05-08-2013 Faculty Senate Minutes

Faculty Senate Meeting

May 8, 2013


Members Present:  Isom Herron, Chip Kilduff, Pawel Keblinski, Atsushi Akera, Michael Century,  Jeanne Keefe, Antoinette Maniatty,  Murali Chari, Stan Dunn (in place of the Provost), Frank Wright, Kristin  Bennett , David  Duquette, Nancy Campbell, Joyce McLaughlin, Mark Shephard

Members Absent:  Les Gerhardt– Chair of the Faculty- was involved in a traffic accident and not able to attend. Jose Holguin-Veras was in DC on business, Lois Peters was teaching a class which began at 3PM.

President Herron opened the meeting at 3:08 pm.

1)  Approval of March 20, 2013 Minutes:

Revision of Item 2 - Address from the Senate President. The minutes stated that the Executive Committee has met and have approved the Handbook Revisions Committee recommendations. This was clarified to indicate that the Executive Committee approved recommendations for the structure and function of the Faculty Handbook Draft Committee and the Faculty Handbook Review Committee.  With that the motion to approve minutes is made by Professor Century, seconded by Professor Wright.  All in favor. So moved.

2)  Address from the Senate President:

Professor Herron noted that as we conclude the first full academic year of the Faculty Senate, his term as President is also ending.  He thanked all the Senate officers and committee members for their assistance over the past year. He further stated that it has made his work much easier and made him appear as an effective executive and administrator.  Unfortunately committee members who worked closely with him as members of the Executive Committee were not able to attend today.  Professor Gerhardt was in a traffic accident; fortunately he was not injured and will return to work soon. Professor Herron said that if he were here, he would bring everyone’s attention to the General Faculty Meeting that was held in April.  At this meeting, the Provost delivered a detailed presentation on the academic enterprise, which will be available on the Senate website.   Professor Jose Holguin-Veras is being honored by the White House as a Transportation Champion of Change. Such awardees are recognized for their exemplary leadership developing/implementing transportation technology solutions to enhance performance, reduce congestion, improve safety and facilitate communication across the Transportation Industry at the local, state or National level.  His Bio will be featured on the White House website.  On behalf of the Senate, Professor Akera moved that we offer congratulations to Professor Holguin-Veras on his accomplishments and on his recognition by the White House. Motion was seconded by Michael Century.  All in favor, so moved. 

3)  Committee Reports:

Planning & Resources Committee (Standing Committee) – Professor Duquette provided the report.  The committee is required to be made up of 5 Faculty members, one representative from each school, and 4 administrative officials.   The administration includes the Provost, the VP of Research, the VP of Administration, and the Dean of the Graduate School. One of the roles is to provide advice to the institute, as well to serve as a bridge between the faculty and the administration.  They have been delayed waiting to meet with the direct stakeholders who could make policy decisions.  They proposed that the committee create a template for planning collaborative research and/or programs on campus when those items span several portfolios.  There has been a question on whether the Provost has accepted the template officially.  The next steps are to have a meeting with the administration on the committee and move forward.  Some questions arose as to if the mission of this committee was clear and to make sure the Provost, the administration members of this committee with the Senate Executive Committee and the Vice Provost meet to communicate the mission.  Other comments in regard to how important it is to make sure that this committee are aligned with the Performance planning cycle.  Discussion continued on making sure the administration on board and working with the committee going forward.  Stan Dunn will speak with the Provost on what was discussed here today.

