Faculty Senate Meeting

4/4/2000

 

Present: M. Hanna, R. Parsons, A. Kapila, S. Derby, K. Craig, A. Desrochers, A. Van Epps, K. Fortun, R. Leifer, N. Rolnick, S. Anderson-Gold, P. Quinn, R. Diwan

 

Absent: P. Hajela, J. Norsworthy, P. Boyce, J. Haddock, K. Jansen

 

Guests: G. Gabriele [for Doyle Daves]

 

Agenda

Approval of Minutes from the 3/7/2000 and 3/21/2000 Faculty Senate Meetings

Discussion of General Faculty Meeting

Announcements and Progress on Nominations for Senate Positions

Provost Recommendations

The Scheduling Committee Ė Gary Gabriele, Vice Provost and Dean of UG Education

Discussion of Evaluation of Administrators

New Business

 

Approval of Minutes from the 3/7/2000 and 3/21/2000 Faculty Senate Meetings

M. Hanna: Iíd like to call the meeting to order and deal with the Minutes.We have two sets of Minutes; for the meeting of March 7, one of our members was there but was not recorded.With this amendment to the Minutes of March 7, can we approve both sets of Minutes? [unanimous]

 

Discussion of General Faculty Meeting

Our first agenda item is to discuss the General Faculty Meeting on April 12.An agenda has been circulated.Nominations for the elections will be taken from the floor.Provost Daves will have the last half of the meeting to discuss raises and other such issues.

 

This meeting will be different from previous years in one way.We will not acknowledge the deaths in our community during the meeting; there will be another service.[Plans are to have this service each year on Veterans Day.]

 

Announcements and Progress on Nominations for Senate Positions

Iíve passed around a rough election slate.We have a few more slots to fill.For the Recording Secretary, for example, no one at all is running.We have to find people for this.Please let me know what recommendations you have.

 

Provost Recommendations

The second item relates to our discussion last week regarding the Provostís search.I sent the results of our discussion to the committee and was told that they had already submitted their list of preferences to the President and so I was not sure what to do with or recommendations.

 

I looked over the schedules we had received earlier and found no indication of a deadline that we had missed.There isnít any.And there were even rumors of a fifth candidate.So I donít think there is a deadline we missed.On this basis, I decided to send our recommendations directly to the Presidentís Office.

 

R. Leifer: If they didnít want our input, why were we asked to interview the candidates?

 

M. Hanna: Good question.

 

The Scheduling Committee Ė Gary Gabriele, Vice Provost and Dean of UG Education

Now weíll hear from Gary [Gabriele] about the process through which the new schedule will be administered and monitored.

 

G. Gabriele: Iíve sent around a memo describing the process and the charge for the committee.

 

R. Leifer: Have your meetings gone smoothly so far?Have any problems already become apparent?

 

G. Gabriele: Very smoothly.Our meetings have gone well and weíve gotten everything done that we planned.We asked Professor Raghavachari from DSES to sit in the meeting, observe and make suggestions about value that can be added from his disciplinary perspective in particular.

 

N. Rolnick: Did the distribution between M-Th and T-F options work out?

 

G. Gabriele: Well enough. The distribution is pretty good, but we didnít enforce it strictly this Fall.We elected to enforce it gradually over the next few semesters.

 

K. Craig: The communication between Gary and the FSCC is good- free flowing, substantive.

 

K. Fortun: Who does a faculty member go to if they want to express concerns or inputs about the schedule?

 

K. Craig: Thatís a good question.Iím not sure.

 

G. Gabriele: I would rather not specify any one line of authority.A faculty member can go to the FSCC, to the Provostís office or to his or her own scheduler or chair.Hopefully all these processes are open.

 

M. Hanna: I would like to accept a motion to endorse this description of the operating procedures of the Scheduling Committee and the description of the general principles that guide the scheduling.In favor: 8, opposed: 1, abstentions: 1.

 

Discussion of Evaluation of Administrators

The discussion was sparked by discussion with colleagues in H&SS who pointed out that this once was a regular Institute practice.Administrators were evaluated by the faculty approximately every 3-5 years.

 

Members of the Executive Committee decided that they do support the evaluation of administrators and that they should appoint a committee to work out how.R. Parsons will chair that committee.

 

R. Parsons: This is a mechanism to promote communication between faculty and administrators.

 

R. Leifer:In the past, an instrument was developed to do this.It should be in the archives somewhere.

 

N. Rolnick: What is the purpose of these reviews?Iím always hesitant to get involved in something that isnít going to have an effect.

