Original Minutes from Faculty Senate Meeting - January 23, 2002

Return to revised Minutes of 1-23-2002

Attendees: Kurt Anderson, Tom Apple, Bud Baeslack, Georges Belfort, Curt Breneman, President Linnda Caporael, Steve Cramer, Don Drew. Mark Embrechts, Gary Gabriele, Lester Gerhardt, John Gowdy, Prabhat Hajela, Steven T. Liddy, Jack Mahoney, John Mitchell, Jon Newell, Ralph Noble, Randy Norsworthy, Bud Peterson, Trina Sego, Julie Stenken, Mary Ann Waltz, Bruce Watson

The meeting was brought to order and the agenda rearranged so that Dean of Graduate Education, Tom Apple, could make his presentation on graduate tuition first. An external study found that we support our graduate program at a level much higher than our peer institutions.

The presentation and subsequent discussion centered on various aspects of the changes to Graduate Education at Rensselaer. Consultants to Rensselaer reported that time to completion for both PhD and MS degrees is longer for us than for many of our peer institutions (e.g., Cornell, MIT, CMU, CalTech, and Stanford). It was also reported that we have more MS than PhD students. Also unlike these universities, there is a much larger proportion of teaching assistants (TAs) to research assistants (RAs) at Rensselaer. Of central concern, external support for these students is lower at Rensselaer than at these other universities. Tuition structure and how student time and effort is charged to research contracts will be examined to determine how to correct this situation.

Provost Peterson said that a model was being developed to increase support for graduate students, while at the same time increasing the revenue and that this might impact teaching loads. It was acknowledged that in the short term, the changes in graduate finances could negatively affect the President's goal to increase the number of PhD students graduating from Rensselaer. It was also pointed out that the greater proportion of TAs in Rensselaer's graduate student population reflects greater reliance on grad students in course coverage (in terms of the total teaching load.) Although Faculty could see the need for change in tuition, their concerns also included adequate levels of cost sharing, recruitment of students, transition to a new plan, competitiveness with funding agencies, and issues related to degree completion. (A longer version of the minutes for this meeting is attached as an appendix - requires authentication.)

A motion was made to accept the minutes of the December 5, 2001 Faculty Senate meeting. The minutes were approved. There were no reports from the standing committees.

The Honor's Awards Committee was next discussed. Consensus emerged whereby there should be clarification of the committee's charge and the terms of it's members. Provost Peterson offered that he would be willing to work with the existing Honors and Awards Committee to draft a structure for this committee for consideration by the Faculty Senate.

Finally, the need for a Faculty Compensation Committee was discussed. It was concluded that assessing a need for such a committee would be postponed until Curtis Powell, Vice President of Human Resources, makes his presentation at the next Faculty Senate meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 4PM.

July 29, 2004