Faculty Senate Meeting
August 29, 2000

Return to revised Minutes of August 29, 2000

Present: P. Hajela, S. Derby, M. Hanna, K. Fortun, R. Parsons, R. Leifer, L. Caporael, M. Embrechts, K. Anderson, G. Belfort, C. Brenneman, J. Mitchell

Guests: G. Gabriele [for B. Peterson], Fran Scott [Library], B. Baeslack



        Presentation and discussion of proposed Faculty Senate activities for the academic year 2000-1. Includes Human Resources challenges (Clinical Faculty discussion).

        Goal to include Hartford in 2 way TV discussions Jan 2001.

        Discussions concerning the Rensselaer Performance Plans, timetables, faculty input, P & R committee activities. Concerns that most faculty do not appreciate the impact that the Performance Plans will have on the shaping of Rensselaer in the near future.


MOTION: To set up an enlarged ad-hoc/P & R committee, the ad-hoc numbers would be charged to relay information relevant to the P&R committeeís mission during this planning process.PASSED UNANIMOUSLY



P. Hajela: The Faculty Senate executive committee met recently to outline issues that we should address this year. The Faculty Senate is charged to look at all faculty issues affecting the common purposes of Rensselaer.Faculty includes all tenured or tenure track faculty, research faculty, and members of the library.In order for the executive committee to be more responsive to faculty concerns, the executive committee has agreed to hold its meeting in the different schools. This group meets every other week (this is the week between Senate meetings), and I have asked the Executive Committee that we hold our meetings in each of the five schools separately. We will have a closed session with the Executive Committee and then open the meeting with an invitation to members of the faculty of that school to come and share their thoughts with us.This is on an experimental basis. We do not know how many people will show up, but should at least try this process to directly solicit information from the faculty.In addition to the five schools, we will also schedule meetings with clinical faculty and with members of library staff.Fran, if you would please convey this thought to the library staff.I would like to now list some of the issues identified by the executive committee and would like for this group to raise issues that should be on our list but have not been included here.

The issues identified by the Executive Committee can be listed under four categories.

Communication: We introduced a WebCT based electronic voting system last year which was reasonably successful. I suggest that we extend this as a vehicle to solicit faculty input on issues of import. We should also move to establish a web presence, and I have already had preliminary discussions on this with John Kolb.Hopefully our Faculty Senate homepage will be available soon and should contain items of interest to the faculty at-large as well as a posting of the minutes. Another issue of importance has to with evaluation of the administrators. There are administrators such as the deans of different who are periodically evaluated by the Institute. Bud Peterson informs me that the Institute could use the faculty Senate input in addition to other material that they develop for such reviews. More importantly, there are some administrators who are not evaluated on a routine basis, and the faculty Senate initiated discussion on this subject last semester. Perhaps Bob Parsons may speak to this issue a little later on. Another issue of concern is with the consistency of faculty performance evaluations and with the mechanisms used in different schools.This concern is further heightened by how faculty evaluations will take place in cross-disciplinary programs such as Information and/or Bio-Technology.

Governance: At the top of our list here is the Faculty Senateís role in the performance planning process. Curt Breneman (Planning and Resources Committee) will shortly outline a procedure that we discussed for his committee to follow.The executive committee also feels that the Senate should be involved in developing focus projects for promoting Rensselaerís overall mission.In my discussion with Bud Peterson, the idea of Rensselaer applying for entry to the American Association of Universities (AAU) was brought up. I would like to see the Senate undertake this project if it is acceptable to this group.


Curriculum/Student Issues: We would like to continue to monitor the scheduling guidelines.We will have one semesterís experience at the end of this term, and would like to solicit information from both faculty and students to feed to Garyís committee. We would like to help in a constructive manner to improve our scheduling process.Kevin Craig and I have discussed the role of the Curriculum Committee in taking a look at the 4x 4 curriculum as well as the use of laptop computers. We will invite this committee to develop metrics to evaluate the success of these programs. We would also like for them to explore/study new initiatives that will keep us at the leading edge of universities involved with innovative instructional paradigms. I have asked the Curriculum Committee to be proactive in proposing new ideas.

