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Faculty Senate Minutes

10/10/00

 

Return to revised Minutes of 10/10/00

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

L. Caporael, K. Fortun, S. Derby,P. Boyce, G. Korenowski, R. Leifer, P. Quinn, J. Erickson,

Absent: M. Embrechts, J. Mitchell, S. Anderson-Gold, G. Belfort, A. Dyson, R. Gutmann, K. Craig

 

Guests:P Kauf, V. Gregg, D.Spooner, H. Scarton

 

P. Hajela:I'd like to call the meeting to order.Before we begin, I would like to distribute the minutes of the Sept. 26th meeting for your review. We will call for approval at our next meeting.

 

First item on the agenda is scheduling of the senate meeting for next semester. After a brief discussion, Wednesday from 3-5p.m. was found to be a convenient time for most faculty. P. Hajela will send a memo to all faculty not present to confirm if this time slot would be acceptable.

 

The student senate would like to schedule a joint meeting with the senators. Would the senate be willing to have this joint session?It was agreed to have a joint meeting with the student senate.P. Hajela will try to arrange for sometime in November, possibly Tuesday from4-6 p.m.P. Hajela will contract the student senate and see if this will be convenient for them.The purpose of this meeting is to receive student comments on a numbers of issues (etc. curriculum, the way education is being delivered, reviewing the academic integrity policy).If anyone has other ideas for discussion please send an e-mail to P. Hajela.

 

Second item on the agenda Ė The issue of Clinical Faculty presented by M. Hanna.(summary attached)

 

Third item on the agenda presentation by Art Sanderson on the strategic planning process related to research. (presentation attached)

 

Floor open to questions-

 

M. Hanna:Do you report directly to the president?

 

A. Sanderson: Yes

 

 

M. Hanna:In the planning process and other activities could you give us an idea of what the Provost's positions is?

 

A. Sanderson: In view of planning process, all academic units report to B. Peterson.The performance plans for all of the academic units go to the provost office, which will coordinate and integrate into the larger process.My performance plan is just looking at the set of activities that are related to research, while B. Peterson is looking at the whole academic apparatus for all the schools.

 

M. Hanna:Are the Academic and research interest actually at the Presidentís level?

 

A. Sanderson:I would like to view it as coordinated effort.

 

M. Hanna:In essence you are in charge of the research performance plan and B. Peterson is in charge of the academic performance plan.These are two activities that are always competing for resources, time and faculty.Somewhere there has to be a balance and this must come at the president level.

 

A. Sanderson: On the academic side itís not education versus research. Under the academic umbrella both research and education are the responsibility of the faculty.I believe that we both have a vested interested in faculty being successful, being attracted to RPI, and having a balanced career. Faculty being successful in research, will have an important role in faculty being successful on the education side as well.

 

P. Quinn:What is going to drive the research, especially in the Bio Tech field?Is it the market or is it some key questions or is there inter-dependence?

 

A. Sanderson:I think inter-dependent. This point has been a theme throughout this process.It's really a balancing act between being so all encompassing that you donít have meaningful focus or being so narrow in description that it constrains the way you can grow and evolve.I believe the specific answer for this is that the individual faculty will drive the process.The success is on the faculty perception of opportunities that may exist.

 

P. Quinn: The idea of concentrations or teams working to advance a field so that Rensselaer may be advanced, is different from the concept of advancing Rensselaer so that the field may be advanced.The other choices are between the critical mass and the range of individual (any or whom) may emerge to get the Nobel Prize. How do your foresee a system in which both systems work easily and without checks from one another.

 

A. Sanderson:I see your question as a tension between strategic planning and intellectual freedom to follow your instincts.

 

P. Quinn:Iím only focusing on the Bio-Technical or Bio informatics area.If we were to focus on a particular area, this would probably be the most rapidly changing area in the field of human knowledge.It seems to have two components in the market:

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b.       Individuals whom emerge and have an opportunity with new technology to accelerate their own work. I believe this possibility exists within the university.It is increasing difficult in the industrial market model for the individual not to be consumed into a focused/profit agenda.

 

 

A. Sanderson:We really donít want to choose to focus on one area, which is going to be dominated by the industrial or a larger group.This is probably not the direction we want to go.The area of genomics for example was not identified as a strategic priority because of the existing competition and reliance on large-scale infrastructure.

L. Caporael: Do you have any plans to have someone in your office to be the small proposal person?I would really like to see our own research strengths being grown here.

 

A. Sanderson: I would be interested in advise on the best way to do that.We have tried to make people aware of theopportunities.I believe this is an important aspect to the institution as whole. What mechanics should be used to facilitate this?I wouldbe interested in any suggestion on how to achieve this process.

 

P. Hajela:What is your vision on alternative models to grow the research enterprise. Our current model is one in which faculty or groups from the faculty develop and write proposals. Are there considerations to set up a research institute, and if so, how would that impact the faculty profile. Is everyone going to be in a tenure line, or are we going to have more research faculty.

 

A. Sanderson: One perspective to achieve the growth that's projected in the plan is to put emphasis on larger scale research efforts.In particular coordinated center and inter-disciplinary program.If we look at other institutes we are comparing ourselves to, this is the area of major difference.

