Faculty Senate Minutes



Return to Revised Minutes of 4-25-01 

Present:  M. Hanna, P. Hajela, B. Parsons, S. Derby, K. Anderson, S. Anderson-Gold, L. Kammerer,
L. Caporael, J. Mitchell, P. Boyce, G. Belfort, P. Quinn, C. Breneman, M. Embrechts
Absent: K. Fortun, A. Dyson, R. Gutmann, K. Craig, , G. Korenowski, R. Leifer, J. Erickson, B. Peterson
Guests:  G. Gabriele, J. Nelson, P. Federici


Summary:     1) Election Results

                    2) Review of Administrators
                    3) Curriculum Committee- IT Structure Change
                    4) Planning & Resources Committee-IT Structure Changes
                    5) Planning & Resources Committee- Department Mergers in SoE
P. Hajela:  Meeting called to order.
First item on the agenda Election results by Linnda Caporael (see attached)
L. Caporael:  Motion to accepted election results as submitted
  Election results unanimous accepted as presented by L. Caporael
Second item on the agenda Review of Administrators - Handbook changes by S. Anderson-Gold (see attached)
M. Embrechts:  When we use the language "the chairman may be renewed," it seem to imply that this is not the normal procedure while history says the normal procedure is that the chairman is renewed.  I also believe there is a problem with the dean statement their is no parallel statement.  Does this mean after five years the term is up and it might not be renewed?


R. Parson:  That is the language that is already in place.

M. Embrechts:  This is the way the statement reads to me, (this may not be what you intent).  We need to make sure we are real clear in what are intentions are.  It reads as if the chairman would not normally be renewed but he may be renewed.

S. Anderson-Gold:  What do you think would be a better background assumption?

M. Embrechts:  Is that assumed to be the normal procedure? What I don't want to see is after five years someone states that that's not what's written.

P Hajela:  This is a valid point; the old language actually states that the president appoints dean for an indefinite term. The dept chairperson is only appointed for a fix term, what is a fixed term? Does the language already exist that these appointments maybe renewed?

S. Anderson-Gold:  Yes, but only for the chairs.

R. Parsons:  The provost is the one that added the term, and we felt that was a good thing.  This is just a recommendation that will go to the (what office?) for approval to be added to the handbook.

L. Caporael:  Is their some reason in having a review for a three-year chair.  It seems to me it would be important if the chair were going to be renewed.  Taking the amount of time it takes to do a review, if you have a chair that is not going to work out it will take awhile to figure that out and then just let the rest of that term drift.

G. Gabriele:  The five-year term in not new to this document but has been in place for a while, but is not in the handbook.  In the dean's definition you could simply say "before reappointment" which would correct the misconception of them being renew or not.  The problem I see with this statement it seems to imply that only deans reviewed are those deans who head up schools, does this also include myself which is dean of undergraduate education, there are a couple other deans that don't head up schools.  I'm not sure what the intent is here in respect to those deans. I have no position on this it's just not clear in this statement.

S. Anderson-Gold:  I think if we take the statement "of the school" and add "Deans of Schools" I believe this would imply all deans.

P. Hajela:  Motion to accept handbook changes

  R. Parsons makes a motion
Seconded by S. Derby - unanimous accepted
Third item on the agenda: Report from Curriculum Committee on the IT Structure Charges by G. Gabriele
G. Gabriele:  The IT curriculum satisfies all the school of science core requirements, except for one aspect and that is currently in the school of science core. It requires two kinds of electives, which must be in different disciplines.  Originally we did not think this would be a problem, but J. Napolitano felt this would be a problem for IT students.  S. Waite has informed us that current core requirement is under discussion in the science curriculum committee.  At this point we do not have a resolution, but it does not appear to the committee to be a major roadblock.  We are still investigating the confusion surrounding what it means for IT to be administrated within the school of science relevant to degree requirements.  We have no sustain roadblocks to report at this time.  Associate Dean for IT committee will have a discussion on this topic.  In all others aspects the core requirements for IT and science are the same.
P. Hajela:  In terms of the administrative problems could you please inform us on these?


