At the request of Interim President Ryan, the University Senate has been considering the development of governance structures for the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) that provide for a degree of autonomy. The Senate established a Joint Governance Council/CNSE Working Group to begin to address this issue. On December 6, 2004, the Senate passed with overwhelming majority a resolution that endorses the MOU signed by members of the Joint Working Group concerning promotion and continuing appointment procedures for the new college. The Resolution, the final version of the MOU, and relevant selections from the Senate Charter and Faculty Handbook can be accessed at:

The resolution calls for the Governance Council to examine the Faculty Bylaws of UAlbany and the Senate Charter, and to solicit input from the faculty to determine if and what amendments would have to be proposed in order to remove potential inconsistencies between said documents and the MOU. The Assessment Committee of the Governance Council has made a preliminary examination of the issues and recommends to the Governance Council that in article SX 7.4. the text "the Provost, the dean" should be replaced by "the appropriate Vice President(s), the dean (where applicable)".

The Governance Council hereby invites the faculty to assist in identifying other possible inconsistencies between the documents under consideration and to report their findings and suggestions to the Governance Council. While we encourage faculty to carefully read the full MOU as a matter of information, the potentially critical items appear in section II.6. of the MOU. It is here that deviations from established practices concerning promotion and tenure have been stipulated. The specific question for which the Governance Council requests your input is whether the process detailed in II.6. is consistent with the written language of the Faculty Bylaws and the Senate Charter, and if not, to suggest amendment(s) that would remove such inconsistencies. Of course, any amendments ultimately proposed would have to be approved by the Senate and the Faculty, as applicable.

Faculty should be aware that the MOU only addresses procedures for CNSE, and consequently makes no (implied or otherwise) recommendations concerning other units of the university. A University Wide Ad-hoc Committee on Governance created by the Senate in Spring 2004 has recently submitted a draft report to the Senate (at that explores these complex issues in depth. The Senate plans to address the issues raised by the Ad Hoc Committee by surveying the faculty and holding a faculty forum, which has been tentatively scheduled for early March.

Please either reply directly to this email or send your comments to Prof. Steve Messner, Chair of the Governance Council, Arts and Sciences 351 (fax: 442-4936; In view of the time table specified in the 12/6/04 Senate Resolution, the Governance Council requests that you submit your input concerning the specific question identified above by Friday, February 4, 2005.