Faculty Senate Minutes

4/10/2001

 

Agenda

Discussion of Proposed Amendments

 

Discussion of Proposed Amendments to the Constitution of the Faculty Senate

Summary: Amendment 1 provides for representation to the Faculty Senate from Rensselaer at Hartford.  Amendments 2A and 2B concern representation of clinical faculty.  Amendment 2A provides full participation (e.g., as representatives of Schools or holders of Faculty Senate offices such as President) for clinical faculty in governance and was rejected by the Faculty Senate.  Amendment 2B provides for clinical representation and full voting rights in Faculty Senate decisions, and this amendment was approved by the Faculty Senate.  Amendment 3 provides for electronic voting.  More details are provided in Background sections.

(Note: Changes in the Constitution are indicated by strikeouts for deletions and boldface for insertions.)

 

Amendment 1. Representation from Rensselaer at Hartford

(Circulated over the signatures of K. Anderson, R. Leifer, R. Parson, C. Breneman, S. Derby, J. Mitchell, J. Erickson, S. Anderson-Gold, L. Caporael, P. Boyce, voting members of the Faculty Senate.)

 

In addition to the members listed in II.A. I., the Faculty Senate will include a representative from Rensselaer at Hartford to be elected by the Faculty at Hartford.

 

Section II.A.i. will read:

The Faculty Senate shall consist of twelve thirteen regular members (to include one member from each school, one from Rensselaer at Hartford, one from the Library, and six members at large), a President of the Senate, a Vice President of the Senate, a Secretary, a Recording Secretary, a Chair of the Faculty, a Secretary of the Faculty, and the Chairs of three Special Committees. 

 

THE FOLLOWING AMENDMENTS ARE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.

 

Amendment 2A.  Full participation as Faculty in the Faculty Senate

(Circulated over the signatures of M. Hanna, L. Krammerer, R. Leifer, voting members of the Faculty Senate; and G. Judd, M. Rice, J. Durgee, M. Levesque, S. Sarin, R. Burke, J. Ecker, members of the faculty.

 

This amendment would add the titles in bold to the following existing text of the Faculty Handbook:

 

For the purposes of Senate business, the term “Faculty” includes persons having the title of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Research Professor, Research Associate Professor, Research Assistant Professor, Clinical Professor, Clinical Associate Professor, Clinical Assistant Professor, Senior Librarian, Associate Librarian, Assistant Librarian, Institute Archivist, and Assistant Archivist, and also includes those retired from these positions.

 

Amendment 2B. Clinical Representation

(Circulated over the signatures of K. Anderson, S. Anderson-Gold, L. Caporael, P. Boyce, r. Parson, J. Mitchell, C. Breneman, G. Belfort, voting members of the Faculty Senate; and D. Hess, R. Noble.

 

In addition to the members listed in II.A.i., the Faculty Senate will include a representative of the clinical faculty at Rensselaer Troy campus to be elected by the clinical faculty.

 

Section II.A.i. will read:

 

The Faculty Senate shall consist of twelve thirteen regular members (to include one member from each School, one from the Library, one from the clinical faculty from the Troy campus, and six members at large), a President of the Senate, a Vice President of the Senate, a Secretary, a Recording Secretary, a Chair of the Faculty, a Secretary of the Faculty, and the Chairs of three Special Committees.

 

(Note: If Amendments 1 and 2A or 2B pass, the working of section II.A.i. will be changed accordingly, i.e., to fourteen regular members, which would include a representative from Hartford and a clinical representative from Troy.)

 

Amendment 3. Electronic Voting

 

All references to voting by mail ballot will be understood to include voting by electronic ballot. 

(Circulated over the signatures of K. Anderson, L. Caporael, P. Boyce, M. Hanna, L. Krammerer, R. Leifer, G. Korenowski, J. Erickson, P. Hajela, voting members of the Faculty Senate.)

 

Background: Electronic voting was tried on an experimental basis last year and was considered successful for increasing voter participation and making counting votes more efficient.

 

BACKGROUND MATERIAL

 

Proposed Amendments to the Constitution of the Faculty Senate

 

Summary:  Amendment 1 provides for representation to the Faculty Senate from Rensselaer at Hartford.  Amendments 2A and 2B concern representation of clinical faculty.  Amendment 2A provides full participation (e.g., as representatives of Schools or chairs of standing committees) for clinical faculty in governance and was rejected by the Faculty Senate.  Amendment 2B provides for clinical representation and full voting rights in Faculty Senate decisions, and this amendment was approved by the Faculty Seante.  Amendment 3 provides for electronic voting.  More details are provided in Background sections. 

 

(Note: Changes in the Constitution are indicated by strikeouts for deletions and boldface for insertions.)

 

Amendment 1. Representation from Rensselaer at Hartford

(Circulated over the signatures of K. Anderson, R. Leifer, R. Parson, C. Breneman, S. Derby, J. Mitchell, J. Erickson, S. Anderson-Gold, L. Caporael, P. Boyce, voting members of the Faculty Senate.)

 

In addition to the members listed in II.A.i., the Faculty Senate will include a representative from Rensselaer at Hartford to be elected by the Faulty at Hartford.

 

Section II.A. i. will read:

The Faculty Senate shall consist of twelve thirteen regular members (to include one member from each School, one from Rensselaer at Hartford, one from the Library, and six members at large), a President of the Senate, a Vice President of the Senate, a Secretary, a Recording Secretary, a Chair of the Faculty, a Secretary of the Faculty, and the Chairs of three Special Committees.

