership and charges. These pending sections, however, have been under discussion but further research and vetting is needed in these areas. However, anything is possible and there could be a possibility for completion pending these discussions.


I have an updated matrix for Mr. Brody, Mr. Grezchan, and Chancellor Ballard. Mr. Brody, in the event that we have not completed the manual when you rotate off the Board, we will invite you back for our celebration when it is completed! 


IV.  Other activities - Faculty are busy with many endeavors, in addition to their primary roles in teaching, engaging in research and mentoring students in research, and other scholarship activities, and clinical services – with campus priorities including SACS reaffirmation, developing and establishing standards and process of review for online teaching, in determining Key Performance Indicators that define and measure outcomes for the university strategic plan. 


V.  Gratitude - I end with an expression of gratitude for this great university and for all the players, administrative, faculty, staff, and students, who make ECU the best university. We are fortunate to have senior administration that truly value shared governance and the roles of the faculty in our many initiatives. We are also fortunate to have such an excellent faculty who are dedicating additional time and work into the revision of the Faculty Manual. We will have the best manual in the system when we are finished. Also, thanks to the BOT for your support as well, especially in recognizing the work that has been devoted to the revision and reorganization of the Faculty Manual.