02-10-2016 Minutes - Faculty Senate Meeting

    Faculty Senate       

Meeting Minutes

February 10, 2016


Atsushi Akera, Audrey Bennett, Jonas Braasch, Chris Bystroff, Joel Giedt, Provost- Prabhat Hajela, Amir Hirsa, Debbie Kaminski, Dan Lewis, Antoinette Maniatty, Jen Monger, Lois Peters, Alexandra Rempel, Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education- Linda Schadler, Spencer Scott (Graduate Student Council), John Tichy, Frank Wright

Next meeting:

March 9, 2016: 8:15am-9:45am, Library Fischbach Room

The following people were not present but sent their regrets: Diana Borca-Tasciuc, Ernesto Gutierrez-Miravete, Katya Haskins, Murali Chari.

 1) Welcome from the President

·         Meeting opens at 8:22am.


2) Approval of the Minutes

·         December 8, 2015 Senate Minutes: Professor Wright motions to approve, Professor Kaminski seconds. All in favor. So moved.


3) Old Business/Review of Action Items from December Meeting

a)     Summer Arch Update - Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education, Linda Schadler, who is in charge of the Institute Core Curriculum Implementation committee, provided an update: 

·         The Severino center just received a grant. Will support 15 student teams a year who are interested in setting up businesses.

·         Training for the advisors in CCPD has started and additional workshops will be held this spring.

·         A requirement for all students in the class of 2021.  Students will need to declare intent in the fall of their sophomore year.

·         The pilot will take place in the summer of 2017 for the schools of Engineering and Management class of ’19.  A second pilot, for all schools, will take place the summer of 2018 for members of the class of '20.

·         Eligibility is for students have a GPA of at least a 3.0 and have completed 32 credit hours.

·         Those students will take the zero credit courses in the spring to get them set up with the Severino center.

·         In regards to core classes being taught in the summer, it is the responsibility of the Faculty Senate Core Curriculum committee and they will be meeting later today.

·         Both fall and spring semesters will be 14 weeks in length with 12 class weeks in the summer.

·         The faculty to student ratio will not change.

·         Faculty contracts will stay as 9 month contracts and with supplemental pay in the summers.

·         Student life is looking into what activities will be running in the summer months.

·         CCPD is putting together a faculty guide to improve communication and information on how faculty will post jobs they have available and fair practices.

·         Have been speaking with companies on how programs will work/impact and CCPD is providing a survey to the companies they work with.

·         Degree Works: Approved software.  This will replace CAP reports. Will give students flexibility and has different report formatting options.  Next steps – it will need to be integrated with Banner workflow. Timeframe: up and running fall 2017.

·         Current Enrollment for fall 2016- up about 100 students compared to last year.

·         Faculty load will not change. The FS ad-hoc committee is still gathering information. In addition, the FS is conducting an independent assessment plan.

·         From a facilities management side, new chairs, projection systems are being ordered and evaluated to handle the new load.


b)     Update on Institute Core Curriculum Committee -

·         Item will be moved to March agenda because Professor D. Borca-Tasciuc is not present.


c)     Ad Hoc committee to organize a Faculty discussion on Summer Arch - Professor Maniatty spoke:

·         Ad Hoc Committee on reviewing Summer Arch met for 1st time on 2/8/16. 

·         Committee is co-chaired by Professor Bystroff(Science) and Audrey Bennett(HASS).

·         Other members are Lois Peters(Mgt), Ken Connors(Eng), and still seeking a member from Arch.

·         Professor Braasch will be attending a department mtg today and will be asking them for a representative from Architecture to serve on the committee.

·         They have a charge to do the following:

o    Survey the faculty on Summer Arch; Coordinate survey with FSCC, Student Senate, and Summer Arch Task Force.

o    Host an open Faculty Forum, presenting results of survey and holding an open discussion.

o    Develop an assessment plan for Summer Arch, with an assessment plan spanning multiple factors (for example: applicant pool; yield; student preparation; student satisfaction; student outcomes; student placement; graduation rate).

o    Recommend appointment of a committee to oversee the assessment of Summer Arch for five years (or as long as recommended) under the assessment plan.

·         Some ideas raised during discussion:

o    Thinking about creating a questionnaire to get input from faculty.

o    Look at this from the student’s perspective: a value added proposition.

o    Suggested to offer the Student senate an opportunity to join the sub-committee.


d)     Ad Hoc committee for Ombuds Office for Faculty - Professor Maniatty spoke:

·         Professors Braasch, Kaminski and M. Fortun are on the committee.

