02-12-2014 Faculty Senate Minutes

Faculty Senate

Meeting Minutes

February 12, 2014



Jose Holguin-Veras, Prabhat Hajela-Provost, Isom Heron, Lois Peters, Pawel Keblinski, Chip Kilduff, David Bell, Vincent Meunier, Frank Wright, Murali Chari, Chang Ryu, Ekaterina Haskins, Antoinette Maniatty, Georges Belfort.

Next meeting:    2/12/14   8:15-9:45am  Library Fishbach Room


1) Welcome by the President – Jose Holguin-Veras

Meeting opens at 8:18am. Jose Holguin Veras welcomes the group.   

2) Approval of the Minutes – December 11, 2013

Professor Belfort motions, Professor Peters seconds. All in favor. So moved.

3) Review Action Items

  1. Professor Peters will send a reminder email to the Provost to submit specific language on Institute Policy to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.
    1. Status: The request is with the General Council.  The Provost will send over as soon as it completed.
  2. Professor Gerhardt will talk to Professor David Duquette about terms of appointments for the Planning and Resources committee.
    1. Status: Professor Gerhardt has spoken with Professor Duquette and that the terms will ensure a portion of the members will stay on to ease the transition with new committee members.
  3. The Executive Council will add an item to their agenda to discuss the Committee on Honors and how to promote faculty for external honors.
    1. Status: It was discussed that faculty should be nominating their colleagues for awards and perhaps each department could have someone to assist in these efforts.  We need to encourage the committee to play a more pro-active role.  Professor Holguin-Veras stated that we need to strive to change the culture and make it our business to promote the successes of our colleagues. Professor Keblinksi added that it would be beneficial to recruit future committee members who have been active in these areas.
      1. Action Item:  Invite Joyce McLoughlin – committee chair- to the next Executive Faculty Senate meeting.
  4. Professor Holguin-Veras and Professor Gerhardt will meet with Stan Dunn and discuss implementing action items from Graduate Review Committee report.
    1. Status: Still pending, have not had available time to meet.  Professor Holguin-Veras will schedule a meeting.
      1. Action Item:  Professor Holguin-Veras contact Stan Dunn to set up a meeting.
  5. The Executive Committee will ask the School’s to be invited to departmental or School-level meetings to provide a report on Senate activities.
    1. Status:  Still pending.
      1. Action Item:  Professor Peters will communicate with the schools.
  6. The Executive Committee will meet with the Provost on the Faculty Handbook.
    1. Status:  Still pending.  Need to find a time to meet.
      1. Action Item:  FS Executive Committee will send availability of timeslots to Provost and see if any of those work so a meeting can be scheduled

4) Faculty Development and Retention

  1. Provost-Faculty Senate Faculty Development Initiative- Professor Peters spoke and asked for suggestions on what topics should be presented in the spring.  Professor Belfort offered his assistance to Professor Peters on this initiative.  After some discussion, it was suggested that a note be sent to faculty asking for them to vote. Professor Peters will compile a master list to be submitted to the faculty for their vote for topics for the spring semester. Some topics to be listed are:
    1. Blended learning
    2. Writing –Journal Articles
    3. Branding yourself/Promoting Faculty
    4. Mentoring- Assisting Senior faculty mentor Junior faculty
    5. Mentoring Students w Post Docs-Academic advising
      1. Action Item:  Professor Peters will compile a master list to be submitted to the faculty to vote for spring semester topics.
  2. Faculty Involvement with Advising- Professor Peters, Professor Gerhardt were invited to a meeting with Professor Kristin Bennett proposing ways faculty can be more involved with graduate student advising. It was suggested that perhaps an ad-hoc committee be created to work on this. Professor Maniatty suggested that the approach should keep in mind that it should be somewhat tailored- being an advisor for 50 students vs someone who is an advisor for 5 students.
  3. Cooperation with HR- This came out of a discussion from when Will Fahey in HR, and Professor Holguin-Veras met.  Will wanted to offer HR assistance to the faculty, with regard to using if they could be of any help at all. HR has tools that could possibly assist the faculty.  For example, when writing a grant, they might have some software and graphical design capabilities to assist.  We would know the content, but they are offering their assistance in the tools. Professor Peters then met with Will Fahey to discuss further.  They have tools to assist with training since they hold regular training classes.  The Provost commented that the Office of Research has a department to help us as well and the HR department can augment with additional support.
  4. Institute Wide Mentorship Program-It was discussed that a mentorship training program, to handle the different mentorship needs, be created.  The training should be specific to mentor the following groups:
    1. Research Assistants
    2. Post Docs
    3. Graduate Students
    4. Undergraduate Students

It was mentioned that in some departments, it is not clear what is expected of the faculty with regard to mentorship.  Professor Hoguin-Veras suggested creating a committee responsible for this.

