Faculty Senate Meeting



Present: R. Diwan, S. Anderson-Gold, A. Kapila, M. Hanna, R. Parsons, A. Desrochers, S. Derby, K. Fortun, K. Craig [FSCC], R. Norsworthy, P. Hajela, A. Van Epps, P. Boyce


Absent: J. Haddock, K. Jansen, R. Leifer, P. Quinn, N. Rolnick, L. Winner [P&T], J. McLaughlin [P&R]


Guests: C. McIntyre [Presidentís Office], B. Degeneff [for J. McLaughlin, P&R], G. Gabriele [for D. Daves], Bruce Carlson



Approval of Minutes from the 11/30/99 and 1/11/00 Meetings

Changes to Promotion and Tenure Committee

Update on Planning and Resources Committee Report on the Rensselaer Plan

Course Scheduling Ė Mike Hanna

New Business Ė Evaluation of Administrators


Approval of the Minutes from the 11/30/99 and 1/11/00 Meetings

M. Hanna: Iíd like to call the meeting to order and make a motion to approve two sets of Minutes Ė from the last meeting in December and the first meeting of this semester.We werenít able to approve these at our last meeting since we didnít have a quorum Ė since we had to meet on Thursday because of the snow storm.


[Both sets of Minutes approved.]


Changes to Promotion and Tenure Committee

M. Hanna: The first item on the agenda is to discuss the three positions that need to be filled on the P&T Committee.The proposal is to replace Langdon Winner, an at-large member, with V. Roytburd from the Math Department; Mark Rea, who fills the Architecture position is to be replaced by Peter Boyce; David Hess, the H&SS member will be replaced by Cheryl Geisler.


These are semester-long replacements.It is Langdonís last semester, so Victor will serve out the rest of his term.David has another year left in his term after this one, which he will return to fill if he doesnít need to continue as Acting Chair of the STS department.Mark Rea will return after his sabbatical.


I make a motion to approve these replacements.Discussion?


A. Desorchers: Are the positions still going to be staggered such that no more than three people are turning over in one year?


P. Hajela: Iím unclear. When someone goes on sabbatical, is there an assumption that they will return afterwards? This shouldnít be the case. The continuity of service on the committee is important.


M. Hanna: Peter Boyce was only able to replace Mark Rea for one semester.It is confusing, but we might lose possible replacements if we require that they serve out the term.


P. Hajela: The question before this body is whether we should endorse a semester replacement or only full term replacements.


A. Desrochers: It isnít good for the process to have people turning over.


M. Hanna:Weíve got a split here as to what people have agreed to.Do we want to vote on the motion as it is?


A. Desrochers: If Iím not mistaken, I think the Constitution says that the positions must be filled for the completion of the term.


M. Hanna: Then we can vote on at least two of the three, to help the P&T committee out.


R. Parson: Iíll offer a friendly amendment to the original motion: that we vote only on the two people who can serve out the full term: C. Geisler to replace David Hess; V. Roytburd to replace Langdon Winner.Second: P. Hajela.


In favor 10. 1 abstention.


J. Norsworthy: Iíd like to suggest that in making our replacements we not go more than one layer deep.The person who is third often doesnít have a minimal number of votes.


M. Hanna: These replacements arenít always based on old ballots.Sometimes people run unopposed. In some schools, since it must be a full professor, there arenít a lot of choices.


Update on Planning and Resources Committee Report on the Rensselaer Plan

M. Hanna: I would like to go on to the next item: a report from the Planning and Resources Committee to Shirley Jackson, which was not formally approved by the Senate because of the snow storm two weeks ago.We did have what could be called an informational Senate meeting on Thursday of that week, but didnít have a quorum so couldnít approve it.We did agree that it was best that the memo go forward and that we seek approval today.Bob Degeneff is here today for Joyce [McLaughlin], to answer any questions we have.