Human Resources: At the top of this list is the issue of Clinical faculty and their representation in the Senate.We are also interested in Senate participation from colleagues at the Hartford campus.I have initiated some contact with Heidi Ellis who is the representative from the Hartford campus.We would really like to see a consensus emerge on this issue this year. I have also been in touch with Deborah Nazon who is coordinating campus efforts at promoting diversity Ė the Senate should be involved in these efforts and we will hear from Deborah later in the year on this issue. We also have to do some bookkeeping activities in terms of the faculty handbook.Another subject of interest is that of faculty salaries.I am told that the new VP of human resources is going to undertake a review of faculty salaries to see how it compares with other universities that we view as competitors. I think that Senate input in this matter will be important.

Committee Charges: The Planning and Resources Committee is going to have a full load in handling the performance planning process. The Curriculum Committee is charged with developing an assessment of the 4x4 curriculum, the use of laptop computers, and to study new innovative initiatives in undergraduate education.I am going to be asking the chairs of these committees to come in and make periodic presentations to the Senate to see how their plans are shaping up.The Promotion and Tenure Committee is asked to re-examine the procedure by which we handle appeals cases. If the case is turned down in the P&T committee, an appeal will come back to that committee at a later stage, albeit with new information. The process needs some study in this regard. We also need to be proactive on how the promotion and tenure criteria will evolve during this transitional period for Rensselaer. Both the President and Provost have brought up the issue of Ďraising the barí; it would be useful for the P & T Committee to take a look at our existing metrics and see how we stand relative schools with which we compete. An internal examination would be more useful rather than having ideas imposed from outside.

G. Belfort: This is my first time here, and I am a little bit green, so I donít know how the system works, so please bear with me.It surprises me that our President has made a major thrust to try to build back graduate education, and thereís no mention of graduate education.Am I missing something?This should be part of the curriculum.


P. Hajela: Yes, in both the curriculum and the performance planning.


G. Belfort: Itís very important to focus on that area (graduate education and research) as the university has been slipping for some years, and we need to be aware of that.


P. Hajela: Iím glad you brought that up. I should have mentioned that in discussions with the Provost, the idea of looking at ways of reducing graduate tuition was brought up. Bud was specifically interested in exploring Faculty Senate input on how we can lower the cost of graduate education to the PIís.


K. Fortun: Especially the overhead.


P. Hajela: The overhead, I think, already inched a little downward about a month ago.


R. Leifer:In the Rensselaer Plan, there are 144 or 142 commitment statements, and over the summer, our senior administration whittled those down to a smaller number of major commitments. Among them, if I can remember correctly are hiring world-class faculty.I donít remember the others now, but I think it would be helpful if what the Senate does is supportive and consistent with the commitment statements that are forming the basis of the performance plans throughout the Institute.We want to be seen as consistent with those, then perhaps going off in a different direction.So, it might be useful to look at the commitment statements and see what implications they have for the faculty and faculty interests.One of them is the revision of promotion and tenure standards.I think we want to make sure that we have input into that process.


P. Hajela: Yes, I think thatís a very useful comment, Richard, and we will certainly look into that.The President is going to have a series of town meetings, the first one of which is slated for September 7, at which she will identify the priority list. I encourage this group to attend that, meeting. I agree with Richard about the Senate being supportive, but that support should develop from discussions in the Senate; we have to seek alignment with faculty priorities as well.


K. Fortun:I have a question.The whittling down of priorities, where was it publicized?


R. Leifer: We got that from our dean who is soliciting input to the performance plan process. He sent us a list with this plan.


K. Fortun:Well, for example, did the document explain to deans how to do the performance plans?


R. Leifer: There is an outline.


K. Fortun:Right, which Iíve seen, but to my knowledge, it hasnít been circulated to faculty broadly.And, I raised the question to ask how we, as a Senate, should be facilitating a broad understanding of what the process is.


R. Leifer: Well, I would hope that Curt would get involved with that early on because I would hate for you guys to get dumped on with all of these performance plans for a year without having a sense of what the process is, and the thinking that went into developing the outlines.There were a couple of meetings held this summer with the senior management, where they developed that, along with a consultant from Price Waterhouse.