 

M. Hanna: One of the tasks of the Committee is to determine what the instrument looks like; another looks at what will be done with the information and another regards the frequency of the evaluations.

 

The intent is communication.The information, I would think, would be communicated to the person evaluated and to that personís supervisor.The evaluations would not be made public.

 

N. Rolnick: In evaluating my staff, the progress year-to-year is important.Thatís the most important thing to watch- if the point is not to weed out the bad, but to help people do their jobs better.

 

A. Desrochers: Thatís a very unique way of evaluating people.It isnít how it happens in Engineering.Weíre tallied up according to teaching evaluations and how much money weíve brought it.I do think the evaluation of administrators is informative.In the past, the facts painted a very clear picture.Some very positive, some not.Once chair had been in place almost nineteen years and everyone said he was wonderful.We need to learn from that guy.The comments on another chair were that he was never around.

 

P. Quinn: Is there a process in place now that doesnít involve the Senate, for faculty evaluation of administrators?I asked the question not to oppose the suggestion that we evaluate administrators.Iím asking if there is anything already going on that the Senate can contribute to.

 

M. Hanna: I know that we had a chair for seven years, who was never evaluated, which has nothing to do with whether he or she was doing a good job.

 

P. Quinn: Six years ago, faculty did have an opportunity to evaluate the Dean of Architecture.

 

J. McLaughlin: There was an evaluation of the Dean and Chairs of the School of Science in the last few years, handled by an outside firm in the early 1990s.

 

N. Rolnick: As chair, Iíve never been evaluated.I do think the Dean of H&SS was evaluated, a long time ago, sometime during the early 1980s.

 

S. Anderson-Gold: I think there has been a real change in the organizational model and culture here.Very rapidly, it has become very top-down with little input from faculty.There are other models.

 

A. Desrochers: Perhaps we could build on the kind of evaluations of faculty that Neil described.Perhaps they should be standardized across the Schools.Faculty should be asked if they accomplished what they wanted to accomplish.And if not, why not?Was it because they didnít have the resources they needed?We should know what kind of resources people need to do well.

 

R. Diwan: I think people have negative impressions of evaluating administrators because in the past, they mostly received a grade of D or F.But I think the administrators can come to appreciate the information that an evaluation produces.

 

P. Quinn: I think few people would disagree with the argument that administrators would benefit from being evaluated.The question regards how the Senate can contribute to the process and its continuance across time.

 

N. Rolnick: Is there a current procedure for evaluations from the top that faculty evaluations should be in synch with?

 

G. Gabriele: Chairs are about to be evaluated, as are people in the Provostís office.If faculty evaluations of administrators could be done alongside faculty evaluations, at the end of the Fall semester, then the faculty evaluations could be fed into the round of evaluations in the Spring.

 

K. Fortun: What information will faculty be given about the administrators they are evaluating?

 

P. Quinn:Two differentiations are important here.Between what is public and what is political.And between what is confidential and what is secret.

 

M. Hanna: Is there consensus that we should proceed with this? [Yes].Communicate with Bob [Parsons] any recommendations you have.

 

New Business

I need to bring up some new business.At the General Faculty meeting, Doyle [Daves] has agreed to discuss budgeting.There is an article in the most recent Review that raises questions that deserve discussion.The article says that the Institute will go to a performance-based budget model in fiscal year 2001-2002 and that fiscal year 2000-2001 will serve as a transition period.The upcoming budget, 2000-2001 will exclude incentives.And faculty positions that become vacant will revert to the Provost, effective immediately.

 

J. McLaughlin: Gary [Gabriele], can you elaborate?

 

G. Gabriele: This came up in the Deansí meeting on Monday.They know how to go forward.They donít see it as a big problem.

 

P. Quinn: Are you saying the article is premature and inaccurate?

 

G. Gabriele: No, but there can be inaccurate interpretations.

 

M. Hanna: The article is a statement of fact.Either it is so or it isnít.

 

S. Anderson-Gold: Can you read the passage?

 

M. Hanna: I quote: ďIn addition, faculty positions that become vacant will revert to the provost, beginning immediately, in order to give the Institute maximum flexibility to allocate resources to strategic purposes as identified in the Rensselaer Plan and resultant performance plans.

 

P. Quinn: It sounds even more ominous now; out of context it canít but be heard as draconian.

 

S. Anderson-Gold: It sounds like internal reallocation.

 

P. Quinn: Thatís a nice way to put it.Robbing Peter to pay Paul.

 

M. Hanna: We need clarification, about hires as well as about incentives.

 

I now need to adjourn.4:00