Faculty Senate Minutes
1/17/01

Present: P. Hajela, M. Hanna, K. Anderson, C. Breneman, B. Peterson, L. Kammerer,

S. Anderson-Gold, S. Derby, M. Embrechts, J. Erickson, J. Mitchell, R. Leifer, L. Caporael,

P. Quinn,


Absent: R. Gutmann, K. Craig, P. Boyce, G. Korenowski, K. Fortun, B. Parson, G. Belfort, A. Dyson,

 

Guests:V. Gregg

 

Original Minutes of 1/17/01

Agenda

Summary on Clinical Faculty - Mike Hanna

Lecturer vs. Instructor Discussion

Hartford Representation on Faculty Senate

Discussion with Virginia Gregg Vice President of Finance

Adjourn

 

 

Summary on Clinical Faculty - Mike Hanna

President Prabhat Hajela called the meeting to order. Mike Hanna, Chair of the Faculty, presented an overview of Clinical Faculty. (see attached)


Provost Bud Peterson stated that Professional Distance Education use to work as a separate entity that functioned on it's own. It would collect revenue from students and then pay the schools so they could pay the instructors and pay the Provost and President a small amount, and then the remainder would be kept for operating expenses. The way PDE function has been changed is that funds that used to go from PDE were given to the schools so they could hire people to teach the distance courses. This amount has been added to their base line budget, so they can hire tenure track faculty. A very large amount of money has been added to the base budget of the schools so that they can use those funds and count on having those funds to support PDE courses.This transition will take awhile. There are a number of faculty who have earned a significant amount of money by teaching additional PDE courses. There is a move away from that type of practice as there are other things the faculty are supposed to be doing.What the current practice does, is to make a faculty member decide if they are going to spend their time writing papers, pursuing research or teaching an extra course so they can make extra money. You might get a merit raise for writing papers and doing research but you don't get any additional personal resources. We are trying to track the money back into the schools. With this idea the schools would then be able to hire tenure track faculty, instead of people in place that are classified as clinical or adjunct faculty. This new process would allow us to hire more tenure track faculty.

 

Senator Richard Leifer asked if this means that PDE courses would count as part of a faculty's normal workload. Provost Peterson responded that it would count as the faculty normal workload. Not that the faculty would have to do everything that they were doing before and the PDE course as part of their load. Instead of getting extra compensation for extra courses, the PDE course would be part of the normal load and compensation.

This is consistent with the idea that there are undergraduate, graduate education and education for the working professional all as part of the workload. This does not apply to short courses at this time.

Senator Mark Embrechts asked what happens if a faculty member refuses to teach a PDE course unless it is for extra compensation. The Provost responded that if PDE will be made a part of the normal load, this issue may come up. He added that right now, it is in the transition process and he hopes it would not turn into a confrontational situation. There are enough faculty and enough people to work around this. Ten years from now, distance education is going to be a fundamental component of education in every institution of higher education. Ten years from not it is not going to be possible for a faculty member to say, "I'm not teaching distance courses." The necessary support needs to be provided in order to do it well.

 

Steve Derby, Recording Secretary said that to teach a PDE course it takes extra work. For example, one may get paid approximately $5,000 to teach a PDE course which in the end amounts to being paid minimum wage for hundreds of extra hours. If the extra compensation faculty receives for teaching a PDE course is removed, there will be faculty who refuse to teach a PDE course. Provost Peterson asked everyone to remember that it is being built in as a part of the normal faculty load. It does not mean that teaching a PDE course is the same as teaching an on-campus course.

 

Curt Breneman asked what happens in a situation where a person is allowed to decide on just how much consulting work they wish to engage in and still be able to do their job. The Provost stated yes, but that in consulting one would expect to get additional compensation. What is happening now is that Distance Education is now being treated like consulting. It is done with extra compensation. There is an effort to move away from that. There are department Chairs that have indicated that they have faculty not involved in some of the things Rensselaer wants to do because they are opting to do other things and get an additional salary.

 

Richard Leifer asked that before the details of amending the Constitution are discussed, he asked whether everyone has to agree to amend the Constitution. He added that the last time this issue came before the Senate, there was a lot of controversy on how to proceed with the issue of clinical faculty. He believes the Senate needs to resolve this issue before moving forward on changing the Constitution. Chair Mike Hanna stated that no decision has been made to amend the Constitution. He agreed that there had been a lot of controversy and that was the reason to discuss it again. The Provost added that he thinks the point is that the Faculty Senate does not have to agree to amend the Constitution. If ten faculty members put forward a motion on an issue, it then can be amended.

 

Lecturer vs. Instructor

Sharon Anderson-Gold, Senator asked if they were arguing for some type of long-term commitment or contract for clinical faculty. Mike Hanna stated that with the amendment he proposed, Clinical Faculty will receive longer-term commitments than any other category. He thinks keeping someone at an instructor's status for ten years is being abusive. The difference between a lecturer and instructor were then reviewed. A lecture is a practitioner appointed to present a specific program, course or lecture series during a specific semester or academic year. An instructor is an individual who will move to the tenure track with the title of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor, upon completion of doctoral work or other duties that are necessary for tenure-track appointment. The Provost stated the instructor title is being used for faculty that are hired in a tenure-track position but have not yet formally received their terminal degree. This is a fall back because they cannot be hired in a tenure-track position unless they have a terminal degree and they can't get the terminal degree if they are in a tenure position. So they are put in with an instructor title. That is the way the title of instructor is being used. He added that they are trying not to hire people into instructor-title positions.