C. Brenneman:I totally agree that we canít come off as rubber-stamping any of this stuff.Thatís my greatest fear, that we align ourselves too closely to the stated goals; if we donít question any of that, we run that risk.So, I would say that we should know exactly what the philosophy was behind it, and then say, well, maybe we have to deviate slightly from the plan.


P. Hajela: Well, I think this naturally leads to the performance planning guidelines schedule.I think that once I am done with this presentation, we can open up the subject for discussion.As informed by the Provost, a draft of performance plans from each portfolio will be available October 27th, with cross-cutting reviews within the academic portfolios taking place between November 10th and 21st.The performance plans will then be sent to the Presidentís office December 1st.The cabinet will meet with portfolio honors for review of these December 4th to the 20th and there will be a series of meetings in between. In essence, the resource allocation and overall prioritization of resources will be completed by February 2nd of 2001.Curt and I had a meeting with Bud Peterson where he asked us to identify what the faculty Planning and Resources Committee would be doing with respect to the performance plans.Both the President and the Provost feel that this committee should be looking at both the process as well as the content of the performance plans. We have developed an outline plan that Curt will present to this group for critique.

R. Leifer:Thereís a lot of information-passing that is going on informally, and thatís essentially what this process is all about.We donít have to wait till the performance plans are actually available for us to start doing our own work.


C. Brenneman: We discussed timing in our meeting with Bud Peterson - it looked like we might have had too short of a time for proper faculty response.


R. Leifer: Yeah, that was my concern.


C. Brenneman: The idea was that we should develop a way of getting sort of a preview of where these things are going and try to react to it early enough.


P. Hajela: Let me outline the process. Curt and I agreed to expand the size of the planning and resources committee to get this task accomplished.We want to appoint ad hoc committees in each school and academic function.For example, the school of engineering may have representatives from each of the departments who are part of an ad hoc committee which serves as aliaison between portfolio owners (deans of that school) and the FPRC. They also serve as a link between the faculty in general and the individuals who are responsible for preparing the plans.Dean Baeslack who has just joined us for this meeting has appointed a committee that will help him develop these performance plans.Am I right?


B. Baeslack: Itís being appointed right now.It will include department chairs and other faculty.


P. Hajela: The idea is for the ad hoc committee to interact with this group and collect information about the performance plans which may be useful to the planning and resources committee.I would like the Senators from specific schools to be proactive in helping us and the planning and resources committee identify people who would serve on this ad hoc committee. This is something we really need to get done quickly.The FPRC will meet with the individual portfolio owners and Provost as necessary. Once the Performance Plans are released, the FPRC will participate in a retreat with the portfolio owners. With the help of the ad hoc committees, however, the FPRC will have some sense of faculty perspective on Performance plans.The FPRC will then critique the performance plans for presentation to the Senate. Curt, Iím hoping that your committee will give the Senate periodic updates as well.


C. Brenneman: Right.


P. Hajela: I am not clear about the mechanism for this committee to interact with the Vice Presidential divisions and indeed, there are some which do involve faculty interests.I think that whatever is pertinent to the faculty will emerge as part of performance plans in individual schools. However, the plans from VP Research should be subject to a review by the faculty committee for planning and resources.That is all that I have to say in terms of a formal presentation.Curt, would you take over at this point.


C. Brenneman: We need a mechanism by which someone can represent the different departments interest without tipping the hat of anything considered confidential. We have two Senators from each school. We need for them to point or identify those members who will report back to them We could have an ad-hoc committee made up of Senators, not necessarily people from individual schools.The ad hoc committee will condense information for the Senators, the Senators will report to the P&R core, and we will have an idea of where things are going early in the process.From this input, the P&R core will prepare its report to the full Senate.


