Original Minutes from General Faculty Meeting - November 28, 2001

Return to revised Minutes of 11-28-2001

Meeting called to order at 2pm by Prabhat Hajela, Chair of the Faculty Senate

Prabhat Hajela, Chair of the Faculty Senate welcomed everyone to the General Faculty Meeting, including the Hartford faculty via video-conferencing.

Linnda Caporael, President of the Faculty Senate, made a brief presentation on the topics discussed during the fall semester of the Faculty Senate.

Fall

§ Website & Faculty Listserve
§ Hartford
§ Clinical Faculty, Troy (amendment)
§ Performance Planning
§ Graduate Dean's Office
§ Parking
§ Compensation Initiative Update
§ Standing Committees

Linnda Caporael outlined the issues that the senate would be discussing for the spring semester.

Spring

§ Faculty Handbook
§ Updates - parking, compensation
§ Initiatives to enhance faculty climate and culture

Prabhat Hajela introduced President Shirley Ann Jackson. President Jackson formally presented the status of the Performance Plan and focused on Institute-wide goals, the first-year highest priority initiatives, Institute portfolios, the Performance Planning Guidelines, and timelines.

President Jackson commended the faculty, individually and collectively, for all they have done to help our students and everyone get through a very difficulty fall semester in light of what has happened to our country. The events of September and beyond show us with great clarity that the lives and the work of everyone here do matter a great deal and that the mission of Rensselaer has never been more important or relevant than it is today.

President Jackson affirmed that we are well into the implementation, on course, and making significant progress on the Rensselaer Plans, as funding for the school and divisions' performance plans is giving life and substance to our vision.

(President Jackson's PowerPoint presentation)


Questions and answers period:

Christopher Bystroff, Biology, Troy. Question: Concerning the fact that other schools offer higher graduate student stipends than Rensselaer. He wondered if this has been looked into, or if it is part of the Performance Plan.

President Jackson stated she was in the process of forming a task force to look into the issue of graduate student financing. A study was conducted of six or seven institutions that are research intensive, and Rensselaer was found to be the only institution that charges per credit hour for "full-time" graduate students. Secondly, we are also the only institution that does not have a clear definition of what it means to be a "full-time, matriculated student." President Jackson stated a full-time enrollment/tuition position, as well as a taskforce will be established (the Provost has given her a suggested list of names) to review the overall issue.

Charles Malmborg, Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems, Troy. Question: Could you tell us in general terms where the revenue stream will come from to support the augmentation of the faculty in the long-run?

President Jackson stated we would have a major capital campaign, with the kickoff point being determined in consultation with the Board of Trustees. The campaign's priorities will be determined by the Performance Plan, which they are driven from.

The institution's first intent is to raise specific funds that will support faculty chairs as well as overall operations, and that will strengthen endowment.

Secondly, tuition, particularly with respect to the graduate program, we need to get on a consistent plane as to what tuition we charge. We cannot have a graduate program essentially supported by other folk's tuition.

Third, we have to have a lot more of our faculty doing funded research. If we build a Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies building, this potentially allows us to up our overhead rate where we can recover a larger percentage in terms of indirect cost recovery. We are making a major set of investments, both in the building of the new facilities, as well as systematic renovation, repairs or reconstruction of existing facilities. The revenue stream in the end will come from endowment income, tuition from all sectors that attend Rensselaer, and research funds. We are not a State institution, we don't receive a core budget, nor do we get a capital budget from the state. So all new hires, including faculty, students we support, facilities we build, including the cost of operations, must be supported from the capital campaign income. So the intuition's intent is to enhance them all.

Jim McKim, Dept. of Engineering & Sciences, Hartford. Question: What are the possibilities of improvement of facilities at the Hartford campus?

Rensselaer Hartford last year awarded about 550 Masters Degrees, most of them MBA's or Masters of Science in Management. Some Masters degrees in Engineering and Computer Science were also awarded. The intent is to strengthen and refocus the Management Programs in Hartford to develop high-end signature programs that are aimed at managers, those on the executive track, as well as high-end professionals.

