Faculty Senate Meeting

October 19, 1999


Present: M. Rea, N. Rolnick, R. Diwan, K. Fortun, M. Hanna, J. Norsworthy, A. Desrochers, R. Leifer, J. McLaughlin, J. Haddock, A. Van Epps, r. Parsons, P. Boyce


Absent: A. Kapila, P. Quinn, S. Derby, P. Hajela, S. Anderson-Gold, K. Jansen, J. Napolitano


Guests: Jim McKim, Ruben Mendoza, Lael Dickinson, Gary Gabriele [attending for D. Daves]



Approval of Minutes of October 5, 1999

Continued Discussion with Faculty from the Hartford Campus – Jim McKim, Lael Dickinson,  

       Ruben Mendoza

Summary Reports from Board of Trustees Meeting

Meetings of the Trustees Committee on Student Life

Student Leadership Report – Kristine Norgren, President of the Union

Eric Schmidt - Grand Marshall

Class of 2003 – David Haviland, Vice President for Student Life and Teresa   

            Duffy, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions

Spring 2000 Greek Futures Forum – David Haviland; Eddie Knowles, Dean of

Students and Norris Pearson, Assistant Dean of Students

Student Life Update – David Haviland


Trustee’s Academic Affairs Committee – Mike Hanna


M. Hanna:  I’d like to call the meeting to order and change the agenda again.  We aren’t going to have the discussion about the National Polls, because the material isn’t ready yet.  So we need to approve the agenda, minus the discussion about the polls.  Passed. Unanimously.


Approval of Minutes of October 5, 1999

M. Hanna:  Now we need to approve the Minute for October 5.


J. Norsworthy:  I move to strike my final comment from the record.


M. Hanna: This can be a friendly amendment.  Passed.  Unanimously.


Continued Discussion with Faculty from the Hartford Campus –

Jim McKim, Lael Dickinson, Ruben Mendoza

As you know, we’ve invited representatives from the Hartford campus to join us to discuss governance, and how the two campuses interact.  There are three Hartford faculty here, Jim McKim from Computer Science, Lael Dickinson and Ruben Mendoza from Lally.  We should have an open discussion, perhaps starting with a return to the issue of faculty-student ratios at Hartford that we discussed last week.


J. McKim: By headcount, we have 2000 students.  Divided by two to account for the fact that most are part time means we have the equivalent of 1000 students.  Each of about 40 faculty tech eighteen credits a year.


L. Dickinson: I’ve been associated with Lally for 18 years.  I got my PhD here.  I’ve been on the faculty for three years.  Our maximum class size is 50-55.  Typically, 20-45.  We don’t have graduate teaching assistants.  Since I came to Hartford, the faculty has doubled in size.  We have four computer labs and three distance-ed rooms.


N. Rolnick: You teach 18 credits a year? Does this mean you teach on a trimester system?


L. Dickinson:  No, we’re on a semester system.


R. Diwan: Do you have 4-credit courses?

J. McKim: Computer Science has some, Lally doesn’t.


G. Gabriele: Could you characterize the kinds of scholarship faculty do to prepare for a class as well as the other kinds of scholarship faculty do?


J. McKim:  Many faculty do research though not often funded research.  Many faculty go to conferences, some paid for by the conference.  I think I would characterize it as applied research.  Then we have people who are much more on the clinical side, who don’t do much research.


G. Gabriele: What percentage of the faculty participate in conferences – not necessarily presenting, just attending?


J. McKim: Everyone in Computer Science will now. I’m the chair of the department.


G. Gabriele: Is it the same in Lally?


L. Dickinson:  Faculty are very active.  They do a lot of case research; many of the faculty have a lot of exposure to industry that turns into case research.  And some people do scientific research – pure science, and submit to what we call peer review journals.  Most people attend a lot of practitioners’ conferences.


J. McKim: Faculty publish in trade journals; in the flagship publications of professional groups; in places like the ACE. Refereed journals.