P. Hajela: I stand corrected Ė it seems that you envision another layer in this process which I did not identify.


C. Brenneman: The difference is that either the P&R could meet with ad-hoc committee members or really the Senators are going to be involved.†† We had some additional criteria that we were thinking about. In particular, members of each of the departments or school committees should not (if possible) be involved in the administration of that department.That is why we want to discourage chairs from being involved.We want people who are not specifically involved in the performance plan generation so that we can get a sense of where things are going without any vested interest.Basically then, we want information early to get a feel for how things are going, what are problems maybe developing, where thereís synergy, and where thereís not.


Mark Hanna: I would just like to get a sense from my colleagues here as to how widely is information about the performance planning being distributed. We have heard from people in Engineering and from Richard that information has flowed into the school. This is very hierarchical in the School of Science; historically that is the way it has been, and I assume that history is repeating itself.We donít have a rep from Architecture here.


K. Fortun: How is it working in H&SS?


L. Caporael: I just wanted to ask, Richard, do they actually have a list of the whittled down commitments of the 144?


R. Leifer: We didnít get 144, we just got a listing of probably 10 or 12.


L. Caporael: 10 or 12 and that would have been just management or is that institute wide?


R. Leifer: Institute wide


L. Caporael: Why canít I get it. It seems different schools have different policies on doing things. Itís not that we want to tell the schools to standardize, but I think that we want to encourage all the schools to be as open as they can at appropriate times.It would mean more access to information and more participation in determining which directions to go.


K. Fortun: There is also the issue of those decisions that may have been made. I have heard just informal discussion of those. What does it mean when we hear that decisions got Institute level support.The same is, I think, true of these external committee processes for IT and BT. Iím on the IT committee, and Iím not exactly sure what the input of the document weíre producing is going to be.And, I certainly donít know what the plan is to circulate it.We need that to be clarified.


C. Brenneman:I already heard one such thing related to the biotech committee.Iím on the BT one and Iíve been through that process. We will have a presentation of the external committee report to the biotech committee later in the week. In todayís Review, there was an announcement for some decisions to be made for resources for bio-informatics prior to the report being issued.Now, that seemed to bother some people.


P. Hajela:There are a couple of things that we need to iron out.First of all, the procedure itself, Does the Senate find that acceptable, the procedure that was outlined?Curt, can we back away from having the Senators be the ad-hoc committee members and have the ad-hoc committee report directly to the P & R.


R. Leifer: Let me just respond to Kim.This process is really serious stuff.It will determine for the school what programs will get funded and what wonít get funded.And, I think we need to take it really seriously.Itís not just another paper exercise.


C. Brenneman:I also feel that the performance planning is much more significant than the original Rensselaer Plan generation. From our discussions with Bud Peterson, the importance of the February meeting is very clear Ė they will allocate resources according to the plans. With regards to the P&R mechanism, as I remember, we wanted Senators primarily to identify key individuals within the departments who will be in tune with whatís going on in those departments at the planning stage.We had decided to discourage chair participation, and to have another voice; typically these plans develop in a hierarchical mode. The faculty provides ideas to the chair who will then condense them and send them out to the dean, where another revision takes place. We need to know what got left out. The Senators, we thought were a good condensation point because we will essentially have 5 or 6 ad-hoc people who will be talking to each Senator or pair of Senators.


P. Hajela:Again, my reason for suggesting that we use the ad-hoc committee directly is that some schools donít have as large a representation (number of Senators) for them to be able to put together all the ideas.You may want to go directly to the ad-hoc committee identified by a Senator or group of Senators.


C. Brenneman:Initially, weíd like to charge Senators in the various areas.We should have you do this?


P. Hajela: The Senate will do this.


C. Brenneman:Weíre going to charge the Senators to identify these individuals and ask them for their participation.


P. Hajela: Weíd like a motion on this from the floor.Curt, do you want to just make that motion?


C. Brenneman:I propose that Senators from each school identify members of the departments within the school that can act as representatives to, or as part of the ad-hoc committee that will be involved with planning and resources.


B. Baeslack: One thing that is important is that each of the schools may develop a process to work through this in a different way.In other words, it may be very useful to meet with the deans to understand that particular process and determine how your process fits with that process.I just had a department meeting with my chairs last week. You may wish to look at the time-line to times and points where a sub-group of Senators should meet with a sub-group of chairs, or the dean, or whoever you want to meet with, and make some assessments at that point. This this process is extremely condensed.Itís very short.


