09-24-2014 Faculty Senate Minutes

Faculty Senate

Meeting Minutes

September 24, 2014

 

Present:          

Lester Gerhardt, Jose Holguin-Veras, Stan Dunn, Lois Peters, Vincent Meunier, Pawel Keblinski , Frank Wright, Matthew Oehlschlaeger, Diana Borca-Tasciuc, B. Wayne Bequette, Chulsung Bae, Jennifer Monger,  David Bell, Jonas Braasch, Murali Chari, Antoinette Maniatty, Joyce McLaughlin, Ekaterina Haskins, Wolf von Maltzahn, Christopher Bystroff, Atsushi Akera.

Next meeting:    October 29, 2014; 8:15-9:45am; Library Fischbach Room

 

1) Welcome by the President – Lester Gerhardt

Meeting opens at 8:17am. Professor Gerhardt welcomes the group and thanked the senator and Committee members for their service. They have been working hard in the areas of faculty development and retention and there has been more focus on mentoring of both students and faculty.     

 

2) Approval of the Minutes – March 19, 2014

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

3) Status Report

·         Faculty Development and Retention: A workshop on advising was held in June for new faculty and was well received.  The office of Graduate Education along with the ALAC (Advising and Learning Assistance Center) offered the workshop. Looking into offering workshops for faculty on mentoring students as well as faculty.

·         Coordination between the Student Senate and Faculty Senate are ongoing.  Professor Gerhardt attended a Student Senate meeting and the Student Grand Marshal will attend the first 10 minutes of an upcoming Faculty Senate Executive Committee meeting.

·         Honors and awards: Recognition for colleague faculty members is an important part of faculty development benefitting both the professor as well as the institute, and is planned to be highlighted at the fall faculty Meeting. The Honors and Awards Committee is working on structuring a campus wide process for handling honors and awards, and Chair Joyce McLaughlin will report on the Committee’s progress. Shekhar Garde, now Dean of the School of Engineering, will be invited to speak on this topic, describing his experience and success in this regard as Department Head.

·         Faculty Handbook: The review of the handbook with the Provost has been completed as of September 12. The handbook will now be reviewed by Human Resources and Legal, and following that by the Faculty. The Faculty Senate will then vote on the handbook.

·         Committee on Honors: Nominations for the 2015 honorary degrees were submitted by the due date of September 15th. The committee will be working to rank the nominations in preparation for the President’s Committee on Honors. 

·         Eulogies: There has been an ongoing effort to have eulogies of former Emeriti who have passed away in the last year, be available on the Senate website and in hard copy and made available to the families of the deceased. There are several individuals for which some information is still missing and difficult to obtain.  Professor Gerhardt stated that this is an important issue as it relates to respect, history and continuity. Honoring them speaks to our own values as well. It was suggested that perhaps the department head should write a summary list of accomplishments/contributions for the Professors who retire and receive Emeriti status as part of their official file, or to have individuals themselves prepare it. Further discussion is planned.

 

4) Standing Committee Reports

A.     Curriculum: Committee met two weeks ago and meets regularly every other week.  Professor Bequette wanted to thank George Plopper for his service to the committee as co-chair for the past three years.  As a summary, the committee has added 137 new courses and deleted 5 courses.  In explaining the apparent large number of new courses, it was noted that many of these new courses were special topics and were finally formalized. Also there has been curriculum reform in the School of Architecture and some of the courses that are listed in two different departments, further contributing to the apparent growth in courses. An appendix was added to the committee’s report explaining this in more detail.

(1) Action Item:  Professor Akera suggested Professor Bequette send a note to the senate and cc the department heads clarifying the rules for the deletion of courses. 

B.     Promotion and Tenure:  No status report was available. The Committee will now begin its work on cases for the current academic year.

C.    Planning and Resources: Professor Gerhardt spoke. There are several new members to this committee and they will be meeting, selecting a Chair, and setting up their agenda.

(2) Action Item:  Professor Gerhardt and one additional Executive Committee member will meet with the Planning and Resources committee before the next Senate meeting.

D.    Committee on Honors: Professor McLaughlin was present and also submitted a report to the senate.  Last year the committee worked on the honorary awards as well as Rensselaer awards.  There was a senate initiative last semester that Professor Chari worked on looking at what departments have been successful at self-promoting faculty members and what best practices they could leverage from them. The committee met with the Deans and discussed how to move forward.  The Committee earlier submitted recommendations for Honorary Degrees to the President and is also working on establishing a campus wide structure for promoting and processing nominations for honors and awards.

