Present: F. Hauser, G. Jicha, S.B.Kim, P. Leonard, J. Logan,
D. McCaffrey, C. Pearce,
M. Pryse, C. Santiago, B. Shadrick, S. Stern, E. Wulfert (Chair)
Guests: H. Charalambous, R. Collier, R. Farrell, C. MacDonald, J. Pipkin, J. Savitt
Approval of Minutes: The minutes of March 26, 2004 were approved.
Chair Wulfert explained that this special meeting of EPC was called to discuss the two charges to EPC resulting from the March 26, 2004 meeting. EPC was charged with establishing a joint committee composed of four representatives each from EPC and the School of NanoSciences and NanoEngineering (SNN). A second charge was to have the Senate Chair and the EPC Chair reach out to Interim President Ryan and Provost Santiago to engage in constructive discussion about issues related to the proposed college.
Senate Chair Pryse and EPC Chair Wulfert did meet with President Ryan and Provost Santiago on March 29, 2004. The President made it clear that he thought it was very important for the two groups to get together and he asked the Provost to intervene and ask Dean Kaloyeros of SNN to help facilitate the subcommittee, which was scheduled to meet on March 31, 2004. President Ryan suggested three representatives from EPC and three from SNN would be sufficient. Dean Kaloyeros of SNN did arrange for three SNN faculty members to meet with the EPC subcommittee.
Chair Wulfert reported that she followed up once more with researching the faculty governance structures at Stony Brook, as Provost Santiago also did independently. They both found that Stony Brook does indeed have three relatively independent units with their own internal governance structures, i.e., the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the Health Sciences Center. Each of these units consists of multiple departments and/or schools and handles its own affairs in the areas of curriculum, tenure and promotion, etc.
Report of Senate Chair Pryse:
The first meeting ended with all agreeing to meet again to discuss campus-wide concerns that might produce the need for CNSE faculty participation in some kind of shared governance structure. EPC representatives were asked to send 3-4 common concerns as an advance agenda for the next meeting.
Regarding promotion and tenure, SNN faculty stated that, since other universities do not have university-wide tenure and promotion committees, they did not see why they should be bound by the existing model at Albany. At the same time, they reiterated that there is “no intent to divorce [the new college] from the university. The meeting ended with SNN faculty noting that they plan to follow the model of Health Sciences at Stony Brook and Buffalo, with variations, noting at the same time that they are “trying to create something brand new here.”
Following the meeting, the EPC representatives concluded that while there may be some sense of agreement that CNSE faculty would participate on some Senate councils—perhaps EPC/UPC, certainly LISC—they seemed adamant about retaining local autonomy, particularly in the areas of graduate curriculum and promotion and tenure.
This report is on behalf of a committee appointed at the request of EPC to meet with faculty from the School of Nanosciences and Nanoengineering (SNN) to discuss governance within the University. Marjorie Pryse is chair of the committee; John Logan and David McCaffrey are the other two members.
The committee has completed considerable research on governance structures at other university centers and met twice in the last two weeks with three faculty members designated by Dean Kaloyeros. These discussions were productive. We understand more fully the aspirations of the SNN faculty and the concerns that have led them to desire a more autonomous governance structure. At the same time, the SNN representatives indicated their desire to participate fully as faculty members of the University at Albany and their recognition that there are some areas of university-wide concern for which it is appropriate to have standing committees representing faculty from all units.
The three EPC representatives are in agreement on the following points that we submit to EPC for consideration:
1. A unified governance system is critical to the integrity of the University and the ability of the faculty to carry out their responsibilities in the University’s decision making process. There is a need to balance individual Schools and Colleges’ desire for autonomy with recognition of the interdependence among all units.
2. Within a unified governance structure, there is much variation in the potential degree of functional autonomy of schools and colleges. We have looked closely at alternative models in which schools and colleges have considerably more control in areas such as graduate curriculum development and approval and promotion and tenure than is found in the current Albany system. There are good reasons to consider changes that would enhance autonomy in such areas for all Schools and Colleges at Albany, with different specific arrangements to allow for variations in size and complexity of the Schools and Colleges.
3. There are clear and simple procedures that can be followed in an expeditious way for making changes in the relative roles of school/college and University-wide governance bodies. Unlike the Bylaws, which require approval of the entire faculty, what is required to modify the structure of Senate governance is a change in the Charter, which can be effected through a Senate bill submitted to the Senate through the Executive Committee and circulated for three weeks in advance of a Senate meeting. The Senate Chair is prepared to schedule a meeting in May that would allow us to respect governance process and ensure time for discussion and reflection between now and then.
4. Changes in the Charter could be initiated by the President, by any College or School, or by members of the Senate. In the present situation, if the President recommends creation of a new College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, we would welcome specific proposals from the President regarding the ways in which we might alter the governance structure at the University by devolving certain activities, such as graduate curriculum and tenure and promotion, from Senate councils to the several Schools and Colleges at the University, including the newly established College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.
Professor McCaffrey then explained that the EPC representatives’ reasoning behind the report is that they did look at what other institutions are doing, listened to concerns of SNN faculty, and found that other universities do retain local autonomy over graduate curriculum development and approval and promotion and tenure. He emphasized that the report is not a proposal; it is for discussion purposes only. Professor Logan indicated that, in talking to SNN faculty, it was clear that they had strong ideas about their autonomy, but they had not yet thought through what their connection to University-wide Senate would be. However, according to Board of Trustees’ policies, the Chancellor’s statement, Senate Bylaws, and the Senate Charter, the only way in which the UAlbany governance structure can change is through an amendment process. While it may fall within the legal prerogative of external bodies to impose such a change, all of these documents stress consultation with faculty
Professor Pryse concluded by stressing that the principle that lies behind any discussion of a different governance structure for CNSE is that no unit on campus should be treated differently than any other unit; if one School or College is allowed functional autonomy in certain areas, then all Schools and Colleges should have the same rights and responsibilities; one aspect of unified governance structure is that all units operate within the same general rules and policies.
