Faculty Senate Minutes

1/31/01

 

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. Boyce, G. Korenowski, B. Parson, G. Belfort,

 

Absent: R. Gutmann, K. Craig, K. Fortun, A. Dyson, P. Quinn,

 

Guests: G. Gregg

 

Original Minutes of 1/31/2001

Agenda

Approval of 11/28/2000 Minutes

Performance Plan

Senate Representation for Hartford and Clinical Faculty on Troy Campus – Linnda Caporael

 

Approval of 11/28/2000 Minute

President Prabhat Hajela called the meeting to order and asked for the approval of the Minutes from the 11/28/2000 meeting.  The Minutes were unanimously approved

 

Performance Plan – Curt Breneman

Curt Breneman gave a presentation on the Performance Plan.

 

Prabhat asked if department consolidation is a final goal.  From what he understands there has been no final decision made concerning department consolidation. Cut Breneman asked how the admission process will be handled in the future.  Provost Peterson responded that they are in the process of forming a committee to look into the process.  The President would like to form a process called “Admission to Rensselaer”.  The current process is as such that a student is admitted into a particular school. The new process would be that a student would be admitted into Rensselaer as a whole.  This would eliminate having different admission criteria for different programs. This is the direction the President would like to move towards.  How this will be accomplished is still unclear.

 

Curt Breneman stated that in terms of faculty evaluation it seems that the Institute is trying to move towards a unified process among the different schools. The Provost said he has sent a memo to the Deans with his impression of what the annual performance evaluation process should consist of:

 

·Each year every faculty member would be asked to fill out an activity form that describes his or her activity for the year.

 

·Every faculty member would have an opportunity to meet with his or her supervisor (dean or chair) to discuss the activity report.

 

·A written report of the discussion, which both parties would sign. (not that they both have to agree the contents of the report)

 

·The discussion and activity summary report then can be used as a part of the determination of merit increases.

 

Curt Breneman stated the following concerns:

·Making the faculty evaluations more like the staff evaluations

·It is perceived as a bad thing because faculty tend not to be able to write down what their job goals were for the last year. The form Curtis Powell originally handed out seemed threatening, because there was no way to map traditional faculty activities.  Provost Peterson said that a very reasonable way to approach that evaluation is to explain “where this is going” and to ask “How do you see yourself contributing to this?” and “How do you contribute to the organization?”  Then next year evaluate how well the goals were achieved.

 

Curt Breneman asked that in the final process of the budget 90%, 100%, 110% exercise, will Dr. Jackson just go down the list stating who gets 90, who gets 100 and who gets 110?  Provost Peterson stated that Dr. Jackson will make the ultimate decision on the budget, but that the process is a very involved.  The Deans have presented their budget request to the entire cabinet. After each presentation, the President and the Cabinet have a session discussing where the strengths are and how it plays out into the whole plan.

 

Curt Breneman said his intention was to ask whether the scenario played out by various department Chairs regarding the three options will play into these discussions.  The Provost stated that his expectation will be closer to 110% then we will be to 90%.

 

Mike Hanna said it would be nice if a faculty member was to sit through the presentations to the Cabinet by the Deans and by any unit that have an impact on academics.  It might help for the rest of the faculty to believe that someone was present who would comment if something was wrong or off the wall.  Provost Peterson thinks that is the responsibility of the Provost.  Mike said that the Senate is an elective body of the faculty (this is not meant to downgrade the role of the Provost at all.)  But as elected members of the faculty he thinks the rest of the faculty would be more comfortable knowing that somebody is there who knows what is going on and could at least stop rumors, etc. He thinks that the Provost coming to the Senate meetings makes an amazing difference in that, but he still thinks that communications need to be improved beyond that.

 

Curt Breneman said there is a perception out there, true or not, that the Faculty Senate grass roots should be represented at the highest level, probably by the Chair. Provost Peterson said he is not offended, but he does believe that is the responsibility of the Provost.  The Provost represents the faculty to the administration of the institution.

 

Steve Derby thinks it would be good to get a memo from the Provost directly once in awhile.  Even with all his good intentions, by the time the information filters through the Deans/Chairs it has a totally different translation.

 

Senate Representation for Hartford Faculty and Clinical Faculty on Troy Campus – Linnda Caporael

Prabhat stated that at the last meeting, Mike Hanna gave a presentation in which he outlined the steps that would have to be undertaken in order to allow the Clinical Faculty to have representation in the Senate.  These included: 

· A change in the senate handbook

·Increasing the strength of the Senate to include designated participation from these two groups.