ACTION ITEMS:  Professor Duquette will organize a meeting in May with the administration

Faculty Committee on Honors (Standing Committee) – Professor McLaughlin provided the report.  They awarded the William H. Wiley 1866 Distinguished Faculty Award, the James M. Tien ’66 Early Career Award and the Jerome Fishbach ’38 Travel Award.  She commented that they do not get many nominations and should be getting more because of the number of talented faculty.  She commented that some departments are really good at submitting nominations for their faculty and she requested that people consider making more nominations next year. It was mentioned that it would go along with the Faculty Development and Retention and be an opportunity during the training to discuss it and they can work with the Faculty development committee on this.  There was some discussion regarding whether the committee would be a good group to leverage external awards such as election to the National Academies.  Professor McLaughlin commented that it could be but not the way it is structured today – currently, the committee meets to review the nominations and select a winner for the three awards.    Professor Atsushi noted that as part of their responsibilities, the Constitution states that the committee “shall also evaluate, rank, and recommend candidates to the President for the following year’s Commencement Speaker and Honorary Doctor’s Degrees Candidates”.  He said that this is something the Provost would like the committee to have more participation in.

Faculty Development and Retention (Ad-Hoc Committee) – Professor Kristin Bennett presented on behalf of the committee; the PowerPoint presentation will be available on the Faculty Senate web site.  Professor Akera noted that although some recommendations could be part of other Senate Committees (P&T for instance) this committee is not responsible for implementing those changes but noting them and passing them onto the appropriate committees.  Some questions were asked in regard to implementing the Faculty Development and Retention recommendations in a concrete manner.  Professor Bennett commented that the Faculty Senate might be in a position to make those decisions.  Professor Akera noted that the Committee should provide the Senate the initial steps for implementing the recommendations and the Senate will need to follow up and take those steps.  The Draft Report was accepted and Professor Bennett stated that she will go back to the committee and ask them to try and operationalize the recommendations. 

Promotion & Tenure Committee (Standing Committee) – Professor Shephard reported.  They had a total of 5 cases in the Fall, 4 for Associate with Tenure and 1 for full Professor. Of the five cases,  2 were in Science,  2 in Engineering and 1in HASS.  In the Spring, they had 15 total cases, 7 for Associate with Tenure and 8 for promotion to full Professor.  They had 2 in Science, 7 in Engineering,  3 in HASS and 2 in Management as well as 2-3 new hires.  Professor Shephard went to explain the process of P&T as it pertains to the committee and their role.  Professor Keblinski asked Professor Shephard to comment on the view that was presented in the Faculty Development and Retention Committee presentation  on P&T being a stressor.  He commented that the expectations of each School and department vary; in HASS the variations between departments is sometimes larger than it is between some of the schools.  The committee is made of members from each of the schools to provide some perspective on expectations.   The faculty should have a reasonable expectation of P&T guidelines.  Professor Bennett asked if there some generic training tools that could help define what constitutes a good case, how they are prepared.  Professor Shephard said that since each case is different based on the schools and their criteria.  There is some overlap designed in the committee process so new P&T committee members can observe how the committee functions.  There was some discussion on making sure that there is the right combination of experienced and diverse members on the committee.  Motion by Professor Herron to accept the written report, seconded by Professor Akera.  All in favor, so moved.

Institute Curriculum Committee (Standing Committee) – Professor Bequette was not able to attend the meeting but provided the written report, which was read by Professor Akera.  This report is appended to these minutes. 

Faculty Handbook Update -  Professor Akera reported.  The Handbook Draft Committee is nearly completed with the Draft revisions for the Handbook.  They have forwarded 6 questions to the Provost for clarification and those along with other items from the faculty will be addressed at their final meeting on May 16th.  Once that is completed, they will finish their Draft and submit it to the Handbook Review Committee.  This committee will in turn review the document and provide their recommendations to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.  The Executive Committee will work with the Administration to refine any language as necessary to make sure that the document, once approved, will not require any additional changes for Administrative approval.  The Handbook Draft Committee decided that its role is not to draft new policy at this time, but rather to bring policy into alignment with current practice.  The recommendations on tenure clock stoppages and on dual career hires will be passed onto the Executive Committee as intended to be addressed as policy changes by the Faculty Senate itself.

