Faculty Senate Communications Vol 2 No. 1 (August 2014)

FACULTY SENATE COMMUNICATIONS

Vol 2, No. 1 – August 2014

Lester Gerhardt, President | Pawel Keblinski, Vice President José Holguín–Veras, Chair of Faculty | Vincent Meunier, Secretary of Faculty | Lois Peters, Secretary of Senate |Matthew Oehlschlaeger, Recording Secretary

                                                                                                                        14 August 2014

To the Rensselaer Faculty and Rensselaer Community,

On behalf of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the entire Faculty Senate, I want to greet you warmly after an eventful year and wish you the very best in the summer season!

In this issue of Faculty Senate Communications, we summarize election results; you will find the full Faculty Senate Roster at the end of this communication.

In 2013-2014 AY the Faculty Senate activities focused on several areas including (a) major revision of Faculty Handbook (b) various activities associated with faculty development and retention (c) joint efforts with the Graduate School and Human Resources. Furthermore, the Faculty Senate and its Executive Committee, along with the general faculty input, provided a platform and a discussion forum for major issues of faculty interest and concern. These include employee benefits and a mechanism of conveying these issues and associated faculty opinions to the school administration, most prominently The Office of the Provost, The Graduate School and The Department of Human Resources. The overall thrust has been information sharing and faculty involvement. Following the result of faculty elections conducted in 2014, we provide a summary of major activities and issues addressed by the Faculty Senate in AY 2013-2014.

As always, please feel free to reach out to any Senator to convey your thoughts and ideas.

Sincerely,

Lester Gerhardt
Faculty Senate President

 

1. 2014 Faculty Senate Election results

Executive Committee
Vice President:                  Pawel Keblinski
Recording Secretary:        Matthew Oehlschlaeger
Secretary of the Faculty:   Vincent Meunier
 
Senators
Engineering                       Diana Borca-Tasciuc
Science                              Christopher Bystroff
HASS                                Atsushi Akera
Architecture                      Jonas Braasch
 
Curriculum Committee
Science                              Bruce Piper 
HASS                                Brett Fajen
 
Promotion & Tenure Committee
Science                              Peter Kramer
At Large                            Thierry Blanchet
 
Planning & Resources Committee
Engineering                       Paul Schoch
HASS                                Audrey Bennett
Lally                                  Dorit Nevo
 
Faculty Committee on Honors
Engineering                       John Tichy
Architecture                      Ning Xing
LALLY                             Shyam Kumar

2. Faculty Handbook

The Faculty Senate in collaboration with the Administration is undertaking an update of the Faculty Handbook. As part of this important process, the Faculty Senate's Executive Committee put together a comprehensive outreach process to ensure that input was received from both the Faculty and the Adminstration.. As part of the process, two faculty committees were created.  The Draft Committee produced a first round of suggestions; while the Review Committee suggested additional changes. Moreover, selected faculty members were asked to provide the Faculty Senate's Executive Committee with suggestions about potential improvements to the Handbook and the faculty at large was asked to provide suggestions about how to improve the handbook via an anonymous email account. The Faculty Senate's Executive Committee organized meetings at each of the five schools to make sure that all points of view were taken into account. The Office of the Provost was also requested to provide input as well as the Office of Hunan Resources. At this stage of the process, a master list of all suggested changes has been compiled, and provided to the Provost in December, 2013. The Faculty Senate's Executive Committee is in discussions with the Provost regarding the changes recommended. The goal is to present – a unified set of changes for discussion and vote at the Faculty Senate in the near future. This must then be approved by the President and Board of Trustees.

3. Faculty Development and Retention

During the fall 2013 and spring 2014 semesters, three Faculty Development forums were organized jointly by the Provost and Faculty Senate. The first was held on October 21, 2013. New faculty and Assistant Professors invited. The focus was on RPI research initiatives and obtaining research grants. Presentations were given by Ivar Strand, Assistant Vice President for Research Administration and Finance, on roles and responsibilities of the RPI Research Administration and by Jonathan Dordick, VP Research, on RPI research Initiatives. The second forum was held on December 4, 2013 and dealt with the tenure process at RPI. Assistant and Associate Professors were invited. Mark Shepard, Chair of Institute P&T Committee made a presentation on the tenure process at RPI. Copies of the presentations made at both forums were sent to the faculty on December 10, 2013. Each of the forums also included panel discussions. The panel speakers for the research forum were: Linda Schadler, Mariana Figueiro, Suvranu De, and Chunyu Wang. The panel speakers for the P&T forum were Mark Shephard, Nancy Campbell, T. Ravichandran, David Spooner, and Mark Mistur. The spring forum on May 9, 2014 was on tools for blended learning. All faculty were invited. Julie Wilson SOAPS Director and Dan Lewis, Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering each made presentations on good practices in the field. In addition there was a demonstration of the Grapefruit platform new software available to Rensselaer users developed by two students and David Goldschmidt, Lecturer Computer Science.

The Faculty Senate and Division of Human Resources sponsored a forum for Communication and Conflict Management for Department Chairs on March 26, 2014. A webinar conducted by Dr. J. Emmett Winn, Associate Provost and Professor at Auburn University was shown and followed by a discussion on further opportunities for collaboration between the Faculty Senate and Division of Human Resources. 

