Review of Administrators
Report from the Curriculum Committee on the IT Structure Changes - Gary Gabriele, Dean of Undergraduate Education
Report from the Planning and Resources Committee, IT Structure Changes - Curt Breneman
Planning and Resources Committee - Department Mergers in the School of Engineering
President Prabhat Hajela called the meeting to order. The Election results were presented by Faculty Senate Vice President Linnda Caporael. She then made a motion to accept the results as submitted. The Election results were unanimously accepted as presented by Linnda Caporael.
Senator Sharon Anderson-Gold presented on the Review of Administrators.
Senator Sharon Anderson-Gold
what a better background assumption might be. Mark Embrechts also question
the assumption of what the normal procedure will be. He does not want to see
that after five years someone states that that is not what is written.
Prabhat agreed that it is a valid point and that the old language actually
states that the President appoints the dean for an indefinite term. The department
chairperson is only appointed for a fix term, but the fix term is not specified.
He asked whether the language already exists that these appointments may be
renewed. Sharon said that it does, but only specified for the chairs. Bob
Parsons stated that the Provost is the one that added the term and the Faculty
Senate Executive Committee felt that it was a good thing. This is just
a recommendation that will go to the (what office?) for approval to be added
to the handbook.
Linda Caporael asked
if there was some reason for having a review for a three-year chair.
It seems to her that 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 a while to figure that out and then
just let the rest of that term drift. Gary Gabriel, Dean of Undergraduate
Education, stated that the five-year term
is 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 he sees with this statement is that it seems to imply
that only deans reviewed are those deans who head up schools. It does not
clarify if it includes him as Dean of Undergraduate Education as well as other
Deans that do not head a school. He is not sure what the intent is with
respect to those Deans. He added that he has no position on it, but is is
just not clear in this statement. Sharon
Anderson-Gold stated that she thought if "Deans of Schools" were
added to the statement "of the school", it would imply all Deans.
President Prabhat Hajela
made a motion to accept the handbook changes. Bob Parsons made the motion,
it was seconded by Steve Derby and then unanimously accepted.
Gary Gabriele, Dean of Undergraduate
Education that that 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 this did not appear to be a problem but J.
Napolitano felt this would be a problem for IT students. Sam Waite
has informed the committee that the current core requirement is under discussion
in the Science Curriculum Committee. At this point, there is not a
resolution, but it does not appear to the committee to be a major roadblock.
The Committee is still investigating the confusion surrounding what it means
for IT to be administrated within the School of Science relevant to degree
requirements. There are no sustained roadblocks to report at this
time. Associate Dean for the IT committee will have a discussion on
this topic. In all others aspects, the core requirements for IT and
Science are the same.
Prabhat Hajela asked Gary to inform the Faculty Senate of any administrative problems. Gary responded that he does not know of any yet, but he did expect it to be a challenge.
Curt Breneman stated
that he thought the real question is how to evaluate the IT Undergraduate
program with the IT Graduate research program. He questioned how these two
fit together. Gary Gabriele said he believes it is too early to tell. He thinks
that the assumption can be made that it is not too much different than the
Institute Research Center and their corresponding undergraduate programs.
He does not see where this is functionally too much different from that.
Prabhat asked what the
Senate wants to do with the proposed IT structure. He asked if the Senate
wants to go on record to state this is something the Senate would like to
reexamine in depth and then give our opinion on or accept it as proposed.
Bob Parsons asked Curt if he had any idea how big the management group is
in IT. Curt's understanding is that it is the majority. Bob Parsons asked
if science is a good home for this group or whether there should be an IT
component in Management and an IT in Science to maintain an interdisciplinary.
Curt asked if the School of Science is the best academic home for the undergraduate
and master level work. He personally feels the program is a good one and that
the Senate should endorse it. He added there is going to be problems along
the way, and as with the Rensselaer Plan, it will be reviewed on an annual
Chair of the Faculty,
Mike Hanna, stated that he still has a large concern in whether the undergraduate
program is in the right place. Based on the students that are in the program,
he does not know how many of them would feel that the School of Science is
the right place. If he 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. His question is why did it go in one direction
as opposed to the other. He added that he would be more comfortable in saying
that the Senate withstands until further evaluation.
Curt Breneman asked if he was suggesting that the Research Administration, Graduate Administration and Undergraduate Administration be split so there are three pieces instead of two. Mike responded that he does not have a problem with the graduate portion if the question about the Master's portion of the program is answered. He asked additionally if the thesis Master work is done the same way as the PhD and if it is non-thesis, where does it go. Curt believes that the reason why the School of Science was chosen for this is because the research component definitely has more science as well as engineering it it. IT should be thought of as a science application.
Prabhat said he believes the Senate has a number of unanswered
questions, including Core Curriculum matters as well as the right place for
the IT structure. He said he thinks it needs more discussion within the Senate
before the IT structure can be endorsed.