[a copy of the P&R report is attached]


R. Parsons: I would like to make a motion that we accept the report.


M. Hanna: We do have more information. Steve [Derby]?


S. Derby: As a member of the Rensselaer Alumni Association, I had the privilege of hearing these issues addressed last Friday and Saturday.There was agreement all around that the first draft of the plan is deficient in many ways.And many of the issues important for the alumni are important for us as faculty. President Jackson addressed many of these issues Ė often directly.Iíve passed around my notes for the meeting.


[Rensselaer Alumni Association / Feb 4-5, 2000 Meeting Notes / Steve Derby

  1. 25 Alumni met with Doyle Daves Friday and President Jackson Saturday
  2. Both stated First Draft of Rensselaer Plan was deficient in many areas.They anticipate that many of the Faculty/Alumni questions will be better addressed in next version due out Feb 15th.
  3. Alumni asked questions that covered most all of Faculty Senate concerns.President Jackson had quality answers for many of these questions.
  4. The Faculty have been heard and Alumni drove home most major points.
  5. Undergraduate teaching must continue to excel.
  6. Existing research from Schools and Department must continue to excel.
  7. New constellations of IT and Biotech will be niche areas that must draw upon existing RPI Schools and Department strengths. Cannot take on all competitors in all areas.
  8. Art Sanderson, VP of Research, will head group to determine 6 constellation areas this Spring/Summer.
  9. Deans/Department Chairs will have to perform tough assessments. Some research areas/Centers may get phased out to fund new constellations.
  10. President Jackson wants Faculty and Alumni response to next version of Plan by March 15th.
  11. Alumni stated that ďif everything verbally covered in todayís discussion was in the next version of the Plan, then it will be a great document.Ē]


I wish I knew what was going to be in the next draft.I donít.But I do feel like our concerns have been heard.I was encouraged.


M. Hanna: We need a plan for responding to the next draft of the plan, which will be released on February 15 Ė which is next week.


K. Fortun: It is in previous Minutes that we agreed to ask the President to join us to discuss the Plan.


M. Hanna: Iíll pass on the sentiment that we would like a meeting with President Jackson.


P. Hajela: I suggest that we ask the Planning and Resources Committee to join us for that meeting.


M. Hanna: Iíd like to call the question Ė on the motion that Bob [Parsons] put forward earlier: to approve the report from the P&R Committee on the first draft of the Rensselaer Plan.Second: P. Hajela.


M. Hanna: Discussion?


K. Craig: Iíd like to discuss how initiatives like this proceed Ė faculty are asked for input, but it really is a done deal.This has happened on many initiatives and I think it shows in the low response for the first draft of the Plan.Because faculty think that the decisions have already been made, they donít bother responding.


This document [the P&R Committee report] addresses the what Ė the content of the Plan Ė but not the how.It doesnít address issues about how the Plan was arrived at.


R. Parsons: This process was much more open than earlier processes.One problem here is that with such a general document, it is difficult to assess whatís in there and whatís not.


S. Derby: The proof will be in the draft released next week.Weíll see if faculty input has been included.


M. Hanna: Even so, I think Kevinís point is important: faculty here do think they are enrolled only to be ignored.


B. Degeneff: There was a 7% response to the Plan.


J. Norsworthy: We canít exonerate everyone for not responding just because they have been ignored before.People have a responsibility to respond.


P. Boyce: Part of the problem is that the first draft of the Plan is so broad that no one was threatened Ė there was a lot to respond to.


The RealCom comments, for example.Didnít RealCom provide a response to the first draft of the Plan Ė addressing how their earlier reports had been acknowledged?Will the questions raised by RealCom be responded to?


P. Hajela: We have been told that the questions raised by RealCom will be responded to.But I donít expect the second draft to be any more specific than the first draft.If anything it is going to be more general.


C. McIntyre: The next draft does express some of the concerns addressed in the RealCom process.And it does include a description of our strengths.More specifics on new research areas wonít be there.


P. Hajela: More inclusion of our current strengths wonít keep the report from being general Ė that should have been there from the outset.


