University Senate Executive Committee Meeting

Minutes of August 29, 2005



Present:  Philippe Abraham, Seth Chaiken, Richard Collier, Diane Dewar, Kermit Hall, Vincent Idone, William Lanford, Andi Lyons, Carolyn MacDonald, David McCaffrey, Louise-Anne McNutt, Steven Messner, Gwen Moore, Michael Range, Joan Savitt, Malcolm Sherman, David Shub, David Wagner, Richard Zitomer.


Minutes:         The minutes of April 18, 2005 were approved.


Chair’s Note:  2004-05 Executive Committee is official until August 31, but the agenda developed from today’s meeting will be for the first Senate meeting of 2005-06.  Therefore, both incoming and outgoing Chairs of all the Councils have been invited to this meeting.


President’s Report:


Moving-in Day – President Hall thanked all those who worked to help students move into their campus housing.


Budget – President Hall summarized the budget situation for the campus, indicating that the five hundred to seven hundred and fifty additional students will add approximately $1.5M to the budget.  Additional good news: a “hold harmless,” thanks in large measure to John Ryan, and the possibility of $20M in additional money for centers, which would help the budgetary bottom line.


Hiring – President Hall informed the committee that Charles Williams will become the new Vice President for Governmental Affairs and Public Relations, beginning in mid-September.


Compact Planning – President Hall reminded committee members that the compact planning process is coming, with an all-day meeting on September 8.  Compact Planning Goals will be disseminated shortly.


Issues for Provost – President Hall reported that our new Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Susan Herbst, will address the issue of religious holidays as soon as she arrives on campus.  The university honors program will also be high on her priority list.


Scholarship Fund – President Hall reported this initiative is more than half way to its $1M goal.  He will be attempting to infuse new life into the second half of this fundraising mission.


Albany High School – President Hall discussed the new strategic initiative involving partnership opportunities with Albany High School.  A half-day teach-in is planned for mid-September.  A steering committee is being created and will have Senate representation from UPC, including Carolyn MacDonald, UPC Chair.



Chair’s Report: 


Senate Clerical Support – While Jayne VanDenburgh continues battling a serious health condition, the Senate has been authorized to hire a temporary replacement to deal with the support needs of the Executive Committee, Governance Council, and general Senate.


ODAA – Laurel Allen, Office of Diversity & Affirmative Action Director, has requested a meeting with the new Executive Committee at our next scheduled meeting on September 26, at 3:30 PM.


Brown Bag Lunches – Informal meetings with the President have been scheduled for September 9 from 12:30--1:30 PM, October 13 from 12:00--1:00 PM, November 7 from 12:00--1:00 PM, and December 8 from 12:00--1:00 PM.  A question arose about the October 13 date, as it is Yom Kippur, and classes are not in session.  The Chair indicated he would double-check all of these dates and report back to the committee.


Meeting Format – The Chair stated he would again like to attempt to streamline the Executive Committee meeting format.   With nine councils and two committees, oral reports of routine activities often use about half of the meeting, leaving little time to devote to discussions of substantive issues.  To increase productivity, brief written reports of activities from each Council and Committee should be submitted to the Senate Secretary by noon on the Friday before each Executive Committee meeting.


Senate Agenda – The Chair indicated there may be a few last-minute changes as new information is received.  Several changes to the Senate Council membership lists will need to be voted upon.  Chairs of Councils must be Senators or be nominated to become senators with approval by the full Senate.  The Executive Committee can nominate a committee Chair to be approved as a senator.  The Committee voted to nominate Richard Zitomer, Chair of the Committee on Ethics in Research and Scholarship (CERS), to be approved as senator by the Senate.


New Business:


Honors Program – a Committee has been meeting all summer and expressed optimism that consensus on the core 12-18 credit foundational curriculum was in reach, with a focus on research and creative performance.  The Committee has also discussed how to bring departmental honors programs to life.  Three types of honors possibilities were examined:

            1) University honors credits (12-18) from foundational curriculum;

            2)  Departmental honors;

            3) Senior honors project in research or creative/performing arts.


Presidential scholars would be admitted to program automatically, but other students who show early achievement would also be allowed entry.  There would be targeted courses for the honors program, which would not be available for open enrollment.


Religious Holidays – UPC and ULC have been asked to continue considering this issue.  Gwen Moore and David McCaffrey developed a report on the issue’s history, which includes three different recommendations.  This will become a top priority as soon as Provost Herbst has had the opportunity to weigh in on the issue.


CNSE Bylaws and Charter – The working group drafted a new document after the Senate action last year.  This will be reported to the Governance Council for review and comment.


Council Activity Requiring Consultation or Coordination – UAC and UPC are examining the policy on academic advising.  The UAS Bookstore Committee is reporting to ULC on textbook pricing.  GAC raised an issue regarding faculty receiving service credit for work on committees for tenure and promotion purposes, without providing any real service.  LISC requested input on vetting channels for policy proposals, and concern that reports are circulated in advance.




2004-05 Executive Committee proposed a resolution thanking Carolyn MacDonald, University Senate Chair for 2004-05, for her tireless work and devotion to duty.  The resolution was approved by acclamation.