M. Embrechts: The task is for us as the Faculty Senate to represent the interests of the institution and the interests of the faculty, so I would hope that the process will allow us to put our two-bits in, particularly on the procedures. My personal preference would be that this sort of thing happened over a period of time with respect to hiring priorities or maybe targeting buy-outs or something.Obviously we all know that if you dissolve a department, all sorts of things can happen.It is not very good for the faculty involved.


P. Hajela: Yes, but it has rarely happened, and it has rarely succeeded.


C. Brenneman:Right, be we are up for serious change.Thatís my read on things.And, we have to make sure, our committee, and the faculty Senate to watch out for the interests of the institution and the faculty.


L. Caporael:I wonder, and you probably already started thinking about this, if itís possible for the committee to develop a list of general criteria that might be helpful in evaluating the plan. Also, how modifiable is a plan?Are there plans for transition faculty if thatís necessary?Items that we think are important, particularly with respect to the faculty and to Rensselaer overall, can start informing that decision making process ahead of time, or we think of the criteria ahead of time.


C. Brenneman:Input will be solicited.


L. Caporael: I think that one of the advantages of this discussion is that it is just raising things that I hadnít thought about at all in terms of the performance plan.Iíd like to be sure that these items are included in how we think about and evaluate them.


C. Brenneman:Weíve had in the past, several iterations of things, almost as a practice to this.Spires of Excellence, Cathedrals of Excellence, did we have Cusps of Excellence, Iím not sure.At any rate, all these asked departments to prioritize their activities, and itís always been difficult for the very reason that we donít operate as a coherent business unit, we have individual research programs.So, the problem is always how to do that, and those are the kinds of things we have to face.One of the things to come out of this, I think, is that representation is the most important thing.Everyone feels that theyíve been heard, priorities are at least represented.


M. Embrechts: And, I remember this from the past exercise at Rensselaer.Being a nuclear engineer, in nuclear engineering, whenever one of those major exercises takes place, the first thing you always heard was get rid of the nuclear engineering department. I can tell you that even when a department is doing well, this knowledge makes you worry. Such an atmosphere should never be created when this process takes place.


B. Baeslack: So, is that why youíre in ECSE now?


M. Embrechts: Itís certainly part of the reason.Certainly after 3 or 4 times of going through an exercise, you get tired of it.


B. Baeslack: I will make available our plan and give you a copy of that.Iíll be sending a memo to all my faculty, about the process, where weíre going, and how itís going to work, including committees and some timelines.I would be happy to give you a copy of the three-page memo of how weíre going to do this process.


C. Brenneman:The other thing we didnít bring up, which we should have is that we can do this at various levels of confidentiality.Obviously, during certain phases of planning, you donít want to share the draft. We will integrate those things in the core P&R report for example, and the report to the Executive Committee here.We would like to discuss issues and get a feel for whatís going on, and what can be different.


B. Baeslack: The only remark is that this is going to happen so fast. Each of my working groups will develop their final presentations, and that could quite possibly happen in a four hour meeting, two days before I sit down with my staff and listen to the leadership input.Itís just going to be very compressed; thatís why itís important to get these schedules and try to figure out what the best time is to insert yourself into that process.




C. Brenneman:To set up an enlarged ad-hoc/P & R committee, the ad-hoc numbers would be charged to relay information relevant to the P&R committeeís mission during this planning process.


P. Hajela: We need a second.


Derby: Iíll second this motion, then we can discuss it.


P. Hajela: We have a second Ė now open for discussion.


C. Brenneman:I had originally thought that the senators form the ad-hoc committee, so the initial plan was that the information from the task force members, what we call task force members within the departments, would flow to the Senators, and the Senators would then report to the core P & R committee, as a member of the ad-hoc committee.


P. Hajela: Yes, and the problem I felt with that was that some schools donít have sufficient number of Senators to do that.


