Faculty Senate Meeting
January 21, 1997
Present: M. Abbott, J. Brunski, C. Canier, B. Carlson, A. Desrochers, R. Eustace, W.R. Franklin, M. Goldberg, J. haddock, G. Handelman, M. Hanna, T. Harrison, L. Kagan, M. Kalsher, J. Newell, B. Racicot, E. Rogers, F. Scott, M. Tomozawa, W. Wallace.
Guests: President R.B. Pipes, B. Adams, N. Connell, L.
Presentation by President Pipes to the Faculty Senate Regarding a Plan for the
Dr. Pipes began his remarks by noting that the past four
years have been a time of dramatic change.
While conceding that the Institute faces many challenges, he insisted
that we have much to be proud of, too.
For example, he recounted an experience at a reception for the Pew Award
He then turned to the current budget problems, indicating
that resources are not what they once were—they have shrunk steadily over the
past six years. He feels that this drop
has occurred for many different reasons.
He pointed out that our competitors are not currently feeling the same
pinch, but soon will. He feels that they
will follow our lead in addressing this problem. He likes the idea of
Dr. Pipes feels that he has learned a great deal about
He then turned to the topic of the new campaign and noted
that the “quiet” phase of the campaign will begin in the summer of 1997. Feels that it may be important to announce
the campaign at
He recommends that the Deans should report to Dr. Judd. He noted that Dr. Judd has been here since 1963, knows and loves the Institute, and is appropriate to the tasks he wants him to assume. He added that Dr. Judd has been the primary force behind a great deal of positive change at the Institute; for example, he was the person responsible for transforming the faculty council to a faculty senate and was the primary force behind curriculum renewal and the various strategic initiatives. He also reminded the group that G. Judd has proven himself in terms of his willingness/effectiveness in dealing with the Faculty Senate.
President Pipes noted that among all his colleagues at
Rensselaer, he spends the most time with
End of the President’s Remarks
E. Rogers: Reminded
Dr. Pipes that when he first came to
R.B. Pipes: Responded that G. Judd already performs most of the duties associated with a “provost”. He feels that he and Dr. Judd have good communication, so that most decisions are already shared.
A. Desrochers: Noted from their previous discussion that some of G. Judd’s responsibilities would go away/change.
R.B. Pipes: Agreed; for example, much of G. Judd’s graduate school responsibilities are already being given back to the Schools. He feels, though, that G. Judd should be allowed to discuss this with him. He reminded the group that he bragged that he could carry the whole load himself, but admits that is not possible if he devotes 75% to development.
R.B. Pipes: Prefers to let
R.B. Pipes: Responded that he had not really thought through this issue, but would entertain input.
B. Carlson: Noted that the President is free to make these
types of appointments, but expressed deep concerns over this approach. He reviewed history of governance at
R.B. Pipes: Suggested that we put this into perspective. He noted that B. Carlson’s comments may have been relevant four years ago, but not now. He feels that he is doing exactly what B. Carlson is asking for, consulting with the faculty about his proposal. He reminded the groups that there are numerous examples of situations in which the faculty senate/faculty in general have been involved. He agreed that B. Carlson/faculty have the right to feel concerned, but emphasized that he is interested in faculty participating in this, and other decisions. He noted that he wants our advice. Emphasized that this is NOT an announcement, merely the first step in obtaining faculty input, this is merely his recommendation.
R.B. Pipes: Noted hat he has spoken with the Deans but will let them speak for themselves. He also noted that he spoke with the faculty senate leadership earlier. At that time, they recommended that President Pipes speak with the group directly.
L. Kagan: Noted that when one looks for a chief academic officer, historically it is the norm to look for a “stellar” intellect with exciting ideas/visions who exhibits true leadership. He feels that the approach being taken doesn’t allow for the possibility of having the selected individual articulate their vision of leadership.
R.B. Pipes: Agreed, but pointed out that Larry’s suggestion does not always results in success. He indicated that we have spent the last three years defining who and what we want to be. There has been a great deal of self-evaluation. We have brought in four new Deans, each of which has articulated their visions. So, doesn’t feel that we’ve overlooked this point. He feels that it is also important to ensure that the Deans and the “person” work well together. He feels that G. Judd has demonstrated this ability. Also feels that the many years of experience we have with G. Judd have allowed people to learn not only his strengths, but also his limitations. Not true of outside potential candidates. Noted that we don’t really have the luxury to “try our hands” at identifying the characteristics of an “unknown” candidate.
