03-21-2012 Faculty Senate Minutes


Faculty Senate Meeting

March 21, 2012


1. Introductions

Isom Herron opens the meeting at 2:07. Thanks the Senate for electing him as President. Executive Committee introduces themselves and their roles.

2. Report from the Faculty Governance Recommendation Committee

Atsushi Akera gives background on FGRC, including formation (by former Provost Palazzo) and role (to draft a new Constitution). The FGRC also drafted guidelines regarding future operation of the Senate. Guidelines were passed out to the Senate, and Dr. Akera reviewed them with the Senate. Copy of document is attached to the minutes. Floor is open for discussion regarding guidelines. Dr. Herron asks for a voice vote on record. Dr. Akera motions to receive report. Motion seconded. All were in favor of receiving report. No nays noted. So accepted.

3. Other Reports

a. Curriculum Committee

Wayne Bequette speaks on behalf of the Curriculum Committee. The Committee is made up of, Wayne Bequette, Susan Sanderson, Chris VerWys, Chris Perry, Anthony Titus, George Plopper, Shawn Lawson. There is still a student representative missing from the Committee. Michael Oatman had begun the discussion with the GM Russell Brown. Wayne Bequette will continue discussion with GM in order to get the student representative. Dr. Bequette asks if the minutes of the meetings should be forwarded to the Senate. The consensus seems to be that the minutes do not need to be sent, as the Senate does not approve the minutes, although there should be active dialog. Michael O’Rourke states that he would like the Institute Curriculum Committee to be more focused on far reaching goals and direction. Dr. Herron calls for a motion to accept report. Motion made to accept. Atsushi Akera seconds motion. All in favor. So accepted.

b. P&T Committee

There is no one representing the P&T at the meeting. Prabhat Hajela announces that the cases have arrived in the Provost office.

c. Resources and Planning Committee

The Resources and Planning Committee has not yet met.

4. Appointment of the Faculty Committee on Honors

Georges Belfort asks for background and purpose of the Faculty Committee on Honors. Atsushi Akera reads the portion of the Constitution related to the FCH. Lester Gerhardt speaks about the discussion that took place regarding faculty awards in general. His opinion is that not enough is done to recognize the faculty for external awards. He also believes that the committee members on the FCH should also be quite illustrious in their own careers. Ideally, they should be members of the NAS (for Science), NAE (for Engineering), or other comparable honors. There are very few NAS or NAE members, and further, this kind of expectation can be very difficult across all schools.   Dr. Akera stated that the slate of candidates changed from the original slate made up of assistant, associate and full professors to almost exclusively Chaired faculty. Dr. Belfort congratulates Dr. Gerhardt for his work towards gaining recognition for faculty. Dr. Gerhardt states that it is a matter of changing the culture in departments to want people to do the right thing by honoring their own colleagues.

Dr. Herron reads the names of the nominees for the Faculty Committee on Honors. Dr. Akera moves to accept the slate. Motion seconded. Dr. Herron calls for a vote. All were in favor. Slate accepted.

5. Approval of the Agenda of the March 28 General Faculty Meeting

Dr. Herron asks Committee to encourage other faculty to attend. Dr. Herron calls for motion to approve the agenda. Dr. Akera reads the proposed agenda. Discussion takes place regarding next week’s General Faculty Meeting. Dr. Belfort states wish for productive and peaceful meeting, and how the Senate Executive Committee will handle negative comments. Dr. Gerhardt states that allowing each person their opinion and the time to speak, and then to move on while accentuating the positive. Faculty Senate discusses overall problem of a new paradigm of teaching, the lack of people in STEM fields. Dr. Herron again invites motion to accept agenda. Dr. Belfort motions to accept. Motion is seconded. Motion accepted.

6. Statement by the Provost

Provost thanks Executive Committee for their work. He states that the President would like to meet with the Executive Committee soon. He also states that he has some items he would like to discuss, namely HASS curriculum reorganization and overall curriculum changes. He also discusses that the Rensselaer Plan has gotten us to where we are, but it is time to refresh the Plan and the Faculty need to start thinking about these things in a big way and how to engage them to do so. Hiring is also a priority, as is diversity of the faculty. Provost asks the Senate to consider their structure, to ensure that it meets the needs of the Faculty in the most efficient way possible. Provost asks that a representative be appointed to address the Faculty Handbook that needs to be reviewed and updated. Dr. Akera notes that it is the assigned duty of the Secretary of the Faculty to coordinate this work; but that the Senate Executive Committee can appoint a committee or taskforce to do so.

7. New Business

Dr. Akera states that one order of business is to determine the best time slot for meetings. He will send out a Doodle poll in order to assess the best time.

8. Adjournment

Meeting adjourned at 3:05pm.