M. Hanna: One of the things we might do is suggest that Senate members from that school immediately meet with deans to see how the mechanism is going to work in that particular school, and then either one or both of the Senators serve to organize the group. If the senator is from a department, it is covered. You get people from the other departments to go along with it - the Senators participate and expand on the committee.


C. Brenneman:The major idea of the motion was to generate a representation of the departments using the Senators as contact individuals to help generate this.


M. Hanna: The motion doesnít disallow the Senate members from participating in it.


P. Hajela: We need to set a time for completion of this task.We need greater interaction with the dean in each school.Bud could give the engineering Senators a time frame, perhaps even today.


R. Leifer: Actually, I was thinking about this, it might do well for a memo from the faculty Senate to go to each of the deans advising them of what the process is so that when I go to the dean, itís not seen either as just an ad-hoc thing that Iím doing, but that itís a consistent activity throughout the campus and that theyíre participating with this ad-hoc committee in the same way that all the others are.


B. Baeslack: May I interject here that this will actually be coming out of the provostís office, that the provost will develop this guideline and that heíll show it to all the deans actually.


P. Hajela: Bud Peterson was going to do yesterday except that he said heíd hold off and get input from todayís meeting before he did that.




R. Leifer: If I could also make a suggestion that you contact, somebody from the faculty Senate initiate a discussion with Curtis Powell. There is a concern about faculty positions and what happens to people who arenít going to find themselves in high priority positions, and what the response of the university is going to be for faculty who suddenly find themselves disenfranchised.And is there a plan for dealing with the issues that come up.What are we going to do for people who find themselves in low priority positions?What do we do to keep them?What kind of incentives or selective early retirement or whatever?I mean, there are issues that Kim brought out which I think are very important. I donít think the administration has thought through this one at all.


P. Hajela: The Executive Committee has thought about asking Curtis to come to one of our meetings and actually answer some questions and perhaps lead to presentation of what his office was going to be doing in various areas. Weíve talked in the Executive Committee also about bringing both our Provost, and our vice President for human resources up to speed on where the clinical faculty issues stand. Both of these individuals are from the outside and thereís a lot of history that needs to be discussed.


K. Fortun: In the process that Curt is initiating I think that we should be sensitive to having junior faculty because I think that it is easy to hear this conversation as more senior scholars with intense research fields that suddenly arenít relevant anymore.Remember younger researchers are equally as important in terms of a baseline atmosphere; they are not likely to be doing something obsolete in terms of what the broader research community is thinking if they just got out of graduate school.I think that it will be a different set of issues.


P. Hajela: One of the things that we did not talk about was the size of our committees.It is something that probably warrants discussion.What size is good and at what point does it become too large


Mike Hanna: If you donít have each department have one representative then obviously you stand a significant chance of missing some perspective.You kind of need someone who doesnít have a personal agenda so that you get more than just a personal agenda. I think that you need to think about your colleagues and decide who you are going to recommend or ask to do that.You need someone to think a little bit out of the box.


R. Leifer: I donít think that the full import of these performance plans have hit most of the faculty. And I think that once it does, thereís going to be an uproar.We should plan for that - who they go to, how people can raise concerns, who is the contact person in individual schools.We need to clarify the evaluation process so that people have some assurance that their concerns will be heard and considered.


P. Hajela: Perhaps this should be part of the ďSenate Executive Committee ListensĒ exercise when we go to the schools.We send a memo ahead of the time scheduled and also share this with them.We would like to get as much participation as possible.


K. Anderson:What kind of time frame are we talking about here?


P. Hajela: Bud was talking about a short fuse is on all of this.And it doesnít sound like there really is time to put this off until the next time the faculty gets together.


R. Leifer: Well the performance plans themselves are to be available October 27th .That is when the draft plans will be available for critique.The committee needs to start at least a month before that, because that is when things start to take shape, essentially.Right now the directives are being issued by the deans to the department chairs to provide input and faculty is going to be involved in this in the usual manner Ė perhaps at faculty meetings.Some ideas will start to percolate in the next two weeks or so.I donít know.I think that it is also important for each of the Senators to identify with their deans as to what the timelines are.I think much will depend on that as well.


