Original Minutes from Faculty Senate Meeting - September 11, 2002  

2:00pm – Fischbach Room, Folsom Library

Return to revised Minutes of 9/11/2002


Attendees:  Jun Abrajano, Kurt Anderson, Sharon Anderson-Gold, Tom Apple, Bud Baeslack, Terry Blanchet, Linnda Caporael, Cheryl Geisler, Mark Goldberg, Ash Kapila, Achille Messac, Bruce Nauman, Jonathan Newell, Lee Odell, President Peter Persans, Provost Bud Peterson, Susan Sanderson, Don Steiner, Bruce Watson, Roger Wright


President Peter Persans brought the meeting to order, asking for a moment of silence in memoriam for the victims of September 11, 2001.  Persans asked for approval of the minutes of the April 24 and May 1 meetings.


There was concern about the amount of time it took the notes to be released after the last spring meeting.  Possibly in special circumstances, like the very last meeting of the year, or if a quorum is absent, electronic approval may be considered in the future.  The April 24 minutes were approved, and the May 1 minutes were corrected and approved.


President Persans asked for reports from the standing committees.  Most committees had not met as yet. The new members of the Faculty Senate and its committees are listed at http://www.rpi.edu/dept/facsen/documents/NewFacsen/facsen3.htm.


Provost Peterson presented some of the principal issues and initiatives his office will be undertaking for AY 2002-03, which will have direct impact upon the faculty.  (Slide attached)


Peterson elaborated on the third item, the “revision” of the Gifts, Grants and Memberships Policy.  Actually there has not been a policy as such; there is tradition, and a whole cluster of different portions of a policy.  A review will be undertaken on how to make a determination of what is considered a gift or grant and how we handle Center memberships.  The guidelines that have been in use for the last 18 months may be formalized and presented to the Faculty Senate.  The Vice President of Research will have a check-off process, when working with industrial partners, to determine if proposals will be sent to Contracts and Grants, or Institute Advancement.  ABET has recently tightened up their guidelines in terms of what they allow institutions to count as externally funded research and how gifts, gifts in kind, and cost-sharing are counted.


As part of the Middle States, ABET, and the AACSB accreditation processes, we've had discussions, information and pushback about how we measure outcome, the quality of our students, the goals we want to accomplish as an institution, and how we assess those outcomes institute wide.  The Middle States initiative, which has been underway for some time, will probably come to closure sometime during this academic year.

President Persans asked for names of people to serve on a committee to revise the Handbook for Academic Staff.  This will be an extensive undertaking, particularly important with respect to Promotion and Tenure.  The revisions will be prepared and brought forward to the FS for review and approval, hopefully by the end of this academic year.


Tom Apple, Dean of Graduate Education, recently attended the Council of Graduate Schools and brought back some “best practices” and issues important to faculty members. (Presentation attached)


Yearly review of graduate students, particularly regarding expectations for the coming year, staying on track to finish dissertations, long range goals, timely passing of qualifiers and candidacy exams, management skills, teaching skills, and career guidance were discussed.  Across the Institute, we scored of 2.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 in “career guidance” from our survey of May graduates.  Apple asked for feedback from Department Chairs and faculty members as to the viability of having guidelines or rules for the review, possibly in written form.  Comments on how to enforce this review if it should become a “rule” and a number of measures that could possibly be taken were discussed.  As far as career counseling, it was suggested that the university as a whole do workshops and sessions.  The survey will be made available to the Faculty Senate.


Tom Apple and Gary Gabriele will be going on the road in the next couple of months to do focus groups in five or six companies where our students are 0 to 5 years out.  In addition, the NRC rankings are going to require a survey of our graduates who are a couple of years out.  We have been chosen as one of seven schools to have a committee come to study the effect of some of the proposed changes.  It appears the plan is to collect data from the 2003-2004 Academic Year.


President Persans brought the discussion around to the responses received from faculty regarding the Graduate Tuition Policy.  Conversation touched on the loss of top students in Humanities; the impact on ability to recruit by not being able to offer 4 or more years of support; the drop in Masters students in many programs; “sticker shock” on proposals due to the tuition charge; the loss of part time students (i.e., GE and Knolls especially) to Union or remote programs; and across the board, faculty members are hesitant and conservative in making offers without clear funding.


President Persans adjourned the meeting, and due to time constraints would like to resume this discussion at the next meeting.