Faculty Senate Meeting

9/28/2005

 

Present: Achille Messac, Bruce Nauman, Jim Napolitano, Christoph Steinbruchel, Mike Fortun, Debbie Kaminski, Edward Woodhouse, Satish Nambisan, Jeanne Keefe, Roger Grice, Paul Hohenberg, Bob Degeneff, William Randolph Franklin, Keith Nelson, Peter Persans, Patricia Search, Sandy Sternstein, Larry Kagan, Dan Berg, Amir Hirsa

 

Absent: Ning Xiang, Chjan Lim, Lou Gingerella

 

Guests: Prabhat Hajela, Bill St. John

 

Agenda

Attendance: Administrative and Non-Administrative Faculty, and other parties

Faculty Senate Student Advising Initiative

 

Attendance: Non-Administrative Voting Faculty

Where do we go from here?

 

Faculty Senate Student Advising Initiative –

Debbie Kaminski, Secretary of the Faculty

Debbie Kaminski, Secretary of the Faculty, has been in contact with GM Max Yates and Jeannie Steigler from the Advising and Learning Assistance Center (ALAC).  They hope to build on the work done by the task force that had reviewed advising.  The new charge will be to review the results from the task force as well as other sources such as surveys.  Debbie Kaminski said that the main goal will be to determine what can reasonably be implemented.  She welcomed input on what would be advantageous in improving the advising system to represent faculty and student interests.  Prabhat Hajela, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education is on the committee.  It was suggested that the registrar participate as well.

 

The mechanical advising can be done by someone other than faculty.  A faculty person can help suggest what electives might be best for their career goals, but a staff member can provide the options for electives.  The registrar could help the efficiency of the process.

 

Sandy Sternstein, Senator-at-Large, feels that requirements should be computerized and sent as a notification to students.  That should be an embellishment of talking to a faculty member.   The faculty member should be involved when choices have to be made.  These will differ depending on the student’s career path and whether they are going on to graduate school.  He feels that the committee should focus on the things that faculty should be involved in.

 

Jim Napolitano, Faculty Senate Vice President, thinks that technology can be used for a lot of things but it is important to keep the human connection with students.  He thinks the quantity and quality of students advising needs to be improved.  Bob Degeneff, Senator-at-Large agrees that human contact is important.

 

Debbie Kaminski feels that staff support for advising may be helpful.  She asked for comments on a faculty reward system for advising.  It was suggested that if it were added to the task list of the deans and chairs, a type of incentive could be determined.  Also suggested was a poll in which students rated their advisor and the “best” and “worst” advisor would be published.

 

Larry Kagan, Chair of the Promotion and Tenure Committee, feels there is a shift from advising to mentoring.  He feels that students and faculty can interact in an undergraduate research program, especially since there would be similar interests.  Chair Bruce Nauman suggested that the Princeton model be reviewed where all students submit a thesis.  He feels that encouraging senior projects is worthwhile and he urged the advising committee to discuss it.  Prabhat Hajela said that undergraduate research experience will broaden the research experience and that it links to advising.

 

Peter Persans, Senator-at-Large, is concerned with first-year students who need a great deal of career advising.  He advises students not to do research in their first year in an effort to adjust to the campus and college life.  He suggested including a freshmen mentoring program.

 

Satish Nambisan, Management Senator, said that in the Lally School, the advising is done by the Assistant Dean.  The curriculum mechanics and requirements are difficult for the faculty to advise on.  Prabhat Hajela said that the system has worked well.  He said that each student will be different depending on their year in school and career goal.  There are some students who really want to get to know the faculty.  Because of this, the environment needs to be created in order for them to do so.

 

William Randolph Franklin, Senator-at-Large, said there had been a system in his department where retired faculty helped with student advising.  The retired faculty were not concerned with promotion and there was a genuine interest in wanting to help the students.  He added that at some point, the administration decided to no longer allow retired faculty to participate in advising.  Prabhat Hajela said that perhaps retired faculty advisors could be considered again.

 

Bill St. John, clinical faculty member, asked the Faculty Senate to consider again the amendment to the Constitution allowing clinical faculty voting privileges.  Ned Woodhouse suggested that the outgoing President prepare a report for the incoming President on matters that are pending. 

 

Non-Administrative Voting Faculty Session

 

Where do we go from Here? – Achille Messac, Faculty Senate President

President Messac asked the Faculty Senate for their perspective as to the best way forward. Members of the Senate were asked for their suggestions regarding specific steps forward that are likely to yield results in the near term. He indicated that his overtures to the administration had thus far not been fruitful.  He also suggested that the senate work on increasing its own credibility. 

 

Sandy Sternstein, Senator-at-Large thinks that the Senate effectiveness has been challenged.  The wishes of the faculty need to be determined.  He wonders whether the general faculty really cares about what the Senate is doing.  He suggested a questionnaire in which the faculty is asked what the Senate’s position and function ought to be.  He also believes that many faculty would be appalled if they knew about some of the issues going on. 

 

It was suggested that discussing the governance issue with the Middle States Accreditation visiting team is still an option.  Another suggestion was to have a letter sent from the NAE and NAS to the Poly.   The idea that came out of last week’s Faculty Senate meeting was to put articles in the Poly that come from the Faculty Senate. 

President Messac asked what topics would be covered.  It was asked whether the Faculty Senate is fighting for things the Faculty Senate wants or fighting for things the faculty want.  It was also suggested that defining and prioritizing a list would help the faculty be engaged in what the senate is doing.

 

During the discussion on the viable steps forward, the following items were offered:

 

1.) Local service/representation

-          Ombudsman

-          How to increase communication/interaction with faculty

2.) BLOG

3.) New Business

4.) Accreditation

5.) NAE and NAS members open letter to administration

6.) Poly article; pension; inclusion of board members from first rate schools

7.) Widen scope of discussion

8.) Satisfaction Survey- how will it take place in a way that deals with confidentiality

9.) Faculty Senate Resignation

10.) Panel discussion- past, present, future

11.) FS speech at FS Meeting

12.) No confidence in Provost

13.) Reprimand- we sent a letter to Provost – Response unsatisfactory – need to be addressed.

14.) Motion to Provost resolution

15.) Talking points

 

During the discussions of the above items, President Messac emphasized that any action taken by the senate will need to be in line with his constructive approach; and that substantial deviations from that approach would lead to his resignation.

 

President Messac said that the Chair of the Faculty and Faculty Senate President are expected to speak at the General Faculty Meeting.  At that time, issues currently affecting the faculty need to be discussed; as called for by the constitution.     

 

President Messac suggested that the responses received from the Provost thus far were unsatisfactory.

 

Peter Persans, Senator-at-Large, made the following motion: “Move that the senate supports, and agrees with, the opinions and decisions of its President; that the responses from the provost were disappointing and unsatisfactory, and are not conducive to improving faculty/administration relations”.  Seconded by Mike Fortun.

Unanimously passed.

 

President Messac reminded the senate that volunteers are needed for the Institute Retirement Committee. Vice President Napolitano is working on finding candidates.