P. Hajela: So by the beginning of the week the Senators from the particular schools should be talking to each other and to the deans tpo learn of the process and timelines.

L. Caporael: Richard,I am thinking about your comments about the performance plans and the faculty not being aware of them.What are the implications that come out of this? Also, if you are not in a targeted high priority area, then you could face a life time employment of having fairly low faculty salary raises. This is just because you are in the wrong area and is quite independent of the quality of your work.Is that accurate?


R. Leifer: Let me say how I understand this. W are moving to a zero base budgeting which is different than what we have done before.What we have done before is you have your priorities and then when you have additional things you fund those marginally.But, what the President wants to do now is have all the activities in the school in rank order from highest to lowest priority.And then you allocate resources.When you run out of resources you draw a line. Anything underneath that doesnít get any resources.So I donít think that it has to do, necessarily, with faculty salary. It does have to do with what activities in the institute will receive support and are which we going to not fund.New things going on in departments will get put in a mix with the things that we usually do.


K. Anderson:I will just say that in regards to your comments and what Kim said earlier, you definitely need to consider the younger faculty and get their take on this.I can speak honestly that a lot of young faculty members are scared stiff.They see themselves coming out of graduate school working on what they consider a hot topic, and they see no start up funds are going to be available for work.No backing from the institute on any of their proposals, because itís not what somebody over in the Troy building chose as a hot topic.A number of the young faculty have very little faith in the hot topics that have been chosen in the past.


R. Leifer: You know as far as I can see if the process works properly each dean becomes an advocate for the programs within each school.It is really the schoolís responsibility to decide what they are going to support and what they are not going to support and to get everybody to understand those.I donít think that those decisions get made in the Troy building.


K. Anderson: No, but, I think Curtis Powell needs to be involved and the young faculty members need to be made aware that theyíre being considered.†† They are very concerned that some vice President will decide on some area, and then any hopes of getting support to generate a good proposal will evaporate.


K. Fortun: I donít think that is the case.I think that what we are finding is that in the absence of facts there are a lot of rumors, and they generally reflect the deepest worries and fears. That is why I am always suggesting that we let people know what we know as soon as we know it.To give people a reality check about what is really going on.I donít see this process as being that Machiavellian, but it really is a bottoms-up planning process.And I think that if it is so, we argue for what we are doing as being relevant to the Institutes strategic.I donít see this as being done to us so to speak.I donít think that somebody is going to sit and say we are not going to do that one, or, forget about that one.I donít think that is happening.I think that we have new initiatives such as biotechnology, but I donít see anybody in central administration coming down and saying that a particular area is one that we are not going to support.I think that is up to the schools to do, not the Institute.


R. Leifer: One of the other items that came out of the Rensselaer Plan are things that are going to give up or are willing to get rid of.


K. Anderson: On this I think its important to state that junior faculty could have been put in the position of being afraid that they are going to be cut. This is certainly not productive for anybody.The other thing that the Institute and the administration needs to remember is that the job market out there is really good in a lot of these areas and weíve got some really good junior faculty.If weíre going to be fools then weíre going to lose them because they are going to get fed up.Its not just a matter of ďOh theyíre scared of being cut - they are going to be leavingĒ.


K. Fortun: Itís not only junior faculty.


K. Anderson: But what Iím saying is that it is simply not about ďthey might do something to usĒ but rather ďfaculty might also do something to the InstituteĒ.Faculty expect a certain atmosphere for research and I think it will affect all of us if we start seeing a flight of people who are so committed to their research that they actually want to do it.




Mike Hanna:I would like to put one thing on the floor that we had talked about. We did do the schedule for this semesterís Senate meetings.What we may want to think about over the next week or two is that there are unique niches in the scheduling process which may warrant a change in the time of Senate meetings.For example Wednesday afternoon is theoretically light.Tuesday afternoon from 4-6 is a time where you cannot schedule classes without special permission.Do we as a group want to change our historical time period for Senate meetings in the spring semester?We probably need to answer that before classes get scheduled for the spring semester.Which is in about six weeks.