Faculty Senate Meeting

December 17, 1996


Present: J. Brunski, C. Canier, A. Desrochers, W.R. Franklin, M. Hanna, G. Judd, R. Messler, J. Newell, B. Racicot, E. Rogers, M. Tomozawa, A. Wallace


Guests: C. Steinbruchel


Announcements and Approval of Minutes

November 5, November 19 Minutes approved unanimously.  Report of December 1996 Board of Trustees’ Meeting will be given at the January 28, 1997 Faculty Senate Meeting.


Committee Reports and Discussion

Trustee Academic Affairs Committee – by Al Wallace

A. Wallace summarized presentations made by Jack Wilson (i.e., regarding the 4x4 format) and Dick Lahey (i.e., regarding School of Engineering goals and activities) at the December 1996 meeting  Lahey intends to balance out faculty loading and hopes that a reduced freshmen enrollment will bring RPI into balance with competitors.  Lahey reported concern about doctoral programs and he expressed a desire to change the current reporting system to US News and World Report to more accurately reflect the School of Engineering.  Lahey expressed a willingness to maintain Engineering’s existing number of undergraduates to enable the School to have more dollars, via the new budgeting plan.


Trustees’ Finance Committee – by Ed Rogers

  • Dave Haviland has recommended a 5% increase in tuition pricing (prestige pricing) for the upcoming year.  It was moved that the Board of Trustees consider separating undergraduate and graduate tuitions.  The resolution passed.
  • First Quarter forecast of FY97 operations suggests a $4.625 million deficit.  President Pipes suggests that we can’t eliminate this deficit through more savings and instead promotes development of new revenue streams.  He will report on this issue in more detail later in January ’97.
  • $2M was spent to finance the most recent voluntary separation program.
  • The Board of Trustees recommends a $2.5M expenditure on an additional 30,000 sq. ft. at the Tech Park that will be financed by new debt.  It was noted that all multi-tenant space is occupied.  Thought to be a good investment.
  • Disposal of donated real estate (e.g., in Texas) is being considered.
  • There was not time to discuss committee reports on the new budgeting strategy.
  • Finance committee to review status of capital projects costing more than $400k.


Student Life – by Bernadette Racicot

  • Student Senate is recreating the Confidential Guide to Classes and Professors at Rensselaer.  They have designed a survey and distributed it to students taking elective courses in H&SS.  At the time of the meeting, the Student Senate did not have any results to report.
  • Teresa Duffy provided an overview of the Class of 2000.
    • $9.8 million net tuition revenue (NTR) was achieved.
    • NTR per student increased from $10,374 (1995) to $10,967 (1996).
    • Minority students have increased and now comprise 7% of class.
    • SAT combined score is down 5 points.
    • Number of students in top 10% of class is down 6%.
    • Rensselaer Medalists remain at 14% of class.
    • The percentage of international students has maintained at 5% of class.
    • Women represent 25% of the Class of 2000.


  • Dave Haviland provided an overview of the financial aid situation
    • The freshmen Class (class of 2000) has 898 students compared to 947 in 1995.
    • The tuition rate has increased from $17,995 to $19,075.
    • The freshman discount rate is 42.5% compared to 42.8% in 1995.
    • NTR has increased from $455/student in 1995 to $672 in 1996.
    • 92% of the freshman class is receiving financial aid; 20% are receiving merit-based aid; 71% are receiving need-based aid.
    • 98% of female students and 93% of minority students receive financial aid.
    • The total cost of attendance is estimated at $27,334; the average family contribution is estimated at $12,659.
    • On average, 89% of need is being met through financial aid compared to 92% of need being met in 1995.


Goals of Institute – by A. Desrochers and A. Wallace

A. Desrochers and A. Wallace presented the attached overheads which outline the “1978 Rensselaer 2000 Objectives” and the mission statement from a more recent document entitled Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Year 2004 Direction.  The goal of the presentation was to elicit participation from Rensselaer Faculty interested in helping to shape the future course of the institute.


New Business

In an exit interview with G. Judd, Alan Meltzer suggested that academic dishonesty is increasing.  It was suggested that cheating be a topic addressed at a future Faculty Senate meeting.