Faculty Senate Minutes


Return to revised Minutes of 11/7/00

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

L. Caporael, K. Fortun, P. Quinn, S. Anderson-Gold, G. Belfort


Absent: S. Derby, M. Embrechts, J. Mitchell, A. Dyson, R. Gutmann, K. Craig, P. Boyce, G. Korenowski, R. Leifer, J. Erickson,


Guests:L. Gerhardt, G. Gabriele, P. Lyons, J. Acbeman


P. Hajela:I'd like to call the meeting to order.The minutes will be disturbed by e-mail for review.The meeting on November 21st has been rescheduled to November 28th.


First item on the agenda is the initial reaction on the Performance Plan that has been received by C. Breneman.


Specific parts of the plan such as the academic plan, is available on the web: at www.rpi.edu/CampusInfo/plan.


In general the take on the plan has been that cross cutting issues. (ex. conflicting resource requirements within the different plans, which reflect the fact that the plan generators had, no discussion between each other on their plans).This is not surprising, seeing as a cross cutting issue committee is now being set up; to look into what is happening between the plans.

Another issue (the may be resolvable) is where specific thrush of the plans will resided, what dept. what school?

Most faculty, are not buying into the plan because they feel they have not been represented well enough within their departments plan.

A concern is the number of faculty that will be hired into various areas.It just seems unrealistic, that their will be that, many new hires.

We know as faculty that some of this will happen, some will not.What we don't have a clear insight on is

 what will happen and what will not as we have no budget information.
The plan was set up so that it could be resourced after it has been prioritized.
As the faculty senate we need to look at the prioritizing list within each of the individual units.  This is where the faculty senate feels uncomfortable, in not knowing, to what level priorities are going to be set between the various
units.We know what the priorities are for the first year, within the schools, what we don't know is how those our going to
rate with respect to each other when the entire plan is verticalzed and resourced.


M. Hanna:    Will both schools of science & engineering expect a least five to six new constellation?

C. Breneman:Yes, primarily. The question is how much of this plan will live in each school? Will a particular thrush have a home?How then will this reflect on the hiring being opposed in each of the schools? ..


From a planning and resource committee view point one one of the biggest concern was that when the plans were being generated their was an upward motion of information (people in dept®to a sub committee®chairs®dean®cabinet)  It seem like no feedback was coming back into the departments on what was happen within the plansInformation should have been some way filtered back to the sub committee and then past on to the departments.I believe this proceeed did take place at the chair level. This issue is causing concern because no feedback is being past on to faculty.

A general concern among faculty is that the timing and sequence of events are too rapid to allow a true faculty feedback.(ex if we had two months), we could have had meetings where we would have discussions on each aspect of a fully released plan, receive feedbakc and then present a revised plan to the president/cabin.


We would like to thank the provost office for facilitating the deans in sending out the plans in the electron format quickly.We believe openness is the only way that faculty is going to buy into this plan.Before this plan even became available to faculty we had a meeting and agreed that the units on the academic plans needed to be disclosure rapidly, so that faculty could understand what they would be agreeing to, arguing against, or responding to, otherwise they cannot adequately accept and discuss the plan.


Looking at the Plan:


The first year plans involves, engaging in new programs:

Hiring: what is the number of new hires that has been opposed for each school?
A concerned voiced is that an additional set of documents has been prepared  but not integrated into the summary plan.


B. Peterson:I'm not aware of any formal information that was prepared by the schools, which have not been submitted.A numerous amount of discussion and documentation have move up through the departments, but all has been submitted.


Second & third year objectives & goals are evolving.This first draft, is basely a budget documents and budget request.President Jackson states that The Rensselaer Plan is a RSP, which is the proposal received from the academic units. This is how we will respond for the first year and this is where we think we going for the second and third year.  The plan is a continouosly evolving situation.


C. Breneman:As a faculty unit if we agree to prioritizing that has been set for each school, which would include a certain number of  new hires in year two and three, (horse trading in a sense),this seems to be an unwritten agreement.Is this really part of the plan or a part of some implantation strategy?


B. Peterson:That's a question that the chairs need to answered, they need to ask where's the school going, what direction are we headed, what are the things we need to do this year to start to move in that direction, what might we wanted to do in years two, three and four.It's not just a one-year plan; it's a three-year rolling plan.The important of this plan is that faculty will have many opportunities to voice their concerns.The deans are having open meetings in all the schools welcoming feedback. But remember this whole process will be repeated next year; this is the continuous rolling process.


C. Breneman:Is it correct in assuming that Rensselaer plan will take affect as is unless otherwise stated, the plan in essence a set of proposals?


B. Peterson:Many contradicter areas exists in the plan still, (this school said that, this school said this their in conflict) that was the reason for the retreat, and having the plan circulated so we could identify these areas and try to work them out.


