Faculty Senate Minutes



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

Original Minutes of 11/7/00



Distribution of Minutes and Meeting Rescheduling

Discussion on Performance Plan

               Reviewing the Plan



Distribution of Minutes and Meeting Rescheduling

President Prabhat Hajela called the meeting to order.  He announced that the Minutes will be distributed via email for review.  The meeting on November 21st has been rescheduled to November 28th.


Discussion on Performance Plan

The initial reaction on the Performance Plan has been received by Curt Breneman.  Specific parts of the plan such as the academic plan, is available on the web: at www.rpi.edu/CampusInfo/plan. 


hIn general the take on the plan has been cross cutting issues. (ex. conflicting resource requirements within the different plans, which reflect the fact that the plan generators have, not discuss between each other 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 plan profile owners.

hAnother issue (that may be resolvable in that venue) is where specific thrushes of the plans will reside, such as what department and what school.

h Most faculty are not buying into the plan because they feel they have not been represented well enough in their department plan.  We will address this issue in our report specifically.

h A concern is the number of faculty that will be hired into various areas.  It seems unrealistic that they will have that many new hires. 

h We know as faculty that some of this will happen, some will not.  What we don't have a clear feeling on is what will happen and what will not as we have no budget numbers.

h The plan was set up so that it could be resourced after it has been prioritized. 

hAs the Faculty Senate, we need to look at the prioritized list within each of the individual units.  hWe will not necessary know what is to happen in terms of vertical assertion of the entire session

of priorities.  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 are going to rate with respect to each other when the entire plan is verticalyzed and resourced. 


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

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 that reflect on the hiring that's being opposed for each of the schools? Formatting of the plan is as such the first year priorities, within each of those there generally are of the higher achy, what resources would be requested or needed.  That's the virtualization within each of these plans. 




 From a planning and resource committee view point 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®upward) at that level and time it did not seem like their was feedback coming back into the department of what had been generated.  Information should have been some way filtered back to the sub committee and the past on to the department of what was in each plan for that school.  I found out recently this process took place at the chair level in general.  The deans were going to the chairs and speaking to them about prioritization issues. This was causing concern because it was not being transfer down to the faculty.   These issues are accepted whenever there is prioritizing, as some will want to priorities up and some will want to priorities down. 


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 would have been able to have meetings where we could discuss each of the aspect of the fully released plan, then present the 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. 


Reviewing the Plan

The first year plans involves, engaging in new programs:

Hiring: a certain number of hires have been opposed, chairs positions are being set up or gathered from a pool of available chairs to form the nuclei of various effects.  From the planning and resources point of view it looks as if effects are being made to preserve a core, (we are not just going to say we are going to biotech & IT and ignore everything else)


Another concern the committee has is that this plan is only a distilled version of the planning documents.  (a request to not include the specifics of the second and third year plan not be included in this plan).  This would allow the faculty to only have to think/approve the first year plan.  The second and third year plan of actions, have some generalities, which included some unwritten issue which are being discussed on the deans level, telling us of what we will do in terms of certain hirers, in year two and three are their an additional set of documents that have not been integrated into this the summary plan.


Provost 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, nothing was held back. 


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. If you're asking the deans, and different administrator their thoughts and plans of where they're going in years 2,3,4, & 5. No their thoughts and comments don't appear in the plan. Yes, I think this is continuously evolving situation, not a situation where material is not be provided.


C. Breneman:  In discussion with Sandra many question were voiced that as a faculty unit if we agree to prioritizing set for each school, which would state that we would get a certain number of hires in year two and a certain number of hires in year three, (horse trading in a sense).  The concern among faculty is that this is not priority anywhere in the plan (unwritten).  Is this really part of the plan or a part of some implantation strategy?


Provost 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?


Provost 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:

h 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 the national level but still maint our income stream for privately sponsored program?


Provost Peterson:  This will apply to all students that are funded on an external funded support their will be a select process for reducing the cost of tuition for each student.


C. Breneman:  If this procedure is going to be across the board then this will not a problem.


Provost Peterson:  I believe this is across the board.


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.


Provost Peterson:  I believe 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:

h            Pay part of the tuition,

h            Reduce the number of credits  

It will definitely not be targeted to specific areas.


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.


Provost Peterson:  Chris Holt objective of this has made the researchers here more competitive.   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). 


Provost Peterson:  Before you begin, will these commons be given to the individual deans; 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.


Provost Peterson:  I would urge you to contact the deans.  I don't think the provost office needs to be a filter for this process.  The faculty should direct the reports to the deans, chairs about these concerns and opinions. 


M. Hanna:  This is 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 in that the deans will be present a least during the discussions of virtualization if not at the time that it does get verticalized?


Provost Peterson:  The deans will make presentation to the president and cabinet, then there will be an individual budget meeting for the deans with the president, a much smaller subset.  Then a presentation of all the performance plans to the cabinet for general discussion, and then there will be a much smaller segment as part of 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 which has many factor's which need to be considered. 


M. Hanna: Where competiting request from schools will their be any attempt before hand to get people talking to each other resolving these things before it gets to the stage of hiring.


Provost 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 opposed to the idea of this being a requirement for everyone in their first year. 

h            Why would it be a special course?

h            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 do to it, in the pure science area. (like the biology dept.) as to opposed to a special plan. Many comments are why a special biotech course, and why be taught by engineers?  Why should every one else get a different vision?


Provost Peterson: The think the intention there is not necessary that this would be course engineering would teach.  This is more a statement that maybe the first biology course that's in place right now is not the ideal course.


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. 


Provost Peterson:  That objective would go through the core curriculum committee, faculty senate would go through the curriculum process, and this is not something that will happen over night. 


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 don’t 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. 


Provost Peterson:  I believe this will come before the core curriculum committee.  The 24 hour Math and Science core will be review and elevated in light of the different aspects.  Their will be a committee appointed to look into the plan, after review they will then decide if it will be one course for everybody or if Biology and Human Science needs one, and if engineering needs one.   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.

                ·              General call for a Bio something as part of the core.

                ·              IT or Computer science requirement as part of the core

·              A core requirement in entrepreneurship (four core enterprises, resident/undergraduate, resident/graduate education, education fro the working professional, scientific & technology entrepreneurship).



K. Fortun: The kind detail in 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 commitment without resources to support them.  Can you please tell us if the level of detail in the management plan is approciate? 


Provost Peterson: That procedure will be achieved before the budget process is over. 



Meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.