A joint committee that includes administrative and faculty leadership has been formed to review and recommend revisions to documents that guide faculty governance at Rensselaer. The committee, co-chaired by Provost Robert Palazzo and Professor of Arts Larry Kagan, will update the Faculty Senate Constitution and Faculty Handbook and bring the documents into conformance with Institute Bylaws and the Board of Trustees’ directive on the definition of faculty.
The committee will develop recommendations for the revision of faculty governance documents for submission to President Shirley Ann Jackson, while the Faculty Governance Review Committee conducts research on best faculty governance practices of selected peer universities and develops recommendations on alternative models to be considered for use at Rensselaer. Its work will go independently to President Jackson and the Board of Trustees. Both groups expect to issue their reports by Feb. 1.
In addition to the co-chairs, the Palazzo-Kagan committee’s membership includes: Alan Cramb, dean of the School of Engineering; Prabhat Hajela, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education; Jane Koretz, professor of biology; and Peter Persans, professor of physics.
Earlier, the Faculty Governance Review Committee was formed, with a membership consisting of Jacob Fish, Redfern Professor, Chair; Don Vitaliano, professor, and Wayne Gray, professor, School of Humanities and Social Sciences; Iftekhar Hasan, Wellington Professor, and Phil Phan, Bruggeman Professor, Lally School of Management & Technology; Robert Messler, professor, and Mark Shephard, Johnson Professor, School of Engineering; and Harry Roy, professor, and Chris Carothers, associate professor, School of Science.
Palazzo also established a Clinical Faculty Committee, consisting of Maya Kiehl, clinical associate professor of mathematical sciences; John Maleyeff, clinical professor, Hartford Campus, Lally School of Management & Technology; Mark Steiner, clinical associate professor, School of Engineering; Bram Van Heuveln, clinical assistant professor of cognitive science; and Frank Wright, clinical assistant professor, Lally School.
“It is important that the leaders and members of both the Palazzo-Kagan Committee and the Faculty Governance Review Committee contribute their ideas to the faculty governance review process,” President Jackson said. “We have launched an initiative that will play a major role in determining the future faculty governance structure at Rensselaer, and it is critical that we approach it with a long-range view. I am confident that these committee members will bring that perspective to the task.”
“It is our hope that, through the collaborative work of the committee Professor Kagan and I co-chair, we can develop revised documents that are strongly backed by the faculty and the administration,” Palazzo said. “I am hopeful that out of the work of both committees we will arrive at a faculty governance system that will be supported by the tenured and tenure-track faculty and contribute to the overall development of all of our faculty and the entire Institute.”
Once both committees have submitted their reports to President Jackson, she will then meet with the active tenured and tenure-track faculty to discuss the revised documents as well as the recommendations of the Faculty Governance Review Committee. Following this discussion, the revised Faculty Senate documents will be voted on by the active tenured and tenure-track faculty. The president will review the documents once approved by a two-thirds majority vote. The approved Faculty Senate constitution and Faculty Handbook then will be considered by the Board along with the independent recommendations developed by the Faculty Governance Review Committee.
“This process enables the tenured and tenure-track faculty to provide strong leadership to a faculty governance system that will uphold the highest standards of teaching, research, and service, and will reinforce the academic strength and stature of the Institute,” Palazzo said. “Through the work of these committees and the continued input of the entire faculty, I am confident that we can achieve an outcome that will lead to a form of faculty governance that will assure the participation of the clinical faculty in the governance of the academic programs and departments in which they are appointed, and will contribute to change, progress, and collaboration.”
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