5) Standing Committee Reports

Curriculum: Submitted separately

Promotion and Tenure: No report

Planning and Resources: No report

Faculty Committee on Honors: Submitted separately

6) Open Discussion about FS Initiatives for Spring 2014

The question was asked that, in addition to the Faculty Handbook work and discussion with the Provost, Mentorship discussion in item #4, what other initiatives should the group be undertaking?  Professor Chari suggested that promoting faculty for external grants is a good suggestion.  Professor Wright went on to say that in the Institute’s Performance Plan, an expected income revenue stream from research grants, in the lifetime of this plan, is set at $200M.  That further proves the importance of this initiative. Professor Belfort commented that if the focus is on the ideas and challenges, the money will follow.  He suggested to perhaps getting a team together to focus on one Grand challenge and generate ideas from that.  He stated that this country’s investment in research and in charities is the highest in the world, at 3% whereas the second largest in the world, England, is only .3%. 

Along the same route, the Provost suggested we bring together a larger core of faculty who are the leaders, who are able to create the nucleus around which large proposals will be formed. 

Professor Ryu commented that both the Mentoring initiative and the workshop for Writing is a good way to recruit new members to the Faculty Senate.

Professor Holguin-Veras suggested a sub-committee be formed that is a branch out of the Faculty Development and Retention Initiatives, to work on these items. Professor Peters, Professor Ryu and Professor Belfort will be part of this sub-committee and work on an avenue to engage the faculty in a more proactive capacity.

Referring back to what was discussed before with regard to the Faculty Committee on Honors.  In thinking of ways we can promote faculty, Professor Chari suggested we collect information from faculty that are engaged in that activity and create best practices to distribute across the departments.  Professor Chari volunteered to assist in this endeavor.

Action Item:  Professor Chari will work on identifying and compiling a set of best practices that can be leveraged by all faculty.

The Provost has received the Core Learning Outcomes from the Core Curriculum Committee at the end of last year.  He will discuss the outcomes with the committee and also broaden the discussion to the general faculty community.  This is going to be a major initiative in the coming year for the university.  A question was raised asking about if this initiative is part of accreditation by Middle States.  The Provost said it is not part of that but coincidentally, that is coming up soon.  The committees are being formed right now and that some of the members of the senate will be asked to be part of that committee.  There is a self-study we do over the course of 18 months and it is 1 consolidating report that is comprised of roughly 150 pages, and a room full of back up documentation.  Over the course of 2 days, a team of 30 senior administrators across all the universities will review the report to see if we have fulfilled the 14 Middle states standards.  Wolf von Maltzahn is the chair for that committee.   A quick overview of Middle States was given by the Provost. 

7) Old Business

Faculty Handbook Update:  The status is that the schools input/suggestions were compiled, the Executive Committee met and reviewed all the suggestions and identified if there were any issues that were too big to tackle and will not be able to be implemented in a reasonable timeframe.  The document was submitted to the Provost and the next steps are that the Provost and Executive committee review the items together. That document came out to be about 200 pages long with all the comments included.

8) New Business

- Professor Kilduff mentioned that a member of the faculty approached him regarding Institute policy on Sabbaticals.  They were concerned on how it is being implemented in different departments.  Professor Kilduff said the policy is not ambiguous but was curious if it is our role in the Senate to educate people on these issues.  The Provost stated that the Department head is responsible to manage the staff and is responsible to properly plan and stagger the faculty to fill the needs of the department.  If there is any concern that a faculty member has, they should go to the Dean and express their concerns.


- Professor Ryu brought up recent note from HR stating that the Tuition Reimbursement benefits have been reduced and that all employees must pay 25% of the tuition.  It was suggested that information that is sensitive like this be provided more proactively especially since new employees are reading this.  There was no sensitivity to this change in policy when included in the note was a reference to new Mercedes Benz discount program.  It was discussed that this should be mentioned in the Employee Handbook since it may be different.  The Provost stated that the Employee Handbook supersedes the Faculty Handbook and Employee benefits are subjected to Institute HR Policy.  Regarding new faculty members, we don’t want to look like we provided a bait-and-switch with the tuition benefits after the interview. Professor  Peters will speak with HR about this issue.

Action Item:  Professor Peters will speak with HR

9) Action Items Summary

  1. ACTION ITEM:  Invite Joyce McLoughlin – committee chair- to the next Executive Faculty Senate meeting.

  1. ACTION ITEM:  Professor Holguin-Veras and Professor Gerhardt to meet with Stan Dunn to discuss implementing items from the Graduate Review Committee Report.

  1. ACTION ITEM:  Professor Peters will contact the schools and ask for the EC to be invited to departmental or School-level meetings to provide a report on Senate activities.

  1. ACTION ITEM:  The Executive Committee will schedule times to try and meet with the Provost on the Faculty Handbook.

  1. ACTION ITEM: Professor Peters will compile a master list of topics to be submitted to the faculty to vote for spring semester Faculty Development forums.

  1. ACTION ITEM:  Start discussion on Mentorship initiative.

  1. ACTION ITEM: Professor Chari will send out an email to the senators to try and identify faculty members who may have best practices to share.

  1. ACTION ITEM:  Professor Peters will speak with HR on getting information beforehand when it comes to faculty items of concern.


Professor Wright motions to adjourn. Seconded by Professor Ryu.  All in favor.  So moved.  Adjourned at 9:50am.