R. Leifer: Since many of the faculty are involved in distance learning, many are involved in distance learning education evaluation – using interesting tools.


N. Rolnick: On this campus, there is a big incentive to keep the research steam going.  Is this the case at Hartford?


J. McKim: I evaluate people on a 60/20/20 model: Teaching-Service-Professional Development.


M. Rea: We hear that it’s really one Rensselaer.  Is it?


J. McKim: I want it to be.  I don’t’ know if it makes sense to make Hartford into a little Troy, revolving around funded research.  We do think of ourselves as primarily a teaching faculty.  In Computer Science, we think we’re doing an excellent job – perhaps the best in the country.


We think of the Rensselaer campus as providing students with undergraduate professional degrees.  And we take it one step further.


M. Rea: We’ve had many discussions about representation.  Can you share you perspectives on this with us?


L. Dickinson: Recently, there has been massive upheaval in the Lally School.  Radical.  We’ve doubled our faculty in the last two years.  The culture is changing a lot.  I think the goals were more divergent three years ago than they are today.


R. Mendoza: I just joined the faculty, so I don’t have much to say, except that when I joined the faculty at Hartford, I though of RPI as one RPI.


R. Leifer: Mark asked about representation.


J. McKim: Somehow, clinical faculty got left out of the governance structure without good reason.  We think that we should be allowed to run for office, to vote, just like other faculty.  AT another Institution, I was on the Faculty Senate for three year, 10% of my life.  I don’t’ really want to do that again, But I don’t want to be told that I can’t.  We should have representatives.


M. Rea: People have been very torn on this issue – because of concerns about real differences between the campuses, as well as about tenure.  Can we talk frankly about what the differences between us are?


J. McKim: I don’t think you solve the differences by leaving clinical faculty out.


R. Parson: Wouldn’t it be appropriate for you to be represented through the computer science department or should Hartford have its own representation – because the issues are specific?


M. Hanna:  a number of clinical faculty on this campus want to be represented through their departments.  Would this work for you?  Is there a real need for separate representation?


J. Norsworthy: Is there a need that would be met, or partially met, by a faculty council at Hartford?


J. McKim: We had such a council before the merger.  We’re small enough that everyone on the entire faculty was on the Senate.  Except deans and department chairs.  Like many Faculty Senates, we would have long meetings in which people would make long speeches.  And long debates, after which there would be a unanimous vote or no vote at all.


The point now is that we want to be one Rensselaer.  We want to be considered one faculty.


L. Dickinson: The question was, “do we want our own representation?” Yes.


R. Diwan: There are two issues: representation itself, and the mode of representation.  What is our objective here?


J. McKim: I’d rather see a Hartford representative than no representative.  We used to have one.


J. Norsworthy: At the risk of encouraging revolution, how would you respond to shuttle buses going between here and there?  Is that an idea the Hartford faculty would support?


M. Hanna: The question is whether there are enough interactions between the campuses to create a sustainable mechanism for moving people back and forth.


Another issue relates to the library.  Can graduate students at Hartford take books out of the Rensselaer library?


J. McKim: There are limits.  I don’t believe Hartford students can check books out of the Troy library, or that Troy students can check books out of the Hartford library.


M. Hanna: What about the RH in an email address?  Why, if we are one place, don’t ‘we have one domain?  [Further discussion on library and electronic resources.]


K. Fortun: You articulated your understanding of our campus as a place that gives professional undergraduate degrees- and said that Hartford takes the next step, by granting professional masters degrees.  What if we do something more here?  We educate many engineers, I hope well.  Which means that we also provide a broad, liberal arts education – not just professional training.  The Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts are an important part of what we do here.


[Clarification from Jim McKim: Since we only offer technical Master’s degrees, we don’t have the resources to provide nor do our students have the freedom to take, Liberal Arts courses.  However, the faculty have broad interests that will come through in their teaching and in day-to-day dealings with students.  For example, one of my faculty has a degree in Linguistics and is something of a student of Oriental culture.  Two others are very interested in Biology and have been keeping up with the Bioinformatics class that we are downloading from Troy.  So we try to bring our appreciation for other disciplines to our students.]