The intent for Hartford is to strengthen what we do in Engineering and Science. To that end, we have started developing a strong partnership with Untied Technologies, with faculty from Troy involved in these research thrusts, which are expected to grow. We also expect to raise the Hartford connection to expand programs in new arenas, such as fuel cells, and biotechnology. Hartford also offers a Bioinformatics Masters program.

As we establish a strong Engineering and Science program at Hartford, we will then expand our facilities accordingly.

Mike Hanna, Biology, Troy. Expressed concern on the revitalization or interdisciplinary research portion of President Jackson's presentation. In particular the number of proposals submitted. Since it is not possible to fund all of them (some probably would have been worthy of funding, if more funding was available) is there a plan to continue either of these two initiatives?

President Jackson confirmed that these initiatives would be on going and are budgeted through the Provost's office and the Vice President of Research.

Kurt Anderson, Mechanical Engineering, Troy, referred to the impressive number of masters students that Hartford carries, and the programs geared toward generating masters students. Will Hartford find themselves at somewhat of a disadvantage, given the emphasis is being placed on research and funded research?

President Jackson explained that Hartford is in a period of transition to a mixture of clinical, tenured and tenure-track faculty. As this moves forward, we will give more emphasis to research. Secondly, they have their own ideas and plans relative to the establishment of one or more Ph.D. programs. As these programs evolve, and the faculty evolves the focus on research will increase. This is not "new" to Hartford; this is what Hartford is telling us, which is part of the Performance Plan.

Henry Scarton, Mechanical Engineering, Troy, voiced his concerns on the need for more space as faculty is hired. He wondered if there are any plans for a new building to be constructed where Academy Hall is located.

President Jackson gave a sense of what the facility needs are at present including:
§ Building new or renovating some academic/research buildings.
§ Improving the residence life system.
§ Need for athletic facilities to accommodate the surge of interest in all sports & fitness activity.

The institute does not have enough space across the board. The President is committed to:
§ Building the new facilities
§ Improving the infrastructure
§ Renovating space for IT initiative
§ Supporting Nanotechnology in light of the major center recently awarded.

As the Performance Plan evolves we will continue to develop. We have no plans at this time to build on the Academy Hall site, but it is a future site, as well as other spaces on campus. (However, before rumors get started, the President made clear that, "on her watch" the 86 field is not one of the spaces considered, and is "off the table!") There is a lot of space on this campus that can be developed and it all depends on the success of the capital campaign.

Kurt Anderson, Mechanical Engineering, Troy. Question: What is the capacity of the new parking garage?

President Jackson stated as we go through the project the expectation is to create additional surface parking possibly add about 100 new spaces, but down the line we may have to face an additional structure for parking. The President said she believes in "truth in advertising" saying she is building what she is able to build today. If the capital campaign is successful, if we get our other revenue streams, (graduate tuition and research awards) on track then we will have more resource capability to do more things.

There are a lot of pent-up needs and all of those needs are not going to be met in the short term. A consistent and coherent approach has been worked out which focuses on research and the arts. The Electronic Media and Performing Arts Center will not only support the Arts, but also visualization studies and simulation, a research platform, as well as creating more life space on the campus.

Susan Smith, Biology, Troy and Dept. of Engineering & Science at Hartford. Question: Hartford suffers a lack of Contract and Grant support and I would like to know if anything is being done to address this issue?

President Jackson stated that there was a workshop recently on the whole grants process and the Hartford faculty was invited. Art Sanderson has also agreed to travel to Hartford and to hold a workshop. Any capabilities we have in those arenas will be extended to Hartford to help our entire faculty. Over the next fiscal year we hope to have a more complete way to do this in place.

The President concluded with the need for more recognition of faculty, to showcase and honor faculty who have achieved great things. That is why part of the capital campaign is geared towards the Chairs, and how to get more recognition on the outside with major professional societies and the national academies.

Meeting adjourned at 3pm.


Respectfully submitted,
Steve Derby, Recording Secretary of the Senate

 
July 8, 2004