Included in Palazzo’s responsibilities is the realignment of faculty governance to reflect Rensselaer’s transformation over the past eight years and its long-term goals. It has been at least a decade since faculty governance has been examined, and the structure that was in place is inconsistent with the Institute’s increased emphasis on the role of tenured and tenure-track faculty.
“Tenured and tenure-track faculty have a career-long commitment to them by the Institute,” Palazzo explains. “This affords them a special role as stewards of the Institute’s core mission of teaching, research, and service. With this privilege comes important responsibility, including that of advising, in a constructive manner, the senior administration on academic matters.”
At Palazzo’s recommendation, the Institute is now in the midst of a faculty governance review which will be guided, in part, by faculty governance principles at leading, selective private research universities, and by the research and analysis of national higher education associations, including the Association of Governing Boards, the American Association of University Professors, and the Association of American Universities. The process will involve all faculty, with special responsibility given to the tenured and tenure-track faculty.
“I am confident that we will emerge from the review process with an effective faculty governance system and enhanced unity, in pursuit of our shared vision for an ever-stronger Rensselaer,” Palazzo says.
Before his appointment as provost, Palazzo served as acting provost, director of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, and professor and chair of biology. Previously, he was a visiting professor at Harvard University Medical School and spent 10 years in a variety of roles at the University of Kansas. Palazzo holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and a doctorate in biological sciences from Wayne State University. He studied as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia.