General Faculty Meeting Minutes
Wednesday April 4, 2007
Present: Achille Messac, Mike Fortun, Henry Scarton, Prabhat Hajela, Robert Palazzo, Wei Zhao, Lester Gerhardt, John Harrington, Irving Stephens, Paul Hohenberg, Jim Napolitano, Larry Kagan, Ken Rose, David Rainey, William Siegmann, Jeanne M. Keefe, Bram Van Heuveln, Roger Grice, Tamar Gordon
Achille Messac, Chair of the Faculty, began the program by stating that according to the Faculty Senate constitution two general faculty meetings are mandated. In the fall the Institute President speaks, and in the spring the Provost makes a presentation.
The FSEC had a meeting last week with the President that was very productive and engaging. The definition of Clinical was a part of the discussions we had. In very specific instances, there are changes that the Board of Trustees has mandated regarding this issue.
The Faculty Senate committees have worked hard this year resolving many issues.
Some of the items that were addressed this past year by the various committees were:
In the past year many items were resolved, through the Faculty Senate, including a resolution regarding defined benefits.
The library budget is one item that created a lot of anxiety at one time. However, the President reallocated funding to increase the library budget, partially alleviating the problems.
Middle States is an item that we have worked on quite a bit over the last couple of years. As a result of that activity there were several recommendations, resulting in the formation of several committees to look at items that need to be addressed.
In terms of the undergraduate
On a more challenging front is
the issue of graduate education. Vice
Provost Gerhardt has worked very hard and has reviewed the practices of other
universities resulting in some solutions for
The issue of diversity is a
challenge here as well as everywhere else. Faculty Chair Achille Messac stated
that he has initiated discussions with the Senate as did Provost Peterson, who
had some success – especially in the area of women at
Overall, the meeting we had with the President was positive — during which we had the opportunity to personally congratulate her on receiving the prestigious Vannevar Award. The Faculty Senate passed the following motion to formally congratulate President Jackson.
The motion reads:
“Resolved that the Rensselaer Faculty Senate, representing the Faculty of the Institute, congratulates our President, Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, on the occasion of her receiving the Vannevar Bush Award from the National Science Board. President Jackson joins a long list of distinguished Bush award recipients, including Linus Pauling, James Van Allen, and David Packard, and brings honor to our University and community in the process.”
the Institute -
Please click on the link for the Provosts State of the Institute Address
How do we involve faculty and students in EMPAC? Acting Provost Palazzo responded that there has been discussion about expansions of faculty recruitments in alignment with EMPAC progress. For example, H&SS is seeking to align recruitments with EMPAC. John Harrington said that the program planning didn’t evolve exactly as planned it will catch up by reaching out to the faculty.
Bram Van Heuveln referred to
the slides showing that
Acting Provost Palazzo
responded that the key to high quality education is high quality faculty and in
a science and technology institution the best scholars are typically involved
in research activity. As we continue to
recruit a number of new faculty, the vibrancy and opportunities for the
undergraduates should increase. Certainly
the quality of instruction should improve and emphasis needs to be maintained in
the evaluation process on teaching quality.
Prabhat Hajela commented that we need to continue to innovate on the undergraduate level in order to maintain and improve the quality of our programs. With new technologies on the horizon in all fields, we need to give students the opportunity to do research. The Acting Provost added that there will be more funding redirected for work-study programs. These funds can be used to support research which would be more aligned with the interest of the students providing them with laboratory opportunities, possibly independent activity which are more aligned with the capstone experience.
Les Gerhardt said that it would
be hard to find another university that has been so much in the forefront of undergraduate
The Acting Provost commented on the view toward international experience, the scale that we are going to do this, will require innovation.
The Acting Provost said that President Jackson visited the labs this year and as a result there will be a significant increase in the budget for laboratory renovation.
Larry Kagan said that the 4x4 has not achieved the kind of goals that we had for it and it might have limited the kind of curriculum innovation we wanted to see. Additionally, it doesn’t push our students to round out their experience as it offers less course opportunities.
Sam Wait said he has sat on the FSCC and in the past year, the 4x4 was taken out of the curriculum with the blessing of the FSCC. However, other departments have not brought forward proposals to eliminate 4x4.
Acting Provost Palazzo said
that in speaking with student representatives he learned that students want to
have more offerings. He continued to say that the migration needs to happen and
he understands that this is a departmental challenge. He said now is the time to make these changes
as we get faculty numbers up to where it needs to be to do what we need to do. He
promised Larry Kagan as incoming FS President, that he will commit the Provosts
office to assist FS to advocate for the changes and get the migration off the
4x4. Prabhat Hajela said that some
departments never went to the 4x4, such as engineering which stayed with 3
course distribution. Les Gerhardt said
that Larry raised a good point and that
Need candidates for VP of Faculty Senate.
Any suggestions on how to resolve the Clinical issue are welcomed.
Meeting adjourned at