Curt Breneman stated
that K. Nelson has an alternative proposal for increasing the critical mass
of the department. Department
Mergers Presentation attached. Keith Nelson said that
the statement that Rensselaer has had a declining faculty is true, due to
the administration letting faculty go without replacing them. In his
view there are three individuals within the ECSE who are really power engineers.
If those three individuals 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 compliant
with the Rensselaer Plan and it would build the number needed in EP so that
it would get us back to where the department was during our research.
He said that he is currently negotiating with General Electric for two of
their engineers to come to RPI as research professors fully funded by GE for
four million dollars each for an indefinite period of time. Which would
again provide another two individuals. At
their last meeting, the advisory committee in engineering 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 he received
was that one person was not enough. If both packages are put together,
with the adjunct, Rensselaer will have a respectable department.
Curt Breneman said that
it has been pointed out that other departments 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.
Sharon Anderson-Gold said that if the three professors who are currently in another department were added to this department, it would go a long way in increasing the bulk. She asked if he had ever talked to these individuals to see if they are interested and what the obstacles are in making it happen. Keith Nelson responded that he does not believe they have formally been approached and he does not know what their wishes are. One of the individuals already has a joint appointment in EP but is administratively in ECSE. Sharon said that it sounded like an interesting idea and was just wondering if he had a feeling there was an obstacle or interest. Keith did not want to speak for the Dean, but he thinks if the Dean were here, he would say that he sees a correlation between ranking and size. If the top ranking universities are looked at, there is undoubtedly a correlation between the size of a department and its ranking. The fact of the matter is that the comradely is not true. There are some very find small departments. He thinks the motivation is to try and build numbers in ECSE.
President Hajela said
that 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
questions that have been raised here today. The Senate may go various
ways today. A vote can be taken on the proposal put forward by the P&R
committee or the Senate can wait and hear from the Dean. Or the Senate can
vote either way to accept the proposal or turn it down, or defer the decision
to next week when the Dean can make a presentation to respond to questions
so an educated decision can be made at that point.
Mike Hanna asked what
impacts this will this have on the undergraduate program in EP and if the
curriculum be as viable. Keith Nelson responded that the impact on the undergraduate
program will be very small and that it is predominately a postgraduate program
department. There are more PhD per faculty member than any other school
of engineering. He thinks that were it not for the fact continuous bailing
of the boat (so to speak) is happening, even with the research level at a
low high, it could still be a great deal higher. The money is there,
but the time to go after it is not because the department is short in numbers.
If the question is specifically for undergraduate then he would have to guess
those numbers are extremely low, that it would not be impacted very much.
Prabhat asked what has
been the history of faculty in the tenure process. Keith said that he has
been chairman for 15 years and that he has not yet not gotten anyone through
the P&R committee. Prabhat asked how many faculty he was talking
about. Keith said perhaps 3 or 4.
Bob Parsons asked what
the backgrounds of the students are that come in for their masters/PhD. Keith
said Electric Engineering and Electric Power Engineer and one year Master's
program. For PhD students the background
Anderson said that the
question he 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
Prabhat asked that if
this were to become an electric power division within electric engineering,
what does it do to the staff and the ability to work in terms of teaching
load and being able to get a research source from outside. Shep Salon said
that in the current situation, an overload in teaching is taken in order to
Master's degree and doctoral students. Moving in to ECSE, it is unclear
if the same relationships would be allowed. The question has been avoided
numerous times. The current arrangement is that the faculty teaches
an additional core course, to obtain the TA allotment to attract graduate
students. The second area is that the assumption is whether the faculty
in ECSE or EP have the same job security, and that right now the market is
enormous for graduates. The assumption is that it is a strong program
now but what happens if it is messed around with
and what happens is that it is unsure if it will be allowed to continue doing
what it does and one cannot be assured that the faculty will stand for that.
If people can not or will not be hired to backfill empty positions, the program
will be destroyed in a very short time even if Rensselaer want it to be or
asked that in the P&R proposal whether a moratorium should be requested
so that they can continue in their study. Mike Hanna said yes so that the
answers to the questions voiced today can be found. If the Dean were not traveling
today, he would assume the Dean would be here in this meeting and then there
would be a greater ability to make a resolution as to how the Senate feels.
This would allow everyone to hear all sides of the issues. He does not think
it integrates the recommendations by the P & R committee, it just provides
more input. Peter Boyce believes that the Dean should be allowed his chance
to answer the questions and then the Senate can make their decision. Curt
said he feels more comfortable with having the Dean address this Senate rather
than just P&R. The Senate needs to receive his answers.
Prabhat asked if all
was in favor of having a meeting next week, with the dean and at that point
make a decision on the merger. The meeting for next week was approved.
Meeting adjourned 4:45