Provost Santiago reported that he has been asked by Interim President Ryan to make a proposal today on the topic of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. He will recommend continuing discussion and his proposal will entail the following: there will be a college; the questions are, will it be part of UAlbany, and how will it be part of UAlbany? He will report to Interim President Ryan that he has received input from both EPC representatives and SNN representatives on the subcommittee. He has received a resolution on the part of SNN faculty asking that the college be established within UAlbany with both autonomous administrative and academic governance. The government structure is described by faculty as “unified but distributed.” The Provost indicated that the following elements were essential for the CNSE to be part of the University at Albany:
The faculty of SNN have asked for autonomy in the following areas:
Some of these are not academic governance issues, such as personnel policy, which is dictated by the New York State Department of Civil Service and contractual obligations with UUP. Academic standing and appeal is addressed within the colleges and schools now. Academic judiciary can include research misconduct issues, but it is Provost Santiago’s stance that this should be overseen by a university-wide committee rather than an individual school or college. Academic planning and resource allocation relates to the function of EPC. Provost Santiago felt that there should be an overarching university-wide perspective in this area that would not be subject to an autonomous college/school structure. Faculty rights and responsibilities are not a governance issue and are addressed by the Faculty Handbook. Student life requires a campus–wide perspective.
In conclusion, Provost Santiago will probably recommend a degree of autonomy for the new School of Nanoscale Sciences and Engineering in the areas of curriculum and tenure and promotion. He then urges discussion with the Senate on overarching structures that deal with academic planning, research and academic judiciary. Provost Santiago stated that he agrees in principle with Chair Pryse that any school or college could be allowed to frame its own governance structure if it is approved for one academic unit. The college/school in question will need to establish its own bylaws, and the President has the authority to indicate the area(s) in which he sees some room for autonomy and those in which a more unified approach is preferable. This recommendation is not precisely what the CNSE faculty is seeking, but it is a sound compromise. Provost Santiago firmly believes SNN faculty do want the college to remain part of university and he will suggest that it do so.
Chair Wulfert reported that she understands from communication with Dean Kaloyeros that there is a desire to be autonomous in terms of curriculum and tenure and promotion, and that there seems to be no intention to develop an undergraduate curriculum in the future. She stated that she addressed specific issues with Dean Kaloyeros such as CAFE and CERS, and that he stated that his faculty will participate in Councils dealing with university-wide matters and be bound by CAFE and CERS.
When asked about the process by which bylaws are changed, Provost Santiago responded that he anticipates Interim President Ryan will propose moving toward the immediate creation of the college. Once it is determined how the college will be structured, the prospects of an autonomous governance will be discussed.
There was discussion on national oversight; particularly that currently there is not yet a national accrediting body for nanosciences. It was suggested that the quality of educational programming is very important and that, until a national accreditation process is developed, CNSE would benefit from oversight from the UAlbany campus. Provost Santiago noted that this implied a claim that faculty in a given School do not have the ability to make judgments and move their own curriculum forward. Chair Wulfert added that SNN does have a curriculum that was approved by the University Senate and the Department of Education. She noted that with time SNN probably will expand on the existing curriculum, but that the new college is not starting from the beginning; the original SNN curriculum was approved by the Senate and it had outside approval also, and it is open to discussion if and to what degree the later addition of graduate courses may require further approval.
Professor MacDonald noted that insult was not implied toward the Nanoscience curriculum any more than to the French or any department which is currently subject to review by GAC and that assessment and review were becoming increasingly important topics in modern universities. She also noted that Stony Brook does have university-wide curriculum and promotion committees to advise on policy issues. Provost Santiago agreed that assessment indeed is important. Therefore, CNSE will be reviewed like any other faculty group; he does not see them outside the assessment framework that is on campus. He also agreed that curriculum and promotion policy should be university-wide.
Regarding tenure and promotion, CPCA Chair Professor Spitze explained that CPCA plays a very important role in creating policy and procedures, and also in carrying out those roles and responsibilities. Provost Santiago agreed that there should be some overarching body like CPCA, and that there needs to be consistent policy across colleges and schools.
Provost Santiago explained that EPC has a sense of what his proposal will be to the President. He did use the EPC subcommittee’s document as he framed his recommendation while leaving open some doors for what SNN requests. Professor MacDonald asked whether the SNN proposal document had been given to EPC. Provost Santiago indicated that he would determine whether it could be distributed. Provost Santiago then had to leave the meeting.
Chair Wulfert proposed that EPC might discuss the proposal of the EPC subcommittee further to see if the Council could arrive at an agreement on the issues addressed in this proposal. She suggested that the Council might then create a document to make a specific proposal to the President and the Provost.
Professor Logan argued that the subcommittee has fulfilled its charge; it has met with SNN and reported back to EPC. The subcommittee report has aided Provost Santiago in his report to the President; there is no need for EPC to take any further action at this point because the subcommittee’s report indicates that the President should make a specific proposal to EPC on how the governance structure should be changed, if it were to be changed. He recommended that EPC wait for the President’s proposal. The Council agreed.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:10 p.m.
Jayne VanDenburgh, Recorder