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* < Faculty Governance Review

Letter from President Shirley Ann Jackson to Provost Robert E. Palazzo

August 13, 2007

Dear Dr. Palazzo:

I am responding to your memo to me, dated July 27, 2007, in which you proposed a process for review of faculty governance at Rensselaer. I approve your proposed process. At the Board Meeting today (August 13, 2007), the Executive Committee of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Board of Trustees endorsed the process as well, and approved the proposed transitional governance structure (as reflected in the attached Board resolution).

I look forward to the process being as participatory as possible, involving all faculty and instructional staff, but especially the tenured and tenure-track faculty.

As you have noted, it has been over a decade since the last faculty governance review at Rensselaer. I view this process as an opportunity to clarify the important role of tenure and tenure-track faculty in university governance, which we both view as crucial to the faculty of this great university.

As the semester and weeks unfold, I look to your structuring of the Governance Review Committee and attendant processes and meetings. I also expect you to implement the approved transitional governance structure.

I encourage you to reach out as broadly as possible in this process so that the final outcome reflects the views of the substantial majority of the faculty.

I understand that conversations about faculty governance already have begun between you as provost, the deans, and the department heads. I will continue my own enhanced outreach to individuals and groups of faculty – including dinners and department visits. I may weigh in from time to time as the process unfolds, but I have delegated to you the primary responsibility for leading this review process.

I expect from you weekly updates of progress. As you know, I have established a Faculty Communications Committee under the leadership of Dr. Langdon Winner, Professor, Science and Technology Studies and Mr. William Walker, Vice President for Strategic Communications and External Relations. This committee will provide an important communication channel among the faculty and between faculty and administrators as the process unfolds, but it is not to be a substitute for the Provost Governance Review Committee and process.

I have every expectation that this process will proceed through respectful and professional dialogue among all members of the Rensselaer community.

I look forward with great hope and anticipation, to a very positive outcome which puts Rensselaer even more strongly on the path to greatness because of its strengthened faculty shared governance.

Sincerely,

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
President

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