M. Hanna: Call the question?


K. Fortun: Clarification. The next meeting, two weeks from now, we will be focusing on the next draft of the Plan. And visitors from the administration will be invited to join us?


M. Hanna: Thatís correct. Motion passed to approve P&R Committee report.


Course Scheduling Ė Mike Hanna

Our next item is the scheduling.The proposal had to go forward last week, again without Senate discussion or approval because of the snow storm.Students did vote.



  • Brought to attention of faculty senate by student senate (98).
  • Brought to attention of Calendar Committee by students.
  • BoT Academic Affairs committee concerned about compression into 4 days.


Current distribution of Class times:

  • M/W/F 101 (classes)
  • M/W 203
  • M/R 2
  • T/R 296
  • M/W/R18
  • T/R/F 21


Work done to date:

  • Initial proposal made to Senate
  • Prototype Scheduling Committee formed and reviews proposal
  • Alternative proposal developed, reviewed and presented to Senate
  • Senate proposed 9-5 classes, this is reviewed and simulated
  • Both final proposals presented to Student Senate for review (8/23)


Proposed time patterns:

  • Courses meeting twice a week, 80-110 minutes per meeting
  • Monday & Thursday with start times of 8, 10, 12, 2, 4, 6
  • Tuesday & Friday with start times of 8, 10, 12, 2, 6
  • M/W to M/R; T/R to T/F
  • T and F 4-6 reserved as unscheduled time
  • Courses meeting 3 times a week, 50-80 minutes per meeting
  • Mon, Wed, Thurs: start times at 8 (50 minute class), 8:30 (80 minute class) 10, 12, 2, 4, 6
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: start times at 8 (50 minute class), 8:30 (80 minute class), 10,12,2,6
  • 4-6 on Tuesday not allowed
  • M/W/F classes moved to M/W/R or T/W/F.


Distribution Guidelines:

  • Deans/Department Chairs will be required to evenly distribute classes between the standard patterns.
  • For example, classes meeting twice a week in a department should be evenly divided between M/R and T/F.
  • This restriction does not apply to multi-section classes where all the sections of a common class are allowed to meet on the same weekly schedule.


Scheduling Committee:

  • Composed of representatives from each school, FoIT, and selected departments.
  • Purpose:
    • To reduce and/or resolve potential scheduling conflicts.
    • To make maximum use of the available scheduling hours
    • To review and approve exemptions
    • To review scheduling guidelines every academic year


Scheduling Guidelines:

  • Exemptions to the scheduling patterns can be requested to accommodate special restrictions.
  • No classes can be scheduled for longer than 3 hours for a single meeting without prior approval from the Dean of Undergraduate Education.It is expected that some classes (such as labs and design studios) will readily receive approval.



  • Proposals have been developed and reviewed by Scheduling Committee
  • Proposal 1 has been reviewed by Scheduling Committee and is feasible.
  • Proposal 2 overloads the 9-11 slot and may end up pushing more documents into the evening.
  • Proposal 1 is favored by students.]


S. Anderson-Gold: Did the Student Senate actually vote on this?


M. Hanna: This was initiated at a joint Student/Faculty Senate meeting last March.


S. Anderson-Gold: Did they vote on this concept Ė the switch to a M/R and T/F format?


G. Gabriele: They did vote Ė in January.They had an option of not endorsing the proposal.


A. Desrochers: I donít understand the emphasis on how students voted. Doesnít this regard how the courses are taught Ė and thus itís a faculty responsibility Ė not a matter of when students want to play softball?I find it hard to believe that this schedule is going to be beneficial to the teaching of engineering curriculum.


S. Anderson-Gold: The issue of whether students voted or not is important because this is how the new schedule is being justified.


S. Derby: Can I ask Gary a question? Is this done elsewhere? This way of spreading classes throughout a week?


G. Gabriele: I donít think many places have as many classes in two-hour time slots.


A. Desrochers: There are at Boston University and I think Cornell.All engineering courses at BU are in two-hour blocks Ė and their real estate is at a premium.I think they use a standard M-W-F / T-R routine, depending on whether people want to teach in 75 minute or two hour blocks.


