University of Delaware

General Faculty Meeting

President Harker briefs faculty on UD strategic plan update


(Editor's note: For more detailed information, including meeting minutes, visit the Faculty Senate website.)

9:03 a.m., Oct. 11, 2013--University of Delaware President Patrick Harker updated members of the faculty on the need to update the Path to Prominence strategic plan to address emerging issues in higher education, including the changing demographics of potential student populations.

Harker made his comments during the semiannual General Faculty Meeting on Monday, Oct. 7, in Gore Hall. 

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The regular meeting of the University’s Faculty Senate followed the General Faculty Meeting. 

Strategic thinking

“I wanted to talk about some of the challenges I think we face and how we are going to be having a conversation about that during the coming year,” Harker said. “This will be about the next phase of our strategic thinking at the University, and what the issues are and framing those issues.” 

Harker also briefed senators on enrollment increases among First State residents, with more 3,000 Delawareans applying for admission this year. 

“We admitted more in-state students than ever before, and I think there are two things that are driving that,” Harker said. “One is the enhanced financial aid package (through the Commitment to Delawareans) that we have put together for Delawareans so that we can make it affordable for Delaware families. The second reason is the recession.” 

Notable emerging issues at UD and nationally, Harker said, include those related to costs and affordability, and the quality of education the students are receiving.

“The days of very large tuition increases are over, at least for the foreseeable future,” Harker said. “Society is not going to tolerate 10 percent tuition hikes anymore.” 

Harker added that “criticism from outside and inside the academy about the kind of education that we are providing to the students coming to us, as well as dealing with advances in technology, also have emerged as important issues in higher education.”

He said that developing a new strategic planning initiative will be more challenging than the initial institutional blueprint adopted in 2008.

“The last time we really focused on ‘what’ we do,” Harker said. “This time around we will really have to focus on ‘how’ we do what we do.” 

Regular Faculty Senate meeting

During the regular meeting of the Faculty Senate, which followed the General Faculty Meeting, Provost Domenico Grasso noted that UD is seeking to fill the positions of vice president of student life and vice president of enrollment management. 

Grasso also reported that he has charged a panel to review the performance of the responsibility based budgeting (RBB) process at the University.

“The review will be headed by Deputy Provost Nancy Brickhouse and Donald L. Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair of Soil and Environmental Chemistry and director of the Delaware Environmental Institute and chair of the Alison Professors,” Grasso said. “They are going to be leading a team that comprises administrators and faculty members. This is going to be a pretty holistic review of the RBB process.” 

José Aviles, director of admissions, updated senators on several issues, including 2012-13 recruitment successes, demographic trends and the enrollment landscape.  He also discussed crafting a high quality and diverse entering class that reflects the larger society and planning a path forward. 

“There were 26,260 applications for the Class of 2017, the third largest pool in UD history, with applicants coming from 47 states and 79 countries,” Aviles said. “This is the most diverse class in UD history, with 26 percent of the incoming class being students of color or international students.” 

Aviles also discussed the changing demographic landscape mentioned by Harker, citing a report by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). 

Emergent themes highlighted by WICHE include changes in overall high school graduate production and a continued rapid diversification along racial and ethnic lines, Aviles said. 

“From 1990 to 2011, higher education experienced growing numbers of high school graduates, peaking during the 2010-11 year,” Aviles said. “High school graduates will decline slowly and stabilize by 2013-14. Some regions of the country will experience a moderate a growth period from 2020-21 through 2026-27, while the Northeast will see a decline throughout most of the period.”

In the core market states in which UD recruits high school students, projected declines through 2015 include Delaware and Maryland at 7 percent each and Washington, D.C., at 17 percent. Those numbers are based on College Board Enrollment Planning Service data. 

Remedial course participation increased overall between 2003-07, while rates at doctoral institutions dropped slightly. The report noted that ACT reported its lowest composite average score in five years and SAT scores hit a four-decade low in 2012 and remained flat in 2013. 

The ethnic makeup of the high school recruitment pool also is changing, with a 12 percent decline in white graduates and a 9 percent decrease in black graduates predicted in the period from 2008-09 to 2019-20.  

The same period will see increases of 41 percent for Hispanic graduates and 30 percent for Asian/Pacific Islander graduates, and by 2019-20, it's predicted that 45 percent of the nation’s public high school graduates will be non-white. 

For UD, the goal is to craft a high quality and diverse entering class that is reflective of society as a whole, Aviles said.

James Morrison, professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration, gave a report for the Faculty Senate Ad Hoc Committee on RBB, which is outlined as part of the Oct. 7 agenda.

Faculty Senate actions

Regular agenda items passed by the Faculty Senate included a resolution recommending provisional approval for five years following the launch of a new master’s degree program in speech-language pathology.

Senators also granted permanent status to the doctor of philosophy in preservation studies.

The vote on a resolution to establish a standing University Faculty Senate Budget Committee was postponed until the first regular meeting of the Faculty Senate after an open hearing on RBB. Possible hearing dates are Monday, Oct. 28, or Monday, Nov. 11, at a time and place to be announced.  

Faculty Senate President Deni Galileo, associate professor of biological sciences, announced an open meeting on The Data Centers LLC project scheduled to be built on UD’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus.

The meeting, primarily for members of the UD community, is scheduled for 4 p.m., Monday, Oct. 14, in Mitchell Hall.

“This meeting is to inform the UD faculty, students and staff about the specifics of this project, including the newly formed working group and an independent assessment to be completed by engineering consultants,” Galileo said. “The meeting also is for UD faculty, students and staff to voice any concerns so that the working group can consider them.”

Noting that the Faculty Senate voted in May to require that all non-credit certificate programs offered by UD must first be approved by the Faculty Senate Coordinating Committee on Education, Galileo said the committee has developed an online form to facilitate this process and a link will be distributed and posted on the Faculty Senate website.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement has letters of understanding to create two new 3-3-3 joint committees to consider conditions of employment for continuing non-tenure track faculty and faculty representation in searches for academic administrators. 

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Faculty Senate will be at 4 p.m., Monday, Nov. 4, in 104 Gore Hall. 

Article by Jerry Rhodes

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