Faculty Senate Meeting
January 28, 1997
Present: M. Abbott, J. Brunski, C. Canier, B. Carlson, A. Desrochers, W.R. Franklin, M. Goldberg, J. haddock, G. Handelman, M. Hanna, T. Harrison, G. Judd, L. Kagan, M. Kalsher, E. Mabey, J. Newell, B. Racicot, E. Rogers, M. Tomozawa, W. Wallace.
Guests: B. Adams, N. Connell, L. Gerhardt, D. Johnson,
Results of the December 1996 Board of Trustees Meeting – Shirley Molloy
Elections and Re-elections
Highlights of Resolutions Approved
Troy Bldg $6.7 M
Other Moves $0.8M
Lally Renovation $0.3M
Student Record System $3.7M
Issuance/Closing Costs $0.5M
Special Presentations and Reports
Recruitment: An Ad-Hoc Committee of
the Board is concerned with the steady decline in under-represented minority
student recruitment and is working to improve
New Budgeting Process: The newly adapted contribution margin approach was also discussed. This discussion paralleled the formal presentation made by Paul Lawler at the October 96 General Faculty meeting.
Review of Rensselaer’s
Endowment: The endowment grew from
$80M to over $350M during the last 20 years and it represents 10% of
The Budget Challenge:
We will respond to the budget challenge by achieving a $22 million reduction in budget expenditure in five years; this represents 19% of the total Institute operating budget. Budget savings will be achieved through: (1) personnel reductions (e.g., the voluntary separation programs), (2) greater efficiency in delivering academic programs (e.g., the 4x4 curriculum), (3) significant administrative/process re-engineering, including a $50M investment in RPI’s infrastructure (e.g., deferred maintenance, a new financial management system, a new student records system), and (4) budget discipline (e.g., reduced endowment spending rate, reductions in operating costs.
Most of the discussion of this report consisted of requests for clarification, for example what is meant by “greater efficiency,” “how has/will the 4x4 format lead to $$ savings,” and specifics regarding some of the figures presented. G. Handelman asked whether there exist any scientific studies of tuition increases, noting that tuition increases have outpaced most other costs (e.g., books, room & board, salary.)
Student Retention at Rensselaer- Dave Haviland
Dave Haviland defines retention as the percentage of each
succeeding cohort of students that graduates each year or persists to the next
academic year. He provided detailed data
regarding the percentage of students within each cohort that persist across
years and to graduation (either in the 4th, 5th, or 6th
years). He suggested that we need to
identify the reasons that affect students’ decisions to leave
Current data indicates that about 90% of freshmen persist from year 1 to 2; about 90% of those persist into the 3rd year; and about 95% of those persist into the 4th year. Overall, taking into account the fact that some students often take 6 years to graduate, Rensselaer has about a 70% overall graduation rate. He noted that a retrospective study of the overall graduation rte suggests that it is currently high, relative to past years. We also compare favorably to other schools like us.
Haviland noted that most of the studies of retention show that students leave primarily due to financial concerns, they either cannot afford the tuition or they don’t perceive that the education they’re getting is worth the cost. He added that the institute’s goal is to increase the graduation rate from 70% to 80%. He indicated that to achieve this, we need to focus on increasing the retention rates at each level (e.g., from year 1 to 2, from year 2 to 3, and so on) to 95%. Finally, Haviland described several potential ways to improve retention.
Discussion of President Pipe’s Presentation to the Faculty Senate on January 21, 1997
A. Desrochers summarized the discussions of the previous week regarding the President’s proposal to appoint G. Judd to the position of Chief Academic Officer in order to allow him to devote more of his energy to off-campus issues, including fund raising. He suggested that we begin our discussion by focusing on the position President Pipes described: Do we need the position? What kind of person would we, as faculty, like to see in the position? How do we get the person? Reminded the group that we also need to keep in mind practical issues (e.g., timing, the potential that an “outside” hire would need significant time to learn the Institute and the job). He wondered whether it is safe to say that we’re in agreement that it’s important to have a chief academic officer.
Much of the discussion was spent
trying to achieve a balance between expediency and a desire to help the
President and the Institute succeed versus the need to assure that faculty are
integral to the process. Guests at the
meeting provided an extensive historical perspective with regard to the evolution
of faculty governance at
After a lengthy discussion,
The Faculty Senate endorses the President’s
Academic officer and recommend that a search committee with a faculty
Member as chair be established to conduct a search for the position of provost.
The vote was 16 for, 0 against, 2 abstentions.
Minutes of the December 3 and December 17 Faculty Senate Meetings were approved unanimously.