Faculty Senate Minutes



Return to Revised Minutes of 3-7-2001


Present:M. Hanna, P. Hajela, B. Parsons, S. Derby, K. Anderson, S. Anderson-Gold, P. Boyce, G. Korenowski, L. Kammerer,B. Peterson


Absent: L. Caporael, K. Fortun, G. Belfort, A. Dyson, M. Embrechts, R. Leifer, J. Mitchell, P. Quinn, J. Erickson, R. Gutmann, K. Craig, C. Breneman,


Guests:C. Powell, L. Padula, H. Scarton, C. McIntyre


Summary:1) Changes in Institute Prescription Plan by C. Powell

2) Review of Administrators


P. Hajela:I'd like to call the meeting to order.


First item on the agenda Presentation on Changes in Institute Prescription Plan by C. Powell followed by a discussion (see attached) Introduction of L. Padula, manager of benefits administration


C. Powell:Some of the drug trends that increase utilization are:

·Aging workforce

·Health status of workforce

·Demographics of workforce

·Extended coverage to Eligible Retirees


M. Hanna: If you have CDPHP coverage when you retire, can you still retain that coverage?


C. Powell:Yes, you may retain that coverage as a retiree at 50% of the premium cost.

The four-tier plan is:

Brand or generic name drugs, either formulary or nonformulary.A list will be composed of all eligible drugs available on each of the four-tier plans.The employee will then be able to choose which plan they wish to enroll in.The rate of their health care benefit will be reflected by the plan they choose.


M. Hanna:HMO's I believe, have already established a formulary plan.


C. Powell:Yes, this procedure is in place.There is also a list of certain drugs that will require a second opinion from your physician before authorization.


H. Scarton:I was wondering if you could please explain why insulin was eliminated from the list of covered drugs.


C. Powell:This is a surprise to me, I will inquire into this matter.


(NOTE FROM P. HAJELA: C. Powell reported back after the meeting that insulin continues to be covered)

On the subject of communication, what I would like to see happen is that if an issue occurs please bring it to our attention so we can address the issue.What I dislike is when an issue occurs, the individual talks to fifty people, it goes to the presidentís office, and I'm the last person to know. By then the facts are out, correctly or incorrectly.If I'm not aware of problems I cannot correct them.

Yes, we could put together another committee and have this committee evaluate every move we make pertaining to prescriptions and programs.But will this help us in communicating to the rest of the workforce what's really going on?The strategy I would like to incorporate is that if changes are going to occur, I would like to bring them back to this committee (faculty senate) to share upfront, and to receive feedback.Then we need to educate the general faculty/staff before implementing these changes.It's an opportunity for the faculty senate to take charge.For everybody to get involved into looking at what the real problems and what we need to do to resolve them.


R. Parsons: How will you present this to the faculty/staff as a whole?I believe presenting the changes through the benefits fair is not very productive.I feel a different kind of venue is needed to educate faculty/staff on the changes in the health care.


C. Powell: The benefits fair is a venue that takes place after all the decisions are made.I feel we need to look at the plan in early January. If changes are going to be made, we need to decided in early March in order to start educating faculty/stuff on what the changes are and how they will be affected.All current information is on the web http://www.rpi.edu/dept/hr/


P. Hajela:How does this revised prescription plan compare to other "market basket" schools?


C. Powell:Very well.Overall if you compare co-payments across the board (nationally) they range from $6.00 -$25.00 just for the generic name drugs.


P. Hajela:It's important we look at universities that we compare ourselves with, especially if we want to attract the best quality faculty/staff to our Institute.I would like to see how we compare to those schools?


C. Powell:Nationally we are doing very well. In most higher education, most health care plans are a 70-30 split, not an 82-18 split which is the case at RPI. We will have to do some creative planning in order to keep it at that level.


H. Scarton:The compensation committee role in the past was to act as a talking point for ideas, the committee (made up of faculty, and staff) would be able to discuss these ideas and work out any problems, or possibly recommend a different solution. I believe when the recent decisions were made, they went down as far as the chairs and no lower. I think the prescription drugs issue is a good example where more discussion might have been useful in helping to avoid problems. I was wondering if it might be useful to form the compensation committee again?


C. Powell:You're talking about a committee that was formed years ago. The reason it was formed at that time was that a major bend in the road was being undertaken. (switching from Blue Cross to CDPHP)Yes, if we were going to undertake a major change like that it would make sense to pool a group of faculty and staff together; I'm not opposed to that.


Everything we are doing or will do will include input from faculty and staff throughout the whole process, and we will continue to operate within that model.Before forming a standing committee like the compensation committee, I think we need to define what a compensation committee actually means.If you develop a committee to enhance the communication between the staff and management of an organization, that is acceptable (when it comes down to the National Labor Relations). However, if you constitute a committee where you discuss wages, benefits, or working conditions, you're now crossing the fence, Now you are developing a labor organization.


S. Derby:I think what you are trying to do in terms of communication in great, but we still encounter the same old problem of the information not filtering down from the deans/chairs to the faculty and staff.


C. Powell:I agree with you.The process should be that if we are going to make changes, we need to educate faculty/staff, have open forums where all the changes would be outlined allowing for feedback.I know that top-down system doesn't work; everything we've tried to do that way has failed.