G. Gabriele:  We don't know of any yet. But we do expect it to be a challenge.

Fourth item on the agenda Planning and Resources Committee presentation on the IT structure changes presented by C. Breneman

C. Breneman: The real question is how do we evaluate the IT undergraduate program with the IT graduate research program?  How do these two fit together or do they?

G. Gabriele:  I believe it is to early to tell.  I think we can assume it not too much different then institute research center and their corresponding undergraduate programs.  They have interdisciplinary research and their own separate undergraduate program.  I don't see where this is functionally too much different from that.

P. Hajela: What does the senate want to do with this proposed IT structure.  Do we want to go on record stating this is something that we would like to reexamine in depth and then give are opinion on or accept it as proposed?

R. Parsons:  Do you have any idea how big the management group is in IT?

C. Brenenman:  From my understanding it is the majority.

R. Parsons:  Is science a good home for this group?  Maybe you want an IT component in management and an IT in science, you want to maintain an inter-displinary?

C. Breneman:  Is the school of science the best academic home for the undergraduate and master level work?  I personally feel the program is a good one and that we should endorse it.  There is going to be problems along the way, and as with the Rensselaer Plan it will be review on annually bases.

M. Hanna: I still have a large concern in that is the undergraduate program in the right place? Based on the student that are in the program I don't know how many of them would feel that the school of science is the right place.  If I had to pick the two strongest places within in the field right now for the IT undergraduate program it would have to be computer science or management.  I guess my question is why did it go in one direction opposed to the other?   I would be more comfortable in saying we withstand until further evaluation.

C. Breneman:  Are you suggesting they split the research administration, graduate administration and undergraduate administration so there is three pieces instead of two?

M. Hanna:  I donít have a problem with the graduate portion if you answer the question about the master's portion of the program?  Does the thesis master work the same way as PhD does?  If it's a non-thesis where does it go?

C. Breneman:  I believe the reason why the school of science was chosen for this is because the research component definitely has more science as well as engineering in it.  We want to think of IT as a science application.

P. Hajela:  I believe we have a number of unanswered questions, including core curriculum matters as well as the right place for the IT structure.  I think this needs more discussion within the senate before we endorse the IT structure.

Fifth item on the agenda Planning & Resources Committee- Department Mergers in SoE. (see attached)

C. Breneman: K. Nelson has an alternative proposal for increasing the critical mass of the dept.

K. Nelson:  The statement that we have had a declining faculty is true, due to the administration-letting faculty go without replacing them.  In my view there are three individuals within the ECSE who are really power engineers.  If those three individual were moved into electric power this would free up three slots in ECSE, which would allow the administration to hire people that they feel are more in line with the directory making ECSE more complying with the Renns. Plan and it would build the number we need in EP so that we could get back to where we were during our research.  I am currently negotiating with General Electric for 2 of their engineers to come to RPI as research professor fully funded by GE for four million dollars each for a indefinite period of time.  Which would again provide another two individuals.

The advisory committee in engineering at their last meeting was up in arms about this merger.  They recommended very strongly against it and two of them offered to write a check to pay for another faculty member. They were prepared at that point to supply another faculty member.  The reaction I received was that one person was not enough you need more then that.  If you put both packages together, with the adjunct we have it becomes a respectable department.
P. Boyce:  The question here is this financial viable department?
K. Nelson:   Yes, we currently have 18 graduates student (most are paying their own way). Out of the four faculty one is fully funded, one of the chair professor money comes in from outside.


P. Boyce: It seems this is almost an attempt to eliminate something that has been successful in the past but doesn't have the new concern of the Renns. Plan.  We should support financially successful existing department, which are producing a useful product.

C. Breneman:  It has been pointed out that other department could actually fall in this particular ax very easily if undergraduate numbers are what accounts for what makes something successful or not.  It appears that undergraduate numbers are more sufficient to the current administration then graduate students.

S. Anderson-Gold:  The three professors whom are currently in another department. If they were added to your department this would go a long way in increasing your bulk.  Have you talked to these individuals, are they interested, and what are the obstacles in making this happen?

K. Nelson:  I don't believe they have formally been approached.  I don't know what their wishes are.  One of the individuals already has a joint appointment in EP but is administratively in ECSE.