 

Linnda Caporael, Vice President stated that it seemed to her that the lecturer definition is frequently used to describe a clinical faculty member. Provost Peterson said that that is one of the reasons they are looking at all these positions because it is very difficult for him to try and delineate the difference between all these titles. Linnda said that she is appalled that we are using young people who are three years away from getting their PhD, but they have taken on all the same responsibilities of a tenure track faculty. The Provost stated that they are trying to clean this up but it's not clear, even in the Handbook. Before the title of Clinical was added it was a little clearer.

 

Hartford Representation on Faculty Senate

Richard Leifer stated that since the University is classified as "one" Rensselaer, and there are six members at-large, why couldn't one or more of the at-large members come from Hartford. Mike Hanna said that he supposed it was not necessary decreased by one, but then again he didn't see any danger if this did occur. Richard said that in the past it has been specified that all at-large members came from Troy. He asked if it was possible that a person from Hartford could be in contention for one of the members at-large positions. Prabhat asked if it could be possible to expand to five or six, one from each school. The Provost stated that the way it is written it is conceivable that there is one representative from Hartford and all six at-large members could be from Hartford. Mike Hanna added that the intent is simply to guarantee a representative from Hartford.

 

Linnda Caporael, Vice President, asked why Hartford does not have its own Faculty Senate. Provost Peterson said that Hartford has practiced as a separate school for many years. They have a Vice President and their Human Resource person reports to the Vice President. We have recently changed the structure at Hartford because of the one Rensselaer concept that was put forth in the Rensselaer Plan. Virginia Gregg is head of Finance and the Hartford people report to her. Now there is one Vice President for Finance and one Vice President for Human Resources and one Provost for Rensselaer. So shouldn't the Faculty Senate try to follow that same model? Rensselaer is moving toward treating Hartford as a separate academic school, (like the School of Engineering, the Lally School of Management & Technology and Hartford as a school.) The academic Dean at Hartford would have a reporting structure similar to the other Deans.That is the direction in which Rensselaer is moving towards in terms of administrative structure. He believes that a single Faculty Senate is consistent with that.

 

Mike Hanna, Chair of the Faculty, stated that a few months ago, four faculty members went to Hartford for a meeting. More than half of the faculty was present and it was clearly stated that they had no intention of establishing or wanting their own Faculty Senate. But they definitely wanted faculty representation as they feel there is enough differences in the schools to warrant a representative. Provost Peterson stated that if they have a separate Faculty Senate then they could set up a process for approving course curriculum and tenure promotion criteria and that is not the direction the Institution is moving. A single faculty group should be sought, one Rensselaer.

 

Sharon Anderson-Gold asked that in the second part of the proposal, is it thinking in terms of separating the issues of enfranchising Hartford because it is the thing to do or because it has been an issue for so long? She said she would be interested in the theory because she thinks the issues of titles need to be cleared up before we proceed further into this lengthy process. Mike Hanna explained was has held up resolving this issue: cleaning up of job descriptions (he believes this is occurring or will occur); he does not think the class of clinical faculty will go away and the issue needs to be resolved; the ability to bring someone noteworthy here to fulfill a tenure-track position without having to call him or her a continuing adjunct. (an adjunct should be someone who does not make a living from being on the payroll) Sharon asked if this can be dealt with as a separate issue or can Hartford be dealt with first. Mike asked how allowing people from Hartford to be partially enfranchised and not allowing the people on our own campus having the same title not be enfranchised be justified. That is the reason he proposed these two amendments. Both amendments are necessary to achieve the goal.
 

Discussion with Virginia Gregg, Vice President for Finance

Virginia Gregg's presentation

Senator Sharon Anderson-Gold stated that years ago, there was talk about faculty salary. She asked Vice President Gregg if faculty salary will come under consideration again, although it is not part of the strategy of the performance plan. Virginia Gregg replied that it has certainly been a topic of conversation on terms of expectation. She said that it goes along with promotion and tenure standards. Provost Peterson added that the Vice President for Human Resources is going to do an analysis of salary structure for each of the schools at Rensselaer and compare them to the national average and market value.That process is started and is ongoing and hopefully be complete at the end of the semester. He has been looking at different position and salary structure for different positions. He started with the lowest paid and did a complete analysis and a restructure of those salaries.

 

Mike Hanna asked a question on the new budget. Although it is not in place yet, he asked why the motion of -10% to +10% is being gone through. Virginia Gregg said the exercise is to be able to do a recalculation of how our money is being spent. It does not mean it will be used to take items away. It just allows for understanding on how the budgets align with the performance plan. All the portfolio owners are being made to look at what items they would include, if they were allotted more money and what they would do differently at a lower amount.This is a very painful but useful process. Provost Peterson added that a structure and budget process was needed. If someone wants to do something within the organization, the Administration needs to know how important it is and it needs to be communicated to them. One way, for example, if the number of PhD's want to be increased, (which will take a certain amount of resources) what is the department willing to stop doing in order to achieve this. Everybody in an Administration position at all levels is being made to make these types of tradeoffs. It forces people to think about what is important, what the priorities are, and how important the new activity is that the department wants to undertake.

Adjournment 

Meeting adjourned 5:00 p.m.