A list of potential topics for future forums has been complied with input from the Faculty Senate and the General Faculty. The faculty will be polled at the beginning of the fall 2014 semester regarding their degree of interest in attending forums on these topics. Topics for next year’s forums will be based on the response. 

4. Collaboration with the Graduate School

Upon the re-constitution of the Faculty Senate, an Ad Hoc Committee on Graduate Programs was formed Chaired by Antoinette Maniatty. Their final report identified five areas for recommendations. They are a) Graduate student support; b) Graduate student recruitment; c) Diversity; d) Placement and Alumni Relations; and e) Opportunities for distinction (related to PhD production). There have been several meetings during this past year to discuss the main issues of faculty involvement in advising and recruitment in detail. These included dinner meetings with Dean Stan Dunn-Vice Provost of Graduate Education, a presentation by Stan Dunn to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and subsequently to the Full Senate, and meetings with Jeannie Steigler of ALAC and Dennis Gornic of OGE to discuss student advising and especially workshops for both new and established Faculty stressing student advising for undergraduate and graduate students combined. The result was a first joint offering of an Advising Workshop combining undergraduate and graduate advising, on June 23-25, 2014, open to new and established faculty, offered by the Advising and Learning Assistance Center, and the Office of Graduate Education. This incorporated three information sessions followed by an on line discussion board. Continued discussions are planned with Dean Dunn to explore concrete steps to increase faculty involvement in graduate recruitment.

5. Collaboration with Human Resources

Multiple information sharing sessions were held with Curtis Powell or his delegates on the subjects of 1. Reduced tuition benefits for dependents attending Rensselaer; 2. Advanced notification of the changes in the defined benefit pension plan; 3. Involvement of the Faculty Senate in academic administration searches; and 4. Selected issues relating to the forthcoming revised Faculty Handbook.

 

FACULTY SENATE ROSTER AY 2014-2015

Senate Executive Committee
Term
1-yr terms
Chair of Faculty
Jose Holguin-Veras
Spring 2015
President
Lester Gerhardt
Spring 2015
Vice President
Paul (Pawel) Keblinski
Spring 2015
Secretary of Faculty
Vincent Meunier
Spring 2015
 Secretary of Senate
Lois Peters
Spring 2015
Recording Secretary
Matthew Oehlschlaeger
Spring 2015
       
Senators
 
 
 
School/Constituency
Representative
Term
2-yr terms
Engineering
Diana Borca-Tasciuc
Spring 2016
Engineering
Antoinette Maniatty
Spring 2015
Science
Christopher Bystroff
Spring 2016
Science
Chang Ryu
Spring 2015
HASS
Ekaterina Haskins
Spring 2015
HASS
Atsushi Akera
Spring 2016
Architecture
Jonas Braasch
Spring 2016
Management
Murali Chari
Spring 2015
Lecturer & Professors of Practice
 
 
Troy
Frank Wright
Spring 2015
Hartford (shared)
Tom Triscari
Spring 2015
 
Robert Albright
Spring 2015
Retirees
Paul Hohenberg
Spring 2015
 
Michael Halloran
Spring 2015
Librarians/Archivists
Jen Monger
Spring 2016
       

Faculty Senate Committees

   
1. Curriculum Committee
 
 

School

Representative

Term

3-yr terms

Engineering
Wayne Bequette
Spring 2015
Science
Bruce Piper
Spring 2017
HASS
Brett Fajen
Spring 2017
 Architecture
Chris Perry
Spring 2015
Management
Hao Zhao
Spring 2016
At Large
Jun Deery
Spring 2016
At Large
Anthony Titus
Spring 2015
 
 
 
 
School
Associate Dean
 
 
Engineering
Kurt Anderson
 
Science
David Spooner
 
HASS
Lee Odell
 
 Architecture
Mark Mistur
 
Management
Gina O'Connor
 
 
 
 
 
Non-voting ex-officio
 
 
Stanley Dunn, Vice-provost Graduate Education
 
Mike Hanna Provost designee
 
Sharon Kunkel, Registrar and Recording Secretary
Josephine Seddon, Student Assessment Specialist
Student Representatives (To be updated)
 
 
       
2. Promotion & Tenure Committee
 
 
School
Representative
Term
3-yr terms
Engineering
Mark Shephard, chair
Spring 2015
Science
Peter Kramer
Spring 2017
HASS
Michael Century
Spring 2016
Architecture
Anna Dyson
Spring 2015
Management
Bill Francis
Spring 2016
At Large
Linda McGown
Spring 2016
At Large
Thierry Blanchet
Spring 2017
Student elected representative
 
 
 
Yaron Danon
Spring 2015
       
3. Planning & Resources Committee
 
 
School
Representative
Term
3-yr terms
Engineering
Paul Schoch
Spring 2017
Science
Peter Persans
 
HASS
Audrey Bennett
Spring 2017
 Architecture
Michael Oatman
 
Management
Dorit Nevo
Spring 2017
       
4. Faculty Committee on Honors
 
 
School
Representative
Term
3-yr terms
Science
Joyce McLaughlin, chair
Spring 2015
Engineering
John Tichy
Spring 2017
HASS
Langdon Winner
Spring 2015
Architecture
Ning Xiang
Spring 2017
Management
M.V. Shyam Kumar
Spring 2017