G. Handelman: Referred back to B. Carlson’s remark. It is important to recognize people’s perceptions concerning this approach to selection. He noted that RPI has lost some of its “warm and fuzzy” character. Feels that this action may destroy the little bit that remains.
R.B. Pipes: Agrees that is essential to maintain those characteristics: institutional loyalty and respect. Recognizes there are problems along these lines, but feels there are many examples of strong commitment to the Institute, as well.
A. Desrochers: Noted that the faculty senate represents the faculty, and feels that the faculty have to have confidence in their representatives. If we want to poll every faculty member on every issue, then perhaps there is no point to a faculty senate.
B. Carlson: He noted that this logic is flawed. Reminded the group for example, that the Dean searches were largely faculty driven, in fact, each search committee was chaired by a faculty member. He feels that this instance is more akin to execution by fiat.
A. Desrochers: Recounted his initial reaction to this news, agrees that R.B. Pipes may be correct in a number of ways e.g., avoiding lengthy search etc.; also that G. Judd has the most/best experience for the job.
J. Newell: Noted that there exists a dichotomy of views on how to go about the business of conducting a search: an “ideal” view and a “pragmatic” one. He feels that in our current circumstances, it may be important to pursue a pragmatic path. He feels that when he, A. Desrochers, and A. Wallace recommended that R.B. Pipes bring the news to the faculty senate directly that the group would recognize the need for pragmatism.
A. Desrochers: He alluded to an earlier comment by Pipes in which he emphasized the need to discuss and consider these issues carefully, but also the need to make a timely decision.
J. Haddock: Not concerned about the process, but instead expressed the need to focus on finding someone with tremendous leadership skills. Feels that we need to define the position first, and then consider people to fill it.
G. Handelman: He feels that it may be okay to make the appointment, but need to ensure there are term limits.
L. Rubenfeld: Wondered if President Pipes considered making an interim appointment, but then go ahead with a formal search.
R.B. Pipes: He said he considered it, but doesn’t want to have an “under-empowered” position. Reminded the group of past instances in which we had either absences of leadership or changes in leadership at critical times.
L. Rubenfeld: He noted that much of the workings currently underway will go on regardless of our decision on this issue. Feels that it may be reasonable to follow the pragmatic route, but build in a way to check on the wisdom of the decision later on.
A. Desrochers: Speaking about the level of faculty involvement in decisions on campus, Alan referred to the Agenda that went out to the faculty regarding this meeting. He expressed disappointment at the turnout of faculty at the meeting, which was deliberately written to be a bit of a “tease” to pique folks’ curiosity and attendance.
D. Johnson: Process;
noted that happens in a search, is that the community gets the opportunity to
shape the agenda of the person coming on board; he feels that this new approach
under discussion today seems to lack this opportunity and thus puts both Gary
and the faculty in an awkward position. We
may need to think of ways for
L. Kagan: He again
made the point that traditionally, the person in this position should
demonstrate excellence both as an academic and as an administrator. He feels that
B. Carlson: He noted that the pragmatism/efficiency has been brought up a lot. Perhaps instead of calling the position Dean of the Faculty (which implies faculty involvement) we should call the position Vice President of Academic Affairs and make it clear it was a presidential appointment.
A. Desrochers: He indicated agreement with this possibility, and then asked for any new perspectives. He then yielded to R.B. Pipes for closing remarks.
R.B. Pipes: He appreciated concerns, but reminded the group that time is of the essence. He added that none of the people currently in the administrative positions are perfect, may also be important to consider the persons commitment/love for the institution/ willingness to give unselfishly of themselves for RPI. Suggested that is someone can give him the names of people who rate highly in all of the areas, academics/administration/unselfishness, he would be willing to consider them for the job. He noted that we have to take who we are and what we are and go forward. There is a real need for pragmatism. He gave him promise that where weaknesses exist he will do his part to accommodate them.
L. Rubenfeld: Provided feedback that the agenda was misleading and in the future should more specifically sate what the meeting is about