C. Breneman: Some specifics concerns have been voiced on the individual performance plans:

In the school of Engineering performance plan, there was a proposal that focuses on targeted discounting of research tuition credits, as a mechanism for funded research.Is it our goal to make funded research more cost affected competitive, on a national level but still maint our income stream for privately sponsored program?


B. Peterson:This will apply to all students that are funded on external funding support. Not just in the engineering department


M. Hanna:It is across the board, it is not anyway attended to be selective, it is attended to be more competitive with other schools, schools that are cheaper then us such as the state schools whom we compete with or the private schools whom are funded through alternate research streams.


C. Breneman:A number of individuals responded with the belief that it was targeted or only within the school of engineering.


B. Peterson:I believe that was becuase the school of engineering included this in their particular plan. Many discussion have taken place, on trying to figure out what we can pay as an institution, in terms of tuition credits for graduate students?In alternate reports a couple different alterative have been opposed:

Pay part of the tuition,

Reduce the number of credits


C. Breneman:The reason I believe this has all came about is due to the resolute that individuals would be redirected in terms of their research.


B. Peterson:Cost of tuitions for a graduate student is about 20,000- 24,000 on a research grant.If you look at SUNY it is sufficient less, Cornell is not much less but they waive a 1/3 or a 1/2, as does MIT.I would think the faculty would be very ecstatic about this.If a discount is going to be applied it will not be targeted to one specific school or one specific area.The attempt will be to make research all across the institution competitive.


C. Breneman:Most of these comments are directed at the school of engineering (only because that plan has been circulated longer).


B. Peterson:Will your committee contact the individual deans with handwritten comments?


C. Breneman:We thought that we would generate a report to the faculty senate, which would contain a summary and a list of anonymous comments.The faculty senate could then choose to direct the reports to the deans or the provost office.


B. Peterson:I would urge you to contact the deans.I don't believe the provost office needs to be a filter for this process.All reports should be directed to the deans and chairs about these concerns and opinions.


M. Hanna: In terms of a procedurally issue, with a number of issue where their is conflicting proposals (for the piece of pie) such as constellations, when this plan gets verticalized, it will be

verticalized at the cabinet level and am I correct  that the deans will be present a least during the discussions of virtualization if not at the time that it does get verticalized?


B. Peterson:The deans will make a presentation to the president and cabinet, then an individual budget meeting with the deans and the president, a much smaller subset.A presentation of all the performance plans to the cabinet for general discussion, then a much smaller segment as the budget evolution process.Dr. Jackson, G. Gray and I will be present to speak to each of the deans individually.In term of conflicts with constellations I don't think you should except to see six constellations in six specific areas that have been identified.The problem with focusing on a specific area and then going out and trying to find someone in that specific area is very difficult process.


M. Hanna: Where their is a  competiting request from schools for new hires will their be any attempt to get faculty  talking to each other in hopes of  resolving these issues before hiring?


B. Peterson:Yes, it's happening right now.


C. Breneman:The retreat was used just for that reason. It was to allow people to see the other person hand and what Dr. Jackson's reaction were to specific parts of the plan.


Some comments of interest:

The question was asked about a special Bio-technology course be offered in the School of Engineering as a proposal to this becoming a requirement for everyone in their first year.

Why would it be a special course?

Why would it be taught by engineering?

If it's going to be a single requirement then it should be put forth by the department that is most qualified.in  Many comments are why a special biotech course, and why be taught by engineers?


B. Peterson: I think the intention there is not necessary that this would be course engineering would teach but that the biology course that's in place right now is not the ideal course for all degrees.


C. Breneman:I think there should be a unified course put together but it won't necessary have to be outside the biology course in the sciences.


B. Peterson:This  objective would go through the core curriculum committee,  and faculty senate would go through the curriculum process.


M. Hanna:I believe the important thing here is the concept of the course, in biology or biotechnology, and how we fit it into the curriculum, not on who will teach it.I donít think their was any preoperational that it a must be an engineering generating course or it must not be.The key issue here is not whom teachers it but the value of such a course.


B. Peterson:I believe this will come before the core curriculum committee.A committee will be appointed to look into the plan, after review a decision will be made on if this will be a course for everybody or if Biology and Human Science needs a seperate courses, and if engineering needs a seperate course.All this will be review before and decision is made. If you look at the overall plan the core curriculum committee has three issues to review.

K. Fortun:  The management plan is more itemized then in the other plans.We have been told that this is basically not the place for that.Some people are concerned without this detail getting into the plan we will not be granted the resources to support them.Can you please tell us if the level of detail in the management plan is approciate?
B. Peterson: That procedure will be achieved as part of the the budget process..


Meeting adjourned 4:00 p.m.