 

Linnda Caporael gave a presentation with two different amendments introduced for discussion.

 

Steve Derby stated that her intention is to have something that can be done now to get Hartford representation, but as things change later something else may need to be done.  Mike Hanna said this differs from the amendment that he put out previously.  These would not change the main body of the Constitution but be added at the end of the Constitution as amendments. Part of the reasoning for this is that the situation may change over time.  It is cleaner to keep these separate rather then put them together within the Constitution.  Linnda stated that each amendment will add one more person. 

 

Richard Leifer asked why can’t just one person be added to represent all clinical faculty.  Linnda said it was an excellent question, but do that that, the formal definition of what faculty means in the Handbook would have to be changed.  Mike Hanna had discussed this in his presentation.  What this amendment does is to try to achieve representation for two groups who have not had it before, and there is some sense that there should be representation.  The issue of representation is separate from the issue of making a decision about the state of the clinical faculty. This allows the issue to be side-stepped.

 

Richard Leifer asked why two are needed.  He said that it could be argued for one or two and others could argue that they have no representation.  Linnda said the reason she proposed two amendments, which would have two people on, is that she thinks it would be difficult to have someone at RPI (Troy) represent someone at RPI (Hartford). She does not think this would work, as there are fundamental differences in interests.  The purpose of this amendment is to recognize those differences and bring in two voices about the state of clinical faculty on the two campuses.  This would allow the Faculty Senate to have discussions with people who have experience in those roles.

 

Gerald Korenowski said that the real issues have not been addressed.  He thinks the faculty should vote to decide if Clinical faculty should have representation and if the faculty believe that Clinical faculty should have representation, then decide on how to put amendments in the Constitution.  Right now it looks like this is being slipped through the back door and it is going to be perceived that way by the majority of the faculty.  He believes the faculty needs to be asked if the Clinical faculty need/deserve representation.

 

Linnda confirmed his suggestion in that he is proposing that at the next General Faculty Meeting, there should be a vote on whether the Clinical faculty should have the role of faculty member.  Gerald said yes and whether they should have representation.  Linnda said “No”, this is an issue that in fact the Senate is trying to side step.  There is a national thing about the relationship of tenure and non-tenure faculty.  Gerald suggested the touch issue be faced and dealt with since it will have to be dealt with sooner or later.  Linnda agreed that it has to be dealt with and asked for suggestions.

 

Provost Peterson suggested that one possible solution would be to do an amendment that would change the definition of faculty to include clinical faculty in additional to associate, assistant, full professor, etc.  Add clinical faculty to that list, which would address the issue head-on.

 

Linnda asked the Provost if his office is engaged right now in trying to assess all faculty categories and trying to reduce the number of categories and clarifying the roles of the groups.  She said it does not make sense to have a different kind of work going on when these two works impact each other.  The Provost agreed, however, when the committee he is working with has made a decision on what to do with the faculty titles, and if they decide to do away with clinical faculty, there will still be clinical faculty who will be at the Institute for five years by appointment.  He does not we are necessarily at odds.  He is not sure that the amendments as proposed will last for five years.

 

Gerald Korenowski suggested that it be brought to the faculty to inform them and then get their input on it.  Linnda asked Gerald “What your recommendation would be is not to go and ask if the clinical faculty be added to this existing list.”  He replied “Why not at the next General meeting we bring this issue up and ask for input.”  Mike Hanna said it can be brought up as an amendment or as a discussion point.  Certainly as an amendment, there will be a great chance of getting more faculty turnout at the meeting.  He feelings are that either the terms of the amendment be changes as proposed last time or it can be done by this mechanism.  The Senate needs to agree on what position to take.  It is not required to bring an amendment to the Senate for approval; it just takes signatures of ten faculty members and the right timing to allow an amendment to be bought to a General Faculty meeting.

 

Linnda listed the issues:

·Whether clinical faculty should be considered as regular faculty

·Whether clinical faculty should have representation; one can have representation without necessarily being redefined as faculty.

·Any amendment that faculty senate brings forward to the general faculty that raises the issue of clinical faculty has the chance being voted up or down by the faculty.

 

As the Faculty Senate, it can be going forward in terms of representation for Clinical faculty, without having to make the commitment or response to the issues at this point and time.

 

Linnda Caporael made a motion for Amendment#1 and that the Faculty Senate endorses this amendment and then takes it to the general faculty for a vote.

 

10 in favor, 2 abstentions

 

Richard Leifer suggested that the background information about this amendment be attached since sometimes the rationale of the discussion is lost later on.

 

Adjournment

Meeting adjourned 5:00 p.m.