·         They have a charge to do the following:

o    Examine best practices at our peer institutions.

o    Recommend to the Senate whether such office be established at Rensselaer, what the scope of such an office ought to be (e.g. faculty only; faculty and research staff; faculty & all staff; faculty-staff-students) and if so, what would be the implementation process.

·         Initially the committee will be looking at current faculty needs.


e)     Feedback on Current Practices for Assessing Teaching Effectiveness - Professor Lewis spoke:

·         Professor Maniatty asked all senators to send input to both Professors D. Borca-Tasciuc and Lewis.

1.     ACTION ITEM:  All senators to send input re how teaching effectiveness is assessed in your departments to both Professors D. Borca-Tasciuc and Lewis.

·         Did not get feedback from other schools so instead started looking into his own department as a starting point.

·         Found out that within Materials Science and Engineering the faculty evaluate teaching in the following manner:

o    Major component of evaluation is Digital Measures.

o    Minor components of evaluation include informal formative activities and assessing student engagement using in-class and out-of-class activities.

·         Missing information is peer-to-peer evaluations.

·         It was mentioned that there exists a Teaching and Learning colloquium

·         The school of Management has brown bag lunch sessions where they discuss teaching techniques and philosophies.

·         After feedback has been collected, will report out at the next meeting.


f)      Planning and Resources Committee Update - Professor Maniatty spoke: committee will be meeting soon.


g)     Handbook Update, Stipend, Middle States -  The Provost spoke:

·         Graduate stipend is linked to the March budget process and has been submitted to the Board of Trustees for review. Should know by sometime in mid-March.

·         Handbook changes have been reviewed with HR and approved.  Next steps are to meet with the President and then the Board of Trustees for their approval.

·         Middle States: the Core Committee and Oversight committees will be meeting this week to complete some documents that had some missing data.  Added additional evidence to prove standards are being adhered to and are in the process of creating a roadmap that lists the documents and includes a reference guide. They will be sending this to the President by this weekend for her comments.  They need to have the completed document sent to the Middle States Committee by 3/11/16.  Once approved by the President, it will be published on the Rensselaer website.

·         Sabbaticals: Submitted in the budget still yet to be approved is a semester sabbatical at full pay.


4) New Business

a)     Faculty Senate Representative at Student Senate Meetings – Professor Tichy spoke:

·         Professor Tichy attended February 3rd, 2016.

·         Held 1st Wednesdays of each month at 7pm @Shellnut Gallery, Union.

·         Need volunteer for March 3rd meeting.

·         Academic Integrity was discussed at the last meeting with student concern about fairness during tests. It was brought up that even though prohibited, students had materials out and visible during examinations. There was a comment made that although there are avenues for reporting issues, they are not used very often.

·         It was discussed in this meeting that there is an honor code of conduct and students have signed a letter/contract. 

·         Discussion about having TA training to address handling problems like this. 

·         Was brought up that perhaps the Dean of Students, Mark Smith, could be tapped to discuss.

·         Ask Student senate to provide additional information/feedback on faculty fairness issue.

·         This may be a topic for further study in the future, but the Faculty Senate is not in a position now to take it on.


b)     Memorial Booklet -

·         The new policy on Biographies and Eulogies calls for a memorial booklet of eulogies of faculty that have passed away in the last year (2015) to be published by the FS. Professor Akera and the Assistant Institute Archivist, Jen Monger, are working on preparing the booklet.

·         Jen Monger is reaching out to department heads of the various schools to collect information.

·         Service will be held Wednesday March 30th, 11am-12:30pm @Chapel and Cultural Center.

·         The Pillars of Rensselaer host the Memorial service.

·         Once new booklet is published, will be added to FS website.


2. ACTION ITEM:  Professor Maniatty will forward email regarding Memorial service to Jen Monger and Professor Akera.  Will look into trying to obtain last year’s booklet and pass along as well.


3. ACTION ITEM:  Professor Akera will publish to FS website once booklet has been completed.


c)     Other New Business – none.


5) Action Items Summary

1.     ACTION ITEM:  All senators to send input re how effectiveness is assessed in your departments to both Professors D. Borca-Tasciuc and Lewis.


2.     ACTION ITEM:  Professor Maniatty will forward email regarding Memorial service to Jenn Monger and Professor Akera.  Will look into trying to obtain last year’s booklet and pass along as well.


3.     ACTION ITEM:  Professor Akera will publish Eulogy booklet to FS website once completed.


Professor Wright motions to adjourn. Seconded by Professor Bystroff.  All in favor. So moved.  Adjourned at 10:00am.