P. Hajela: I am looking beyond research centers, perhaps at a model like the Georgia Tech Research Institute?

 

A. Sanderson:It is certainly worthwhile to consider but it works in different ways in different institutes.

I do not see this as a realistic option for RPI to create something like that. Usually to do that it would be done under major federal funding. My sense is that we are still one step away from something of that scale.We are at a stage of the learning curve which is focused on building major centers.The other aspect is if we are to grow at the rate that's been projected, we will need an increase in non-tenure faculty in the sciences.I would envision a growth of research faculty and non-tenure track scientists.

 

K. Anderson:It has been voiced as a concern among new faculty members and the number of associate professors that emphasis is bring placed on larger proposals, larger ticket items which may not be tied to their research area.†† Many of the faculty members can point to proposals that have been returned with the major criticism being the "lack of institute support". The opinion of many faculty is that this is a bad situation getting worse.Do you have any thoughts on how to allay these fears?

 

A. Sanderson:Several types of investments are part of this strategy - process looking at how you channel investments.There will be some sort of specific investment in these areas.In my growth modeling process only a fraction of the projected growth would ever come from being chairs in these areas.We will have to find ways to investing that will motivate and centerizes with the larger set of faculty.We are working on mechanics now on how to do this.

a.        Graduate Tuition: mechanics to essentially waive or discount graduate tuition for graduate students support specifically on research contracts that would make us more competitive with other intuitions

b.       Incentives in the overhead return policy, which would affect all active research faculty.

 

K. Fortun:How will the landscape work differently now that two reports have identified priorities ?

 

A. Sanderson:Which part of the landscape are you referring?

 

K Fortun:What are the implications of stating these priorities? Are there going to be resources available, infrastructure support for writing grants, or is it just hiring faculty?Where are the materials implications of this priority setting process?

 

A. Sanderson:†† The immediate implications will be targeted fund raisers, investment in start up packages in facilities for those individual working together with a wider set of faculty here on campus.

Whether these are so called research center or laboratoriesÖI would like to see a more coherent, larger, and more visible set of faculty working in these area.The intentions are if you have are a sustained and visible research program in these areas that will take their place in international and national scale of research.The assumption is to put some of the infrastructure in place and then to rely on DARPA/NIH support to develop and sustain those programs.

 

K. Fortun:What about the role for those research areas that historically have not been supported by administration. Example: Humanities & Social Sciences. Historically there a significantly amount of ongoing institute commitment to make them happen.Now that these have been identified as priority from the planning process where is funding going to come from. Is the Capital campaign one outlet supporting these priorities.

 

A. Sanderson:The next Capital campaign is going to be major step for Renssealer.This is the Presidentís top priority, because without a successful campaign to raise money, nothing can happen. The BT building and the Performing Arts building are two of the top priorities.

 

K. Fortun:What's the money going to go for?Where are the allocations going to be?

 

A. Sanderson:There will be some priority set of topics, and there will be a continuing review and reordering of that as time goes on.

 

K. Fortun:If something has been named in this priority setting process, is there going to be an effort to get resources to make it happen? Will there be ongoing support for those projects that don't have external funding?

 

A. Sanderson:Seeing that this is identified in that context, there will be an opportunity for seed funding of projects and potential infrastructure investment.Will their be ongoing support for those activities, I think that is unlikely.I believe in those areas as well as others it will be a bootstrap effort of investment, which will develop programs.I don't expect there will be an ongoing long-term commitment

 

K. Fortun:Are other universities we are competing with to be a world class institution covering that much of their efforts with external funding?

 

A. Sanderson:Other university ongoing successful programs are predominantly funded by external sources.From my experience they really don't have a lot more endowment then RPI does; they have a view point and reliance on external funding which is as much or greater then RPI.

 

H. Scarton:I understand that you have the task to come up with revised intellectual property policies? What is the status of the committee being formed? (Personally I would like to be on committee). When do you think/expect to form this committee?When do you think Dr. Jackson will set a limit as to when she would like a report out of that committee?Where is this on her priority list?

 

A. Sanderson:A small working group to review the existing policy has been formed.We are reviewing some specific issue with this policy that has to be sorted out in terms of legal language and consistence.The second part of this exercise is to have the consultants develop a set of example policies from other institutions - to look specifically at those intuitions that have revised their policies in the last couple of years.I would like to move it ahead more quickly but getting that legal review is taking more time then I expected.I would like to form the faculty committee within the next month to get it underway.This policy is pretty high on our list offirst year priorities of the performance plan.President Jackson asked for a report by the end of this calendar year. We won't have the final revision done but I would like to have this first level of revisions in place and the faculty committee working on it and do an interim report by the first of the year.

 

P. Hajela:How many more Faculty are we going to need to accomplish the planned research growth?How many do you except to be visiting research or non-tenure faculty?

 

A. Sanderson:I have been doing a modeling effort, to look at the different kinds of investment, such as allocating money for start up, for new faculty, for endowment, for salary, infrastructure investments.You can make those investments in different areas then try to predict what the consequent change in the search for faculty is going to be. We have been working on the finance side of things, and that's still in progress. The constellations call for a growth of about 18 faculty; beyond that a lot of the attention is on renewal, in terms of existing slots, that have not been filled over the last few years.The feeling is that there is room for growth from the current point in terms of the renewal process plus the constellation growth.

 

P. Hajela: Is part of the renewal process going to focus on faculty who may not be as heavily involved in research today? Does your office have any plans of bringing some of this faculty back through some of these investments?

 

A. Sanderson:Absolutely, if you look at the spectrum of faculty there is probably only half of the total faculty that have any funding in research.

 

 

Meeting adjourned 4:00 p.m.