Faculty Senate Meeting

November 4, 1997


Present: M. Abbot, C. Canier, S. Cozzens, J. Durgee, D. Ellison, J. Flaherty, K. Laughlin-Fortun, G. Handelman, R. Leifer, G. Nagy, R. Norsworthy, C. Pfau, S. Salon, A. Wallace, T. Willemain, J. Wilson


Guests: R. Conway, L. Ebert, A. Basile




New Business

Discussion of Electronic Journals – Loretta Ebert, Director of Libraries and Information Svcs.

Graduate School Advisory Committee – Professor Joseph Flaherty

Discussion of Academic Probation – Robert Conway, Director, Advising & Learning    Assistance Center



The next meeting there will be presentations by J. Buttridge, Director, Risk Management and Loss Prevention and from Glenn Brown or Doug Hasbrouck from the Alumni Association.


New Business

There was a motion to appoint J. Newell to replace A. Desrochers for the spring term.  A. Desrochers will be on sabbatical.  The motion was carried unanimously.


Discussion of Electronic Journals –

Loretta Ebert, Director of Libraries and Information Svcs.

Academic institutions are facing a crisis in the prices of scholarly journals.  This crisis threatens the availability of information for study and research.  Recently, university library budgets have not increased and in many cases have decreased.  There has been a proliferation of journals.  If present trends continue to the year 2010, libraries would be able to afford only 1% of the relevant research material.  At RPI from 1991-1997, our purchases declined from 3600 to 2200 journal titles.  The publishers get the information for their journals free and then sell it back to the universities.  Publication in these journals is linked to academic progress in promotion and tenure.  RPI proposes to look at alternative systems of obtaining publications.  One of these is to acquire publications electronically.  The model for this procedure can be called acquiring the journals “just in time” instead of “just in case”.  The idea is to use half of the Library’s materials budget for access to information and the other half for acquiring print titles or full text electronic journals.



T. Willemain: Are undergraduates using these services?

L. Ebert: Yes, they are based on our monitoring.


A. Wallace: Can you give examples?

L. Ebert: Undergraduate science and social science students are using the services.  The available packages generally combine less technical journals.  In New York we have built a consortium of private colleges to subscribe to these journals collectively.  We were then approached by Columbia, Cornell and Syracuse who joined the consortium.  There are now 30 institutions that buy the journals or access to the journals in this consortium.  Another alternative is document delivery services such as CARL.  In this procedure, we order articles to be delivered by fax or directly to the library in hard copy.  Access to the CARL system will be on line.  The Library will pay $35 for each use.  Based on our survey of usage for many of the journals at RPI, we expect this procedure to save money.  A major concern in this effort to adapt to new journal acquisition policies has to do with identifying the high use journals.  These we plan to continue as print subscriptions or to get the full text of these journals electronically.  Our procedures have been endorsed by the deans and by the faculty library representatives.


Nagy:   How do the charges for journals compare as between the professional societies and the profit making publishers?


J. Wilson: There is a big difference.  We have looked at journals published by the American Chemical Society and the American Institute of Physics and reached this conclusion.


T. Willemain: I am concerned about the interpretation of the data in the study of RPI usage and citation.


L. Ebert: Concerning the journals that we are presently considering to cancel in print form or to keep, if you need these journals in print form, let us know.


G. Handelman:Faculty salaries have gone up 22 times since 1943.  Journal prices have gone up 15 times.  Has the Library budget increased like tuition has?


L. Ebert:  Annual increases to the materials budget have recently been less than tuition increases.


J. Flaherty: How can we browse current periodicals on line?


L. Ebert: We subscribe to Current Contents databases.  We’re trying to get the producers of journals to respond.


J. Flaherty: An important issue to address in self-publications is that there is no reviewer.


J. Wilson: European professors are told which journals to publish their research in.


R. Leifer: The role of the Library is changing.  Has the Library staff thought ahead?


L. Ebert: Yes, we have.  The Library is not longer viewed as a repository.  We view ourselves as providing access services to information.


R. Leifer: Otherwise, the Library could become irrelevant.


L. Ebert: The Library sees itself as an access provider.


Graduate School Advisory Committee – Professor Joseph Flaherty

The committee was instituted in September of 1996 and met through last year.  The committee has not met since May.  The committee divided itself into two working sub-committees.


First, Subcommittee on Teaching Assistants and adaptation to the 4x4 system.  Sharon Anderson-Gold chaired this subcommittee.  Second subcommittee was on the cost of graduate education chaired by Joe Flaherty.  The Committee made recommendations and some of these were enacted.  One problem in adapting to the 4x4 format is to fit 4-hour courses into the 30 credit our master of science.  One option is to adjust the number of thesis credits in the MS.  Second issue is stipends for teaching assistants.  It is understood that the workload of the TAs should not increase under the 4x4 system.  They should be required to work only 20 hours per week.  However, splitting some TAs across courses, etc. can accommodate this constraint.  Both of these recommendations were adopted and approved and are not part of the practice at RPI.


Second subcommittee on the cost of graduate education: 1) it is proposed to reduce minimum credit hours for the PhD from 90 to 72; 2) it is proposed to use tuition cost sharing on contracts and grants.  Under this approach 1/6 of tuition plus stipend that is paid for by contracts or grants would be matched by RPI as cost sharing.  The objective of this tuition cost sharing is: 1) to underscore RPI’s dedication to research; 2) to improve the quality of graduate students by offering higher stipends; 3) there would be the incentive for the faculty to make more contract and grant proposals and thus bring in more money; 4) this would increase the revenue for research.  The Trustees panel chaired by Mary Good recommended the increase in graduate student stipends.  The proposal was put forward from Dean of the Faculty Judd to department chairs.  Any further results are not known at this time.



A Senate member asked:  Is the committee still in existence?


J. Wilson: Yes.  The recommendations of the committee were challenging.  The departments may not agree with the new structure.


A. Wallace: Is this a standing committee?  Do we need to appoint anyone else to serve on the committee?


J. Flaherty: No.


Canier: Architecture is not represented on the committee.


Discussion of Academic Probation –

Robert Conway, Director, Advising & Learning     Assistance Center

Objectives of intervention when students get in trouble: (a) reduce attrition; (b) improve quality of student experience at RPI.


Faculty intervention program is 10 years old.  A student in the program must meet weekly with faculty mentor, must work with learning assistance center weekly.  During this 10 year period, the faculty have taken active interest, academic dismissals are down, and attrition is down.  Clue to the students’ problems:  athletes do better when they are playing ball.  From this, we conclude it is not appropriate to restrict other extra-curricular activities of students on probation, such as fraternity activities.


Respectfully submitted:  R. Norsworthy