Faculty Senate Meeting
Present:† E. J. Woodhouse, Julie Stenken, Jeanne M. Keefe, Ning Xiang, Randolph Franklin, Mike Fortun, Jim Napolitano, Christopher Steinbruchel, Larry Kagan, Satish Nambisan, Roger Grice, Lou Gingerella, Paul Hohenberg, Peter Persans, Patricia Search, Bruce Nauman, J. Keith Nelson
Absent:† Achille Messac, James Adams, Connie Fritz, Linda Schadler, Jacob Fish, Curt Breneman, Steve Breyman, Mike Wozny
Guests:† Acting Provost Bob Palazzo, John E. Kolb, Lester Gerhardt, Bob Mayo, John Harrington, Kathy High, Tamar Gordon
Approval of Minutes from 5/4/2006
Minutes were approved unanimously.
Election Item:† Jeff Durgee, Management Representative on Faculty Senate Election Committee
Larry Kagan moved; Peter Persans seconded; 16 in favor, 0 opposed. Motion passed.
Election Item: Two candidates for Senator at Large.† Vote: Malik Magdon-Ismail elected
Acting Provost Bob Palazzo address to Faculty Senate
Acting Provost Bob Palazzo stated that he will continue with the current direction, and maintain positive momentum while working to remedy any negative aspects of the current circumstances.† Any long-term agendas should start with the new Provost when in position.†
His concerns include:
Scholarship:† Scholarship includes Faculty and students as it is a measure of us both as faculty and collectively as an institution.† The most important part of enabling scholarship is appropriate infrastructure, high quality library, support for students, wise use of sabbatical, communication, interaction, and collaboration.† Scholarship is something administration, faculty and students all need to strive for.
Communication and Transparency:† Acting Provost Palazzo shared his concerns about communication and transparency on all levels. He believes there should be no fear of reprisals for communicating and sharing of ideas regardless of where one stands on an issue.† He wants to do what he can to strengthen the credibility of faculty and administration. Strong alignment between administration and the senate is needed to improve communication and to engage and empower the chairs.† We all need to deal from facts and will focus on getting the facts out to the people who are affected by them.
Recruitment and Recognition:† RPI has experienced considerable and costly recruitment in the last four or five years.† Much of this recruitment has come at the junior levels resulting in some departments becoming overloaded on the junior levels thus raising a concern about mentoring.† Some schools are very polarized; having very junior and very senior faculty but few intermediate-level people.† Associate Professors and junior level professors at schools such as RPI are sought after aggressively for their talent by other institutions.† We need to ensure opportunities for younger professors, who can be coaxed away if they feel they can compete better at another platform.† We need to retain the professors we have, we need appropriate and specialized reward systems with mechanisms for response.
He believes that faculty recognition needs improvement to
acknowledge performance in areas that are in alignment with areas that the institute
values.† Currently we have very few
awards for outstanding scholarship and research, a large number of our faculty could
be recognized in the
He feels that
Competition:† Harsh and competitive climate for NSF and NIH
as proposals have doubled, thus dropping success rates.† The average time to first award is three to
Curriculum: Encourages earliest possible independent Undergraduate Research experience.†
Graduate level: Acting
Provost Palazzo is concerned about ensuring the security of graduate students
and how to provide secure opportunities for students to explore and be creative
while they are at
Indirect cost and indirect
cost return structures and mechanisms:†
Regarding the status of library and electronic journals,
Since history cannot be changed, a new history can begin with
He promised clarity and truthfulness and to work hard to
help build a community of wise and trusted scholars.†
Q & A
Professor Paul Hohenberg: †The Rensselaer Plan is now six years old and it was a five year plan.† Is there any new plan or update on the current plan?
Acting Provost Bob Palazzo:† Many of things within that plan have been achieved and some things may need more emphasis.† We do not expect any major shifts, but we do expect new conversation on what do we need to do to achieve those goals.
Professor Ned Woodhouse: What about pay equity?
Acting Provost Bob Palazzo:† We ran an analysis of peer and aspirant
salary comparison (MIT, Carnegie Mellon, etc.). †Regarding full professors, the
Professor Woodhouse: What about pay disparities between faculty?
Acting Provost Bob Palazzo:† Over the last five years improvements have been made, this problem is recognized by Curtis Powell and Human Resources.
Professor Woodhouse:† Can we get data?
Acting Provost Bob Palazzo:† Yes, letís get the facts and pass them out.
Professor Woodhouse: Is there any mechanism that we could nominate individual colleagues whom we feel are being treated unfairly for special review?
Acting Provost Bob Palazzo:† We could design a confidential mechanism to bring awareness.
Professor Rick Radke:† Said his department has been hit hard in terms of library resources and asked what is being done.
Acting Provost Bob Palazzo:†
John Kolb, Chief Information Officer: †Currently there is no active search because that position is not currently funded. †Bob Mayo is an excellent Acting Director of the Library.
Professor Jim Napolitano:† When he was VP of Faculty Senate Jim met with
Bud, John and Loretta.† John and Bud were
asked by the President to create the Task Force by the end of May 2006.† John and his committee did a great job
looking at the issue and making recommendations, but there has been no update
since. The faculty needs to see that the time they invest on such Task Force
committees is valued in order to become engaged in
Acting Provost Bob Palazzo:† I began in the Provost Office on July 21, 2006.† A report dated May 22, 2006 was submitted to the President.† I have been discussing the library issue with John Kolb and Bob Mayo .† In reality it is a mechanistic problem; therefore, the solution is not obvious.† We are suffering consequences from a serious historic neglect and we need to come up with a short-term solution which includes effort to maintain what we have while we correct long-term problems.
Professor Napolitano:† If this continues, faculty will find another way to find AAA journals.
Acting Provost Bob Palazzo:† Getting the facts is important to all.† He agreed with Professor Napolitano that it is important that facultyís time and effort is valued, if not there is a danger of faculty disengaging.† RPI along with other universities have financial realities and restrictions when making decisions about their libraries.†
Professor Bruce Nauman: †The entire faculty feels reprioritization of dollars for the library is needed and that the administration needs to address this issue.†
Acting Provost Bob Palazzo:
Agreed that a reprioritization of funds may be necessary.
Professor Julie Stenken: What is the library budget this year and what percent has it increased over last year?
Acting Provost Bob Palazzo:† The current total institute budget is $350 million and the current total library budget is $3.6 million overall.
John Kolb, Chief Information Officer:† Last year the library budget was flat.† This year there was a library budget cut along with the rest of the campus.† To keep all journals, the budget would have to increase 20%.
Acting Provost Bob Palazzo:† If we are going to keep scholarship a priority, we need to have access to the minimum scholarly materials needed, while we look for a longer term solution.
John Kolb, Chief Information Officer:† We need the investment of faculty time, (i.e., task force) to review the changing fundamentals of business.† It is very difficult to keep pace with publisherís inflation.†
Professor Lou Gingerella: What is the percentage of library budget versus 5 years ago?
Acting Provost Bob Palazzo:† Building the library into the formula of the overall
performance of the institution is not something that has been done before at
John Kolb, Chief
Professor Linda Schadler: †We need to have journals in many areas, such as medical journals.† There is a consortium at Duke and others, what about RPI?
Acting Provost Bob
Palazzo:† It would be precedent
setting if we can convince
Director, Bob Mayo:† There are about
a dozen schools who agree to share books via a book consortia and that
consortia is now looking at electronic journals which is more complicated.†
Kagan:† Maybe Eliot Spitzer and
Acting Provost Bob Palazzo:† Performance Planning allows for Faculty discussion with Chair, and the Chair with the Deans.† The Deanís portfolios develop as a result of that discussion and that should have a feedback loop.† That is how it is supposed to work.
Professor Linda Schadler:† Is the library in the performance planning loop?
Professor Bruce Nauman: Improving communication skills is an issue that was raised by the students.† Is that something youíll be addressing? †Also, what about the graduate tuition policy?
Acting Provost Bob Palazzo:† He would like to discuss the communication issue with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee so that he is completely apprised of the situation.† Regarding the graduate tuition policy he reported that there has been a minor modification.
Les Gerhardt, Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education, Acting:† He stated that there has been a change in the policy that allows start up RAís (SRAís) to combine with one year TA to follow which gives three-year support rather than two-year support.†
Acting Provost Bob Palazzo:† We need to provide the junior faculty with more flexibility over their start up to cover their personnel.† Continued by saying that not all of our problems will be solved today, but he promised to do his best.
Professor Napolitano:† Thanked Acting Provost Bob Palazzo.†