P. Boyce: I think we are kidding ourselves to suggest that there are no significant differences.  The distance between Hartford and Troy are real, on many levels.


J. McLaughlin: What body would faculty at Hartford communicate with to get something done? Would this be the body you would go to?


J. McKim: We want something more specific.  Faculty representatives.  Enfranchisement.


J. McLaughlin: So you’re saying that you think it would be most effective for you to come to this body to solve your problems?


J. McKim: Maybe we come here by videoconference, as opposed to making the trip.  But we need to be here.


M. Rea: I personally would support having two representative invited to participate.


L. Dickinson: Yes.


R. Leifer: We could do that in the short term.


M. Rea: Couldn’t we just decide to invite them?


A. Desrochers: Isn’t it strange that Hartford doesn’t have representatives, yet their student become Rensselaer alumni- walking around out there with Rensselaer on their t-shirts?


R. Leifer: I make a motion that we invite two faculty from Hartford, as invited guests.  In the short term.


M. Rea: I think this is a generous offer, but it should be finite.


J. Norsworthy: It would be limited by the tenure of this Senate.


K. Fortun: why do we need to vote on this?  These are open meetings.  And generally – historically – it isn’t a good idea to legislate something that is already possible.


R. Leifer: I make a motion to formally invite members of Hartford to attend Faculty Senate meetings.  Passed. One abstention.


Summary Reports from Board of Trustees Meeting

Meetings of the Trustees Committee on Student Life

K. Fortun: As Recording Secretary, I attended the Trustee’s meeting on Student Life, chaired by David Haviland.  A lot of information was distributed.  I’ve listed the key points of the discussion on these slides – and want to emphasize the concern expressed about scheduling and the effects on student life.


[Student Leadership Report – Kristine Norgren, President of the Union

-         Update on renovations: Fitness Center due to be completed February 15

-         Focus on vitality of Union clubs


Eric Schmidt, Grand Marshall

-         Rensselaer/Troy initiative: Plans to open movie theater downtown

-         Plans for initiative on campus diversity

-         Concerns about the network not working

-         Concerns about scheduling: the PRIORITY, that implicates everything else.


Class of 2003 – David Haviland, Vice President for Student Life and

Teresa Duffy, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions

-         Enrolled record of 1,328 students.  Applications up 13%. Yield at 32%

-         Average SAT: 1281 (up 15 points from Fall 98 average)

-         “In our market, only MIT yields better than Rensselaer.”

-         Our minority graduation rate is converging with the majority rate and is 50% higher than at other technical universities.


Spring 2000 Greek Futures Forum – David Haviland; Eddie Knowles, Dean of Students and Norris Pearson, Assistant Dean of Students

-         25 Fraternities with 931 total members; 4 Sororities with 186 total members

-         Greek systems is now under national scrutiny

-         Plans for Spring conference (March 25-26), to rewrite “Relationship Statement” which is now ten years old.]


[Student Life Update – David Haviland


-         Scheduling since the transition to 4x4 has had dramatically negative impacts on student life

-         “Liberal Arts colleges figured something out a long time ago: Students need to learn more than we can tech them, which means that they need time to reflect.”

-         Current scheduling doesn’t facilitate productive team work.

-         Current scheduling doesn’t reflect how much we value the residential experience, and the importance of creating an overall environment for learning.

-         Scheduling corrections will be particularly important as we realign the university with the Rensselaer Plan, stressing the contribution made by all five Schools – and thus the importance of every class in a student’s schedule.

-         Possible proposals: switch to Monday/Thursday; Tuesday/Friday schedule.  Limit or discourage evening classes.]


J. Norsworthy: The Banner system is often blamed for inflexibility in scheduling.  Is this the problem?


G. Gabriele: I think we have too much flexibility.  My office has started looking into it.  Other universities have a lot more constraints, laid down by the faculty.


