Faculty Senate Meeting

September 10, 1996


Present: Abbott, M., Brunski, J., Canier, C., Carlson, B., Desrochers, A., Franklin, R., Goldberg, M., Haddock, J., Handelman, G., Harrison, T., Judd, G., Kalsher, M., Newell, J., Racicot, B., Scott, F., Wallace, W.


Abstracted Minutes distributed; for detailed minutes, contact the Faculty Senate office or archives.


Update on the Campus-wide Teaching Evaluation Tool

Last semester, the faculty senate voted to adopt a common teaching evaluation tool that will be used school wide.  However, we have not yet fully considered how the evaluation tool will be implemented.  Most of the discussion centered on how the results of the evaluation will be publicly reported.  Senators raised concerns on behalf o their colleagues that he instrument does not take into account a number of potential problems.  There was some difference of opinion regarding whether the use of the evaluation instrument is to be mandatory or voluntary.  It was concluded that a proposal should go to Gary Judd, Dean of the Faculty and subsequently presented to the Deans.


President’s Campus Planning Committee

It was noted that the faculty senate should have a greater presence on this committee, including a voice in matters involving major allocations of resources, for example, the faculty senate was not informed or involved in the current Troy Building project.  A. Desrochers will consult with President Pipes to ensure faculty senate representation on this committee.


Curriculum Committee

Mike Hanna will be the new Chair of the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee.  A number of issues need to be resolved: (1) should we extend the change from 3- to 4-credit classes to summer courses? (2) should we extend the six-week summer sessions to seven weeks? (3) should we consider changing the current Fall-Spring-2 Summer term configuration?  The term “curriculum renewal” is preferred to “curriculum reform.”


Faculty Open Forum Meetings

A. Wallace presented the possibility of having a faculty senate-sponsored open forum to encourage discussion of big picture topics with the general faculty, e.g., where are we as a faculty and as a school going?  What goals do we wish to achieve?  All agreed it is important and should occur before October 25th if possible.  B. Carlson moved that the Executive Committee go forward with plans for a series of forum sessions.


Seconded by T. Harrison.


Vote: For- 9, Against-1, Abstain-2


Other Items


Guide to P&T

Guide to P&T is ready to be mailed out.  It is intended to provide helpful hints to those going up for tenure.


Graduate Education at Rensselaer

An advisory committee, initiated by G. Judd will evaluate the current state of graduate education at Rensselaer.  The Faculty Senate Executive Committee has appointed S. Cramer and J. Flaherty to the committee.



A. Desorchers raised the issue whether it is time to review the issue of a provost?  Do we need one, or not?  No recommendations came from this discussion.


Faculty Abuses

A. Desrochers noted that there have been enough instances of poor faculty treatment of students to warrant closer inspection.  The Peer Intervention Group, intended as an internal affairs group, will look into this issue.  J. Newell indicated that their purpose will be to help develop policies to deal with faculty abuses.


National Rankings

A. Desrochers brought up recent rankings in U.S. News & World Report.  We’ve dropped out of the top 50 overall.  Engineering is 14; management is 46.  Why did we slip out of the top 50?  Some members noted that this emphasized the need to come together as a community to decide where we should be committing our time and resources.


Re-evaluate the Current Course Drop Policy

Background – Policy was changed a couple years ago that allows students to drop without the instructor’s approval.  Makes logistic difficult for instructors.  Members agreed that this policy should be re-examined since some students re-take a course as many as four times.


A. Desrochers called for the meeting to end.

Adjournment at 4:00pm


*Please note that the minutes of Faculty Senate meetings were distributed in a condensed format at the time.  The change in reporting format was adopted to reduce costs, while increasing readability.  Detailed minutes of each meeting can be obtained by contacting the Faculty Senate office or by contacting Institute archives.