Currently working on ranking the 2015 Honorary Degree nominations due to the President’s Committee on Honors for their meeting at the end of October. Each committee member was tasked with submitting two names and the nominations were also gathered from across the Rensselaer community.  Some discussion on the differences between conferring and Honorary Master’s degree vs. an Honorary Doctorate degree ensued.  Since it was an honorary degree, it was thought that it might be better for the recipients to all get the same ‘honorary’ degree instead of suggesting favor for a set few. Professor Chari suggested that candidates be considered who represent geographic areas where the institute wants to align itself.  Since the degrees awarded promote both the recipient and the school itself, it is important to keep in mind.

(3) Action Item:  Professor Meunier will ask the Committee chairs to send their reports before the Faculty Senate Meeting.  The reports should list their plans for the upcoming year.

5) New business

a.     Policy Changes: Professor Gerhardt spoke.  The change is regarding Rensselaer email ID’s for Emeriti.  Past policy was to delete your email ID upon retirement and initiate anew email ID. The Faculty Senate requested that the same email ID be maintained after retirement. Please to report that going forward effectively immediately, Emeriti will be able to keep their current email ID.  A question was raised about letting Masters or PhD graduates keep their email id’s since papers are published with their contact information. Another question was brought up about looking into the email storage size needs and limitations for faculty.

(4) ACTION ITEM: Professor Akera will follow-up with dot CIO on the following items:

o    Storage space for assigned for active email ids-allocations and needs

o    Retaining email id’s for retirees – non Emeriti

o    Retaining email Id’s for graduate students

o    Email id process for graduating students/alumni

b.     Advising Enhancement Proposal: The faculty senate has been working with the office of Graduate Education.  There is a formal proposal on student undergraduate and graduate advising submitted that calls for one workshop/semester as a refresher for  both new and current faculty.  The initiative is in cooperation with ALAC.  This past June, a ½ day pilot was introduced and well received.  A two day workshop is being proposed with a shorter version of that for the School of Architecture.

c.     Professor Haskins would like to have graduate students who teach be evaluated by the students.  This feedback is valuable and would assist the graduate students in their new careers.  Professor Peters agreed that it would be a big help for the Lally School as well.  Currently, in Digital Measures, the professor gets evaluated and there are a few questions relating to the teaching assistant.  Professor Gerhardt suggested that the professor send those results to the graduate student along with their evaluation of the TA as a matter of practice.  Professor Akera mentioned that HASS used to have a staff member who ran the HASS student surveys for their graduate students but because of attrition, the position was never filled.

(5) ACTION ITEM:   Look into providing the Digital Measures questions relating to TA’s be provided to the graduate students along with their evaluations from their advisors – Office of Graduate Education: Stan Dunn.

d.     Professor Chang Ryu took an academic position (Acting Department Head) and is no longer able to fulfill his duties on the senate.  This brought up the question of whether a special election needed to be held to elect another senator to take his vacant seat, there is only one candidate up for that position. Professor Akera found that the constitution does not require a special election to be held.  

6) Action Items Summary

1)     ACTION ITEM:  Professor Akera suggested Professor Bequette send a note to the senate and cc the department heads clarifying the rules for the deletion of courses.

2)     ACTION ITEM:  Professor Gerhardt and one additional Executive Committee member will meet with the Planning and Resources committee before the next Senate meeting.

3)     ACTION ITEM:    Professor Meunier will ask the Committee chairs to send their reports before the Faculty Senate Meeting.  The reports should list their plans for the upcoming year.

4)     ACTION ITEM:   Professor Akera will follow-up with dot CIO on the following items:

a.     Storage space for assigned for active email id’s-allocations and needs

b.     Retaining email id’s for retirees – non Emeriti

c.     Retaining email Id’s for graduate students

d.     Email id process for graduating students/alumni

5)     ACTION ITEM:   Look into providing the Digital measures questions relating to TA’s be provided to the graduate students along with their evaluations from their advisors – Office of Graduate Education: Stan Dunn.

6)     ACTION ITEM:   Formulate agenda for November 2014 General Faculty Meeting – Executive Committee

7)     ACTION ITEM:   Goal this year: complete the Faculty Handbook: next steps in process – Executive Committee

Professor Meunier motions to adjourn. Seconded by Professor Wright.  All in favor. So moved.  Adjourned at 9:47am.