3/17 General Faculty Meeting
The Minutes from 3/3 were approved: 8 in favor, 0 opposed, 0 abstentions. The Minutes from 3/17 were approved with minor changes: 9 in favor, 0 opposed, 0 abstentions.
President Geisler announced that the first annual combined
Faculty/Staff Memorial will be held on April 7 from to
in the Chapel and
President Geisler welcomed Art Sanderson from the Office of Research Faculty Support Services. Art Sanderson, V.P. for Research, said his presentation would focus on the supporting infrastructure and procedures within the office, as outlined in the Office of Research Performance Plan.
The main goal of the Office of Research is to support faculty in developing research proposals. Currently, there are three professional level people and 3 staff members who comprise the office. It is a small group that works closely with 400 faculty members in research activities and brings in $75 million in awards. The activities include: research management and strategy, research development and research outreach and marketing.
The Office of Research works with each school to review and refine strategic plans. This includes working with the faculty and schools on various types of federal and state research initiatives. Some proposals will earmark agencies such as Homeland Security and Defense Systems.
Partnerships have been an important component of research development
Space planning is currently an important issue. Even after the occupancy of the
The Office of Research has a liaison function. The administrative side, Contracts and Grants reports to the Office of Finance. The Office of Research tries to stay involved primarily to help address faculty access and to insure cooperation between offices in developing proposals.
Much of what the Research office is doing in research development is providing services to the faculty, including resources, mentoring and colloquia. The mentorship of faculty is critical. The Office tries to provide a link between faculty and state agencies to inform faculty about opportunities and it also works with faculty to acquire the skills needed to write more competitive proposals.
Members of the Office of Research have traveled to
Some specific examples of support areas include cost sharing on proposals. Over the last four years there is no proposal where cost sharing has been a requirement of the sponsoring agency that has not been able to be provided. Individual schools are asked to contribute to the cost sharing. The basic mechanism is that when a proposal is being written that has a requirement of cost sharing, the faculty member should contact the Office of Research first to allow them to review it along with the budget. The Office of Research will organize support in such a way as to provide a commitment of cost sharing. This is necessary to ensure the Schools are involved in the research.
Each fall, the Office of Research provides a workshop for
all new faculty at
The tuition cost share program is a uniform 35% cost share on all graduate tuition on fully overheaded contracts. This is a cost share or waiver of tuition. If the grant is not fully overheaded tuition support is prorated according to overhead. This policy tries to keep tuition levels competitive with other universities.
This is a program
The Research Development Coordination Committee works with the Office of Development, Media and Government Relations to ensure we know what is happening in research. The Office of Research meets with this group monthly and discusses new awards, activities and research and new opportunities. One of the outcomes of this is that on the website, there will be announcements of achievements in the research arena. This is also an important source of visibility for the schools, potential students, and colleagues.
The support of proposal preparation includes writing,
graphics and agency review. Other
support features are an agency liaison, weekly bulletin and updates on research
opportunities. The weekly bulletin of research opportunities
has been extended to H&SS and an edition for the
A coherent and effective web presence is critical because
all students and faculty candidates view
There are a number of cross-cutting themes in policy and impact,
such as linking agencies with
During the 2003 calendar year, $75 million was brought in. The growth over the last five years has been a significant achievement and was what the Office of Research intended to do. President Jackson and the Board look at indirect cost revenue which is the money that is expendable by the Institute to support research infrastructure, and it also continues to rise. The perspective in terms of agencies is that NSF continues to be the largest source of funding. The number of NIH grants is 10 times what it was 4 years ago. This is a significant step in the credibility of Biotech and Science.
Engineering and Science have the largest fraction of
externally funded research. There are
also contributions from Architecture (including the
If you look at seed funding by school, Engineering and
Science have a larger share, but there is significant support in H&SS and
Approximately 50% of federal research awards at Rensselaer are from NSF, but the NSF budget is only about 3% of research funds available nationally. If only basic research is considered, the NSF budget is about 12%. NIH is by far the fastest growing segment of federal research growth. If federal research by discipline is reviewed, the Life Sciences have outpaced all the other areas, even Engineering, which has been constant over the last several years.