Graduate Review Committee (Ad-Hoc Committee) – Professor Maniatty presented.  The PowerPoint presentation will be available on the Faculty Senate web site.  Professor Akera asked if Rensselaer can achieve these recommendations and what recommendations can be acted on now?  Professor Maniatty stated that the committee felt that the goals were reasonable and that the administration feels that these goals are feasible.  Professor Herron suggested we put this on the Fall agenda so the Senate can review it further.  Professor Campbell suggested that the Associate Deans look at the report and come to the Fall meeting and to discuss prioritization. Professor Shephard asked if the committee had a ranking of their recommendations.  Professor Maniatty said that the biggest barrier to growing the program is the support for graduate students.  It would help to have some sort of a sliding tuition scale to help make our grants more competitive, and we need more fellowships as well.  We need additional staff to support the number of students we would like to have.  Stan Dunn commented that just over ½ of the total students are supported on research funding.  We support 400 or so on regular institute funds.  He further discussed that graduate education is an investment – it should not be regarded solely a revenue stream.  Articulating that philosophy is important, and could be a function of the Faculty Senate.  Professor Century moves to accept the minutes.  All in favor, so moved.

ACTION ITEMS:  Executive Committee schedules a follow-up meeting to continue discussion re the report.

5)  Report & Ratification of Election Results: Professor Kilduff read the results of the 2013 Faculty Senate Elections.  They are as follows:

 Executive Committee

• President                             Jose Holguin-Veras

• Vice President                     Les Gerhardt

• Recording Secretary            Lois Peters


Faculty Senate

• ENG                                    Antoinette Maniatty

• SCI                                     Chang Ryu

• HASS                                  Ekaterina Haskins

• Lally                                   Murali Chari


Standing Committees

Curriculum Committee

• ENG                                   Wayne Bequette

• Lally                                  Hao Zhao

• At Large                            June Deery (HASS)

Promotion & Tenure Committee

• HASS                                 Michael Century

• Lally                                  Bill Francis

• At Large                            Joe Chow (ENG)


Planning & Resources Committee

• ARCH                                Michael Oatman

• Lally                                  Chris McDermott


Faculty Committee on Honors

• ARCH                                Russ Leslie

• Lally                                  Bill Francis


Professor Akera moves to accept the report, seconded by Professor Keblinksi.  All in favor.  So moved. 

Professor Herron motions to adjourn. Seconded by Professor Akera.  All in favor.  So moved.  Adjourned at 5:13pm.





TO:         Wayne Bequette

George Plopper               

FROM:  Sharon Kunkel

Date:     5/2/13


RE:          Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee AY 12-13


Committee Members

Kurt Anderson, Dean’s Office, School of Engineering

Wayne Bequette, faculty representative, School of Engineering, co-chair

Stan Dunn, Provost’s Office, ex-officio

Mike Hanna Provost’s Office, ex-officio

Payman Karvanirabori, graduate student representative

Sharon Kunkel, Registrar, ex-officio, recording secretary

Shawn Lawson, faculty representative, School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Mark Mistur, Dean’s Office, School of Architecture

Lee Odell, Dean’s Office, School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Gina O’Connor, Dean’s Office, Lally School of Management and Technology

Chris Perry, faculty representative, School of Architecture

George Plopper, faculty representative, School of Science, co-chair

Josie Seddon, Office of Institutional Research, ex-officio

Christine Schoenen, undergraduate representative

David Spooner, Dean’s Office, School of Science

Anthony Titus, faculty representative, School of Architecture

Kevin Ung, undergraduate student representative

Hao Zhao, faculty representative, Lally School of Management and Technology


The Committee met 13 times over the academic year. The following is a summary of the ’12-13 Committee activities:


Reviewed and approved 61 course changes

Reviewed and approved 85 new courses

Reviewed and approved 21 course deletions

Reviewed and approved 31 curriculum or degree template changes for majors, minors or concentrations

Reviewed and approved 4 new minors 


Other activities:

  • Developed some standard language for learning outcomes for new courses. It will be incorporated into the FSCC standard course submission templates.
  • Provided feedback to the Student Senate on their survey of the J-Term and Core curriculum courses.