S. Anderson-Gold:  It sounds like an interesting idea I was just wondering if you had a feeling if there was obstacles or interest?

K. Nelson:  I don't want to speak for the dean, but I think if the dean were here he would say that he sees a collation between ranking and size.  If you looking at the top ranking universities there is undoubtedly a colligation between the size of a dept and it's ranking. The fact of the matter is that the comradely is not true.  There are some very fine small departments.  I think is motivation is to try and build numbers in ECSE.

P. Hajela; Unfortunately the Dean is traveling and he has requested the senate grant him the opportunity to speak to the P&R report and perhaps address all question that have been raised here today.  The senate may go various way today, we can vote on the proposal put forward by the P&R committee or wait and hear from the dean, we can vote either way to accept the proposal or turn it down, or we can defer the decision to next week, when the dean can make a presentation to response to questions so we may make an educated decision at that point.

M. Hanna:  What impacts will this have on the undergraduate program in EP?  Will the curriculum be as vile able?

K. Nelson:  The impact on the undergraduate program will be very small. We are predominately a postgraduate program department.  We have more PhD per faculty member than any other school of engineering.  I think were it not for the fact we are continuous bailing the boat (so to speak) even with our research level at a low high we could still be a great deal higher.  The money is there it just we don't have the time to go after it, because we are in such short numbers.  Your question is specifically for undergraduate then I would have to guess those numbers are extremely low, that it would not be impacted very much.

P. Hajela:  What has been the history of faculty in the tenure process?

K. Nelson:  I have been chairman for 15 years and I haven't yet not got anyone through the P&R committee.

P. Hajela:  How many faculty are we talking about?

K. Nelson:  I would say 3 or 4.

R. Parsons:  What are the backgrounds of the students that come in for their masters/PhD?

K. Nelson:  Electric Engineering and Electric Power Engineer and one year master program.

For PhD student the background is enormous.
G. Gabriele:  From listening to both your recommendations, there seems to be many similarities so it is not clear to me why you would recommend one and not the other?
C. Breneman:  The main difference is that we don't believe the EEE department is as viable in its present form as the EP department is.  This opinion is based on our elevation of the faculty structure at the moment, what we have on national records.
P. Quinn: I think we should wait until next week and hear the dean and that we take no action until the dean has been heard.


K. Anderson:  The question I would like an answer to next week or shortly there after is what is the value of adding these extra faculty or lack of not adding in keeping this department?

P. Hajela:  If this were to become an electric power division within electric engineering what does it do to your staff and your ability to work?  In terms of teaching load, in terms of being able to get a research source from outside?

S. Salon:  In the current situation we taking an overload in teaching so we can attract master degree and doctrinal students.  Moving in to ECSE it is unclear if the same relationships would be allowed.  The question has been avoided a numerous times.  The current arrangement is that the faculty teaches an additional core course, to obtain the TA allocatement to attract graduate students.  The second area is that the assumption is whether we are in ECSE or EP the same job security, right now the market is enormous for graduates.  The assumption is that we have a strong program now you mess around with it and what happens is that its unsure if it will be allowed to continue doing what it does and you can not be assured that the faculty will stand for that.  If you can't hire or won't hire people to backfill empty positions, the program will be destroyed in a very short time even if we want it to be or not.

S. Anderson-Gold:  The P&R proposal is that we should request a moratorium so that they can continue their study?

M. Hanna:  Yes, so that we get answer to the question, which have, been voiced here today.  If the dean were not traveling today, I would assume the dean would be here in this meeting and then we would have a greater ability to make a resolution as to how we feel.  Then you are hearing all sides of the issues.  I don't think it intergrades the recommendations by the P & R committee but it just allows us more input.

P. Boyce:  I believe we should allow the dean his chance to answer our questions then I would like to make a decision.

C. Breneman:  I would feel more comfortable with having the dean address this senate. As to just address the P & R because we faced him there and we asked a lot of question (a lot of these questions).  What we need is for the senate to receive his answers.

P. Hajela:  All in favor of having a meeting next week, with the dean and at that point make a decision on the merger.  Meeting for next week approved.

Meeting adjourned 4:45 p.m.