G. Korenowski:I was wondering if anyone looked into Empire Vision inflating their costs?


L. Padula:Yes, we've had numerous complaints and comments.


C. Powell:Before any more changes take place, I will come back to you and share with you what we are looking at implementing; to make sure they make sense not only to this group but also to faculty/staff as a whole.


Second item on the agenda Review of Administrators by R. Parsons (see attached


M. Hanna:What results would you make public?


R. Parsons: The review example I handed out(see attached) could be used and then the results made public.


M Hanna:Faculty get reviewed in their courses which are not made public, only reviewed by the chair. I think we need to be careful in what results of the evaluation are made public. 


R. Noble:I was on the last committee that actually did this work. The mechanism in place was that the administrator be evaluated by all those directly affected, using a form which consisted of a combination of multiple questions and a space for comments. That information was reviewed by a working sub-committee (from the faculty council), and then forwarded to the administratorís superior. That person would be in charge of reporting back to the group that generated it. He would give a presentation characterizing the report for the members of the committee.


R. Parson:Certainly we could add something that requires reporting back to senate instead of sending out a memo.It could come from the appropriate dean, or the provost could give us an indication on how that information was used.


M. Hanna: I'm still having difficulty with this whole process. For example, let us say the Provost comes and tell us that Dean X has been reviewed and,the findings can be summarized as the following:X, Y, Z, approval rating of x percent, and this has been discussed with Dean x. Is this how the procedure would work?


R. Noble:Yes, that is how the process worked.A dialogue would follow between the people who did the evaluation and the person who summarized it.The way to deal with the complexities in this process is to put people into dialogue. The reporting administrator would have to give a presentation, followed by a period of questions and answers.I think it was up to the administrator who was given the report to use their judgment on how best to characterize it, and how to deal with sensitive issues and people's feelings - to strike a balance point between disclosure and unnecessary harm. 


S. Anderson-Gold:If a faculty group were to evaluate the chairs, only that group would participate in this evaluation process. Is reporting back to the group the way to close the loop on this process?


M. Hanna:On one hand we have to have faith that the person above the Dean is doing something with this information. Under the worst-case scenario, we would need a mechanism that ensures there was a discussion between the Provost and the dean. Beyond that, I'm not sure we need anything further.


R. Noble:The point of having a dialogue between the Provost, and the faculty of school on the performance of a Dean, has a function for establishing communication among all the parties, allowing the faculty that feel they've been wronged to voice their opinions.This process has a lot of parallels on how the faculty is evaluated and how we evaluated administrators. The report revealed their strengths, weakness, and any major issues.It would vary from administrator to administrator.Part of the evaluation process involved a group of individuals reporting to a committee, each person of the group had some experience with the personís performance.


K. Anderson:In regards to how much information should be made public, I think something like what the P&T committee uses would be appropriate. All input comes from faculty to the department head plus a few elected faculty to make sure all forms are properly done. Then they are given to the provost and the dean and those individuals who will review this information before any recommendations are made. Then they go back to the faculty informing them that all concerns were addressed without going into details.This conserves a level of privacy but assures individuals that their concerns have been addressed.


R. Parsons:I think the decision we have to make now is if it acceptable just to put a statement into the handbook that allows the administration to carry out the reviews, or do we really want to get into the business of providing faculty input into the review process.


M. Hanna:I think if we decide to have all information coming back to the senate, then when a chair is reviewed, the dean will be responsible for reporting the results to the senate. 


R. Parons:No, not really, just feedback at this point and that can go back to that committee.


M. Hanna:If we are planning on handling all in a committee that is fine. The committee could do their annual structured evaluation with reporting back to the senate.In terms of the handbook , if we were to handle with a committee doing an annual structured evaluation of a dean of a particular department chair, the problem I see is that there is only one school that has an active government structure, and that is HS&S.If we were to add the chairs to the handbook, where would the feedback come back to?


P. Hajela:That would require reporting back to the faculty senate?


R. Parons:Yes, if follow the process in place now.We would just have to decide on how we would incorporate the reporting back to occur.


M. Hanna:We need to put a requirement in to establish the time period for the review, which is not in there for chairs at the present time. I think that at a minimum you need the handbook to state that there has to be a review for the chairs at x periodicity intervals.


P. Hajela:I think we are going one step beyond that.We are talking about cases where their may be warning signals that an individual may not be doing well and 5 years is too long of a period to wait 


S. Anderson-Gold:I think if we need to incorporate the report-back language.As written now, the handbook language states that the report would go back only to the faculty involved. We want to make sure all faculty are involved at some level, and a report is guarantee back to the faculty senate.


P. Hajela:Could I please have a sense of which option we are more inclined towards?

Option 1:Adding a statement to the handbook

Option 2:Reporting back to the Faculty Senate


M. Hanna:At a minimum we need to have the chair statement add to the handbook, as there is none at present.


P. Hajela:That is correct, and that would be included in adding a statement to the handbook. 

5 for Option 1, 2 for Option 2


M. HannaI still think there is a compromise position between both options.


P. Hajela:I sense that there is some support for trying to add a statement to the handbook requiring review at set intervals, and to see how well that works. Perhaps if we could clean up the language, we can have a discussion in a future meeting.I would like to bring closure to this issue before the term of the senate runs out.


Meeting adjourned 4:45 p.m.