One area of security research is decision technology and risk analysis, which are related activities. A second area involves sensors and detection. The Office of Research is working with groups of faculty in both of these areas.
A third area is Environmental Research, and the ability to
monitor and observe major environmental projects. The Office of Research is involved in a number
of discussions and they are looking at Science and Technology and the Interdisciplinary
Sciences as well as education and outreach.
Art Sanderson's entire presentation is available here:
Jim Stodder, Hartford Senator, stated that about 10% of
research dollars are from the State but that he has never heard about money
that is available. He questioned whether
there is or could be a liaison between the
Cheryl also asked whether Art was aware that there are some people who do not develop programs because they do not think they will be competitive. Art stated that he would be happy to speak to any faculty when they have an idea and are not sure where to take it. They may not always be able to solve the problem, but they can provide guidance or a different perspective.
Cheryl asked additionally whether Art thought it was an issue of lack of competitiveness so the faculty member may not even try. Art stated that he is aware that there are competitive programs and that sometimes they take several tries to be successful. When he meets with faculty who are concerned about that, they discuss strategy rather than just the idea. It is important to strategize in order to make an idea fit or partner with someone else in which there may be an opportunity. Ideally, if one were to look more broadly at what is needed, it would be infrastructure from departments and schools. If a faculty member is feeling lost in a department, they may be reluctant to come to the Office of Research, but there should be someone within their school who has experience with the process and can provide local support.
Jun asked if Art could approximate how seed funding has been allocated in the last 3 years. Art replied that 20% has been allocated outside of the science-related fields. Provost Peterson stated that the research and seed funding is to leverage funds where research growth has been. When you leverage funds, a large portion goes to specific areas, but if the three-year seed money is summarized, it covers broad disciplinary areas
Art Sanderson added that seed grants are all published in the
newsletter and that he would enjoy seeing requests for funding from a wider
audience. He stated that they have
never funded a grant in the
Debbie Kaminski made a presentation from the working group on Quality of Life issues. This group was initially formed during the fall retreat to identify issues of interest to the faculty on quality of life on campus. One of the issues identified is the faculty/staff dining room. Her working group developed a survey pertaining to the faculty/staff dining room and the possibility of a new Faculty Club.
She went through the proposed survey which had various possibilities for a Faculty Club including ideas on the menu type, location, cost, and amenities including meeting rooms and overnight accommodations. Another question on the survey pertained to where this club would be located. The survey asks faculty where they eat on campus to try to determine who the competition is of the faculty/staff dining room. If off-campus, how far would faculty be willing to drive to go out to lunch and would there be a need to serve dinner or have it be an evening café. She asked the faculty to consider what type of atmosphere the club would have and would it be feasible to entertain visitors, colleagues and students.
The issue of cost is part of the proposed survey in order determine interest in the club. It also asks how often a faculty member thinks they would dine at a faculty club. The last area of the survey is for comments. She explained that the survey is in draft form and is asking for input.
Debbie Kaminski responded that President Jackson asked the Quality of Life Working Group to “think outside the box.” She stated that the administration had asked for feedback, but there was no commitment made by the President.
Provost Peterson stated that he believes the issue is trying to determine what it is that the faculty actually wants. He added that significant resources have been put into the faculty/staff dining room and a lot of space has been given to it, but it is not being well utilized. He stated that many universities have these clubs with annual membership fees and he asked the faculty to consider whether they would be willing to give an annual membership fee for the club.
Provost Peterson cautioned that if considering something
Joel Plawsky stated that he believes some of the underutilization is due to class scheduling. Since so many classes are in the 12-2 time slot, it does not give faculty the opportunity to visit the Faculty/Staff dining hall. Pat Search added that there are many concession stands where faculty can get food to go.
At meeting adjourned to working groups.
Note: The recording device malfunctioned therefore there is no audio tape of this meeting.