General Faculty Meeting

April 10, 2002

Original Minutes from 4/10/2002


4-10-2002 Agenda


Nominations for Faculty Senate Elections - Peter Persans

Report from Faculty Senate President Linnda Caporael

Report from Provost Bud Peterson

New Business

Report from the Committee of Senior Women Faculty on the Promotion of Women at Rensselaer Cheryl Geisler



Chair of the Faculty Senate, Prabhat Hajela, called the meeting to order at 2pm and welcomed everyone including the Hartford Faculty (via video-conferencing) to the General Faculty Meeting.


Nominations for Faculty Senate Elections Peter Persans

Peter Persans, Vice President of the Faculty Senate, presented the slate of nominees for Faculty Senate positions for the coming year and reviewed the Proposed Amendments to the Constitution of the Faculty Senate. Persans made a call for nominations from the floor. Sharon Anderson-Gold nominated Don Vitaliano from Economics for an at-large position.


Report from Faculty Senate President Linnda Caporael

Linnda Caporael, President of the Faculty Senate, made a brief presentation on the topics discussed during the Faculty Senate's meetings for the 2001/2002 year. Some issues that will come up next year include the Sexual Harassment Policy, updates on the Constellation searches and Graduate Tuition Policy, and new compensation strategies.


Linnda then defined dual track compensation. Dual track compensation is where world-class talent is identified and is paid more than the regular contributors in the organization. This is currently carried out informally here and at other institutions.


Linnda stated that the Faculty Senate's concerns relating to the graduate tuition policy were not used in a meaningful way. Does this mean that when the faculty or the Faculty Senate makes suggestions they are ignored? President Caporael stated that the problem was in the speed with which decisions were made and the fact that the transition plan was hasty. If faculty had had the opportunity in the earlier stages, they could have had tremendous input on making the transition easier.


Regarding whether the Faculty Senate was aware that this process was under consideration, regarding graduate tuition policy, while it was being formulated, President Caporael stated that the Senate was aware that there was going to be a change, but not of the impact or how it unfolded.


What means do the Faculty Senate have and what message is being sent to the President concerning the extent of the faculty concerns about the deeply flawed process as you described it, concerning the process for graduate tuition? President Caporael explained that the Senate is putting together a white paper on the process of graduate tuition. She added that she believes this process can be changed, which will take developing a mutual trust between the faculty and the president, which has been corroding over time on both sides.


Report from Provost Bud Peterson

Prabhat Hajela introduced Provost Bud Peterson who made a presentation focusing on the Constellation Searches, First-Year Highest Priority Initiatives, Leadership Searches, Academic Portfolios, the Graduate and Undergraduate Programs, Research Enterprises & Initiatives, Faculty Compensation, and the Performance Planning Highlights and Timelines.


Provost Peterson updated the status of the Constellation searches, progress on the parking structure and timetable for the Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies building. Reviewed the graduate tuition program, initiatives for EWP, and explained the faculty compensation system which is currently being developed.


Hartford asked whether there are there plans to have the consultants come to Hartford?

Provost Peterson stated that he would check with Curtis Powell about having the consultants visit the Hartford campus.


The Provost was asked if there is there any measure in place, which would assist the faculty in making their jobs more productive and could the Provost's office take a more assertive look at how they might interact with the faculty to find out what their needs are and how to help them become more productive. Provost Peterson stated that the new facilities, enhancing existing facilities, growing of the faculty, increasing the number of graduate students, increasing the quality of the undergraduate volume, focus on the infrastructure, development of the initiatives within the research area, all will help the faculty as a whole improve what they are doing. Provost Peterson added that his office would incorporate a more assertive effort to determine what it is that the faculty needs to be more productive.


The Provost was asked what the salary increase for this year was. Provost Peterson stated the percent increase across the institute was 3.5% for faculty and staff; it was handled in different ways by a number of schools. Some schools allocated a portion of that to the department chairs, some held at dean level.


The final question for the Provost was what the definition of an EWP is. The existing policy for graduate students listed on the web states that this campus is full time students and Hartford is Hartford. Many part time students are concerned that they are not going to be able to attend RPI. Provost Peterson stated that the Troy campus would have part time students. The focus of the campus here in Troy is on full time resident students as outlined in the Rensselaer Plan and the focus at Hartford is on the EWP.


New Business

Report from the Committee of Senior Women Faculty on the Promotion of Women at Rensselaer Cheryl Geisler

Prabhat Hajela asked for new business from the floor. Cheryl Geisler, Professor, LL&C, reported from the Committee of Senior Women Faculty on the Promotion of Women at Rensselaer. Professor Geisler outlined the background and patterns of women being promoted, upon analysis of the data retrieved, recommendations were given to improve the promotion patterns for women at Rensselaer. (Presentation attached)


Cheryl Geisler was asked whether she could determine to what extent the 13 plus club consist of people whom were never put up for promotion compared to people who, were put up for promotion but denied. Prof. Geisler stated they have no such data, in fact the data shown here today shows the current status of the faculty.


A Senate member asked whether it would be a feasible recommendation to encourage the institute to hire more women. One of the problems is the number of women hired. The culture may change if there were three times the women being presented for promotion.

Prof. Geisler stated that right now there are 21 women in the 13 plus club, 11 of them full professors. In terms of encouraging diversity it is definitely worth looking into hiring more women.


Since post-docs are becoming more necessary for faculty members which typically takes two years, could a 15 plus instead of 13 plus years system be better. In their opinion this would provide a better comparison. Have you taken any data like that already? Prof. Geisler explained the data would not change if we use 13 or 15 years. It still would show the trend is that men are generally promoted sooner and more than women.


The 13 plus seems to be somewhat restricted. In most cases to be promoted you must finish a few PhD students, which takes 5 to 6 years, then if they pursue a post-doc, you may not start the promotion process for 10-12 years. So the number 13 seems somewhat restricted. Maybe you should put in some sort of number system? Prof. Geisler explained that the P & T Handbook does not state how many years you have to be in rank as associate professor before you should come up for promotion to full. Informally, there has been discussion that you should not come up before 6 years, sometimes 5 years. 12 years seems to be the minimum number of years in rank of associate before coming up for promotion to full.


How do we compare with tenure faculty? Prof. Geisler stated that they do not have that data, but it would be worth looking into.


All your recommendations are quite gender neutral. Do you concur that it's a good idea across the board? Prof. Geisler said that when she first started this report she did not believe there was going to be a gender difference. The literature suggests that when you have a more open policy, diversity benefits. People whom come to an organization with less of "culture capital" (the insider knowledge) on how to get ahead, do need a policy to get ahead. Any representative from an ethnic minor or gender minority will not have much access to the information. The same policies will have differential effects. Yes, I think they will affect men, and be beneficial to men.



Meeting adjourned at 4pm.