M. Rea: Can you share these constraints with us?


G. Gabriele: We’ve started the research, and will get back to the Senate with what we come up with.


R. Leifer: We shouldn’t forget that this was the primary area of discussion with students we had last year.


G. Gabriele: Many schools designate a significant amount of time as “sacred time” when no classes can be scheduled.


N. Rolnick: We’ve found that the only way we can fill up our classes for non-majors is to have them in the evenings.


R. Diwan: This is connected to incentive based budgeting.  Trying to attract students, we teach at noon.  We have conflicts in our objectives here.  Scheduling can’t be disconnected from the budget.


Trustee’s Academic Affairs Committee – Mike Hanna

M. Hanna:  I need to give my report from the Trustee’s Academic Affairs Committee and give an update on appointments.  Jim Napolitano has been appointed as the new Vice Provost of IT.  Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer has been appointed interim Dean of Science.  William A. Baeslack III has been appointed as Dean of Engineering.  Gary Gabriele has been appointed as Vice Provost for Administration and Dean of Undergraduate Education.


The chair of the dean of science search committee is Bruce Watson.  The chair of the provost search committee is Doyle Daves.  The chair of the search committee fro the Vice President of Research and Dean of Graduate Education is Toh-Ming Lu.


We also talked about the future impacts of the laptop program.  We have to be prepared for when the students with laptops now become sophomores and we have another group of freshman.  Course requirements, space.  There are a lot of things to deal with.


J. McLaughlin: Last year, when we received the laptop program, there were provisions for updating about six classrooms a year.  Are you suggesting that there’s a need over and beyond this?


G. Gabriele: yes.  I think there were about 20 classrooms upgraded last summer.


K. Fortun: The infrastructure also has to be evaluated.  Whom do you call, for example, if you have a problem with the network?


N. Rolnick: I’ve heard of enormous printing problems.  Student’s cards don’t always work.


G. Gabriele: Two things aren’t included here: Next year, a very high percentage of students will be Computer Science and IT.  So special burdens will be placed on associated classes.  Also, first year studies courses are at capacity.


M. Hanna:  I’ve included in the handout my statement on clinical faculty.  It may be that the new VP of Human Resources can help us with this.  A trustee said that it looks as though a category of faculty was created, and no one was watching it. [See attachment: M. Hanna’s “report to the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees, September 10, 1999]


M. Hanna:  Before we lose everyone, there was a discussion one of my colleagues had with Dr. Jackson that I was asked to share.  A discussion in which it was said that tenure would become a possibility at Hartford, and that framing Hartford issues in terms of a possible negative impact on tenure might not be relevant.


M. Rea:  Why are you telling us this?


M. Hanna:  Because I was told that we should talk about it.


M. Rea:  Are we done talking about it?


R. Parson:  If we have a President and Provost who stress the importance of tenure, it will change the nature of our discussion.


M. Rea:  With all due respect, isn’t that up to us to decide?  Are you suggesting that because the President told us not to worry about it, we shouldn’t?  Haven’t we gotten a quite predictable administrator’s response?


M. Hanna:  There is one other point I would like to bring up.  In the past, the President of the Faculty Senate has been invited to the Trustees meeting.  This Saturday, I was uninvited.  And I wasn’t the only one.  Deans were uninvited.  Vice Presidents were uninvited unless they were giving a presentation.  So we’re going back to the way things were before Dr. Pipes.


N. Rolnick:  Any explanation?


M. Hanna:  I was told that it was not a format that was favored anymore.  We shouldn’t take it as routine that we will observe.  I don’t think it’s geared specifically at us.  Only the President and her immediate staff attended the meeting.


R. Parson:  This might be part of an effort to get the trustees to pull back from involvement in day-to-day activities on campus.


J. McLaughlin:  The chair of the Planning and Resources Committee attends the Trustee’s Finance Committee.  I suggest a report on what happened at the Finance Committee be included when Trustee Committee reports are given to the Faculty Senate.


Motion to adjourn. 4:00


Prepared by K. Fortun, Recording Secretary