 

Background: In 1997, the Graduate Center at Hartford merged with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and became Rensselaer at Hartford.  Rensselaer at Hartford lacks its own Faculty Senate as its status is analogous to that of a school on the Troy campus, although in the case of Hartford, the faculty is non-tenure track clinical faculty.  Arguments in favor of the amendment were based on the perceived importance of having someone from Hartford to represent the campus.  Arguments against the amendment were based on the perceived importance of resolving clinical faculty representation in general before making a decision about Hartford.

 

THE FOLLOWING AMENDMENTS ARE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.

 

Amendment 2A. Full participation as Faculty in the Faculty Senate

(Circulated over the signatures of M. Hanna, L. Krammerer, R. Leifer, voting members of the Faculty Senate; and G. Judd, M. Rice, J. Durgee, M. Levesque, S. Sarin, R. Burke, J. Ecker, members of the Faculty.)

 

This amendment would add the titles in bold to the following existing text of the Faculty Handbook:

 

For the purposes of Senate business, the term “Faculty” includes persons having the title of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Research Professor, Research Associate Professor, Research Assistant Profess, Clinical Professor, Clinical Associate Professor, Clinical Assistant Professor, Senior Librarian, Associate Librarian, Assistant Librarian, Institute Archivist, and Assistant Archivist, and also includes those retired form these positions.

 

Background:  This amendment would allow clinical faculty to be elected as representatives of their Schools and At-Large positions, to serve as representatives to the Elections Committee and as representatives and chairs for the Faculty Senate (FS) Curriculum Committee and FS Planning and Resources Committee.  (Clinical faculty would not serve on the FS Promotion and Tenure Committee, which requires tenured full professors as members.)

 

Arguments for full participation in faculty governance are 1) many clinical faculty consider their positions as full time, career positions – a permanent status implied by the ranks of assistant, associate and full clinical professor, 2) clinical faculty teach the same students and have many of the same academic responsibilities as tenure track faculty, and, hence, 3) governance differences between tenure-track and clinical faculty should be removed.  Also, research professors have rights of full participation in the Faculty Senate, and it is unfair not to include clinical faculty as well.  The exclusion of clinical faculty from Faculty Senate makes “second-class citizens” of faculty who make important contributions to Rensselaer.

 

Arguments against representation were based on concerns about the erosion of the tenure system, a perceived difference in interest between those having tenure-track appointments and those who do not, and a concern about exploitation of clinical faculty that cannot be remedied by participation in Faculty Senate.  Other arguments against Amendment 2A are that clinical faculty contracts are short-term and subject to termination and non renewal.  Concerns were that a clinical faculty member would not be able to complete his or her terms, or, lacking the protections of tenure, would be constrained in his or her ability to represent the Faculty on controversial issues.

 

Other opposed arguments pointed to the unchecked proliferation over the past years of nontenure faculty titles in use at Rensselaer.  One consequence of this proliferation has been a variety of “profiles” of clinical faculty.  For example, the category of “clinical faculty” includes new PhD holders, practitioners with active careers in industry or the arts, and senior people with successful careers in industry moving into clinical positions in the latter years of their working lives.  Opponents of the amendment 2A argue that decisions of who should be considered as Faculty for the purpose of representation and faculty governance should be delayed until work is completed by the Provost’s Office on review of nontenure faculty titles, their criteria for appointment and renewal, and the gap between requirements in the handbook and actual practice.  Others questioned the fairness of including clinical faculty but excluding other categories of nontenured faculty.

 

Amendment 2B. Clinical Representation

(Circulated over the signatures of K. Anderson, S. Anderson-Gold, L. Caporael, P. Boyce, R. Parson, voting members of the Faculty Senate.)

 

In addition to the members listed in II.A. i., the Faculty Senate will include a representative of the clinical faculty at Rensselaer Troy campus to be elected by the clinical faculty.

 

Section II.A. i. will read:

 

The Faculty Senate shall consist of twelve thirteen regular members (to include one member from each School, one from the Library, one from the clinical faculty from the Troy campus, and six members at large), a President of the Senate, a Vice President of the Senate, a Secretary, a Recording Secretary, a Chair of the Faculty, a Secretary of the Faculty, and the Chairs of three Special Committees.

 

Background:  The Faculty Senate supported this Amendment 2B as compromise that was acknowledged to be incremental and changeable by future amendment.

 

This amendment enables a representative of the clinical faculty on the Troy campus to be a full voting member of the Faculty Senate.  It does not, however, enable full participation as a Faculty member.  For example, a clinical faculty member could not be elected as the representative of a School or as an At-Large Senator.  Under 2A, full participation, it is possible that there would be no clinical faculty representation at all on the Faculty Senate because none would run or win a seat through election.  Under this amendment, 2B, clinical faculty representation would be assured.

 

The implications of this amendment compared to 2A are quite different.  2A assumes that the distinctions between clinical and tenure-track faculty are not particularly relevant, and hence, full participation in faculty governance should be available.  Amendment 2B assumes that distinctions between tenured and non-tenured tracks are relevant for faculty governance, hence clinical faculty qua clinical faculty should be represented in the Faculty Senate.

 

(Note: If Amendments 1 and 2A or 2B pass, the wording of section II.A.i. will be changed accordingly, i.e., to fourteen regular members, which would include a representative from Hartford and a clinical representative from Troy.)

 

Amendment 3. Electronic Voting

 

All references to voting by mail ballot will be understood to include voting by electronic ballot. 

(Circulated over the signatures of K. Anderson, L. Caporael, P. Boyce, M. Hanna, L. Krammerer, R. Leifer, G. Korenowski, J. Erickson, P. Hajela, voting members of the Faculty Senate.)

 

Background: Electronic voting was tried on an experimental basis last year and was considered successful for increasing voter participation and making counting votes more efficient.