G. Gabriele: I would like to add one thing: The students have said that having a light Wednesday really is a desirable week for them Ė those that were able to arrange it in the past have had very good semesters.Both schedules had this Ė but the second one pushed more classes into the evenings, which the students were very opposed to.


R. Parsons: Iím very glad weíre moving on this.But I think we are voting on the wrong thing.I think we should be voting on the process, not the product.Youíve come up with something we can try here.But there needs to be a continuing process of evaluation.


G. Gabriele: I think you are right. We should be voting on the process.And there will be a continual process of evaluation.The scheduling Committee will send a regular report to the FSCC.


J. Norsworthy: Can that report be sent to the Senate?


M. Hanna: It will be forwarded here, since the FSCC is a Senate Committee.


K. Fortun: Will this process of evaluation allow for the possibility that the new schedule may need to be upended entirely Ė moving us back to a more traditional M-W-F schedule?


G. Gabriele: We now have a committee in place that can look at and evaluate the various proposals weíve heard from the faculty.We havenít had time to do that so far. But the process is working.


M. Hanna: Bruce [Carlson], a member of the Scheduling Committee is here.


B. Carlson: I WAS a member of the Scheduling Committee.Iíve resigned.


S. Anderson-Gold: The FSCC didnít approve this proposal.


G. Gabriele: Thatís not correct.They didnít approve an earlier proposal; this one is different.


S. Anderson-Gold: Did they approve this proposal?


G. Gabriele: No one asked them to.


K. Craig: We [the FSCC] voted on the process, not on the proposal itself.


S. Anderson-Gold: Should we see the current proposal as an experiment? Is that how the administration sees it?


G. Gabriele:The proposal will be re-evaluated a year from now, before we start the process again.


K. Fortun: Bruce [Carlson], you are a member of the Scheduling Committee.I assume as a minority voice.Can you comment on the structure and process? Is it sustainable?


B. Carlson: Weíve never noted, so I guess there is no process.


G. Gabriele: We always came to mutual agreement.We agreed to investigate the first proposal, for example.


B. Carlson: You told us to go investigate and the proposal was found wanting.


G. Gabriele: I asked.


A. Kapila: It appears that the experiment is going to go on one way or the other, so why donít we observe the experiment and continue our evaluation process.I would like to see a more formal description of the process.


S. Anderson-Gold: Iím a little uncomfortable with voting on the process because it seems to imply endorsement of the specific proposal.


K. Craig: What is the problem here? Is it that people think that there is not a problem or that the way the solution was developed was inappropriate?


B. Carlson: Many people donít want to teach T-F.Particularly in the Schools of Architecture and Management.Many faculty in these schools commute.Also, T-F classes are necessarily constrained between ten and four.Thatís very restrictive.


P. Boyce: I have two comments.First: we canít vote about the process until we know more about what the process is.Second: the three-day a week demand by faculty canít be the priority.It has educational value to switch to a five-day week.If this gets in the way of someone having an architectural practice down in NYC thatís too bad.


R. Parsons: We can vote to ask Gary to bring back to the Senate a more thorough description of the process including clarification of how we are going to evaluate the Fall semester before we begin scheduling for another year.I make a motion.Second: K. Craig.


In favor: 8. One abstention.


New Business Ė Evaluation of Administrators

M. Hanna: One more item. Evaluating Chairs and Deans.We used to do it; it hasnít been done in a long time.


The question has come to us: do we want to be in this business again? If so, what mechanisms would we use to set up an evaluation system? We need to think about this, though we probably wonít be able to address it in the next meeting Ė since weíll be discussing the next draft of the Rensselaer Plan Ė with the President, if she accepts our invitation to join us.


Adjourn. 4:00.


Prepared by K. Fortun, Recording Secretary.


Attached: Memo to President Jackson from the Faculty Senate and the Planning and Resources Committee