Ad hoc University-wide Governance Committee
June 7, 2004
Present: J. Acker, R. Bangert-Drowns, J. Bartow, P. Eppard, M. Fogelman, R. Geer
T. Hoff, J. Pipkin, L. Schell, G. Singh, J. Wyckoff, B. Via
Guest: Senate Chair Professor M. Pryse
Professor Acker distributed several documents relevant to the committee’s charge, including a copy of the Senate Bill introduced by EPC and passed on May 3, 2004 pertaining to the formation and business of the Ad Hoc University-Wide Governance Committee; relevant provisions of the University at Albany Faculty Bylaws; and a summary description of the Councils and Committees of the University Senate. Senate Chair Pryse reviewed the charge of the committee, noting that it came to the Senate as a motion from EPC. She distributed a copy of a Memorandum dated April 28, 2004 from Interim President Ryan to Edelgard Wulfert, Chair of EPC. That Memorandum included portions of a SUNY Board of Trustees resolution relevant to the formation of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, including a provision resolving that “an autonomous faculty governance structure be created for” the College. The Memorandum further included Interim President Ryan’s request for “autonomy in academic governance for the new College in the following areas: curriculum (Graduate Academic Council); academic standing and appeal (Graduate Academic Council but largely internal to the College); tenure and promotion (Council on Promotions and Continuing Appointment); [and] research (Council on Research).” The May 3 Senate Bill and Interim President Ryan’s April 28 Memorandum followed earlier events and discussions. For example, on March 15, 2004, after discussions with the Provost and EPC, the Senate passed a resolution supporting unified governance. A subcommittee made up of three members of EPC and three members of the School of NanoSciences and NanoEngineering was formed to discuss what the new college wanted in terms of its autonomous governance and how it would fit in with the University’s existing governance structure. (Subcommittee members were Professors John Logan, David McCaffrey and Marjorie Pryse representing EPC and Professors Robert Geer, Pradeep Haldar and James Castracane representing SNN.)
Professor Pryse explained that this committee is not charged with examining the development of the new College or its bylaws. Creation of the College with the accompanying calls for the College’s autonomy raises more general issues throughout the University. The committee is expected to consider issues relating to the interaction of the University Senate governance structure with the faculty governance structures of the individual schools and colleges in areas including tenure and promotion, graduate academic curriculum, and research at the University. The charge is to think about the current practices of the University with respect to these areas, to explore consequences of any changes that might occur, and to form recommendations.
The question of how significant Stony Brook’s governance structure should be as the model for deliberations within this committee’s discussion was raised. Professor Pryse suggested the committee invite Professor Wulfert to report about Stony Brook since she has done research on it and has spoken to the provost there. It was agreed among group members that they should explore in more detail how autonomous the units are at Stony Brook and also to look beyond the SUNY system at other state research universities.
Framework for future proceedings:
Professor Acker asked how the committee would like to proceed. He suggested dividing into subcommittees to research tenure and promotion, graduate academic curriculum and academic standing, and research issues both at this institution and peer institutions and having the subcommittees report to the committee after that information had been collected. This and other proposals were discussed and it was agreed that the committee would first learn more about UAlbany’s policies on these matters. This would best be accomplished by inviting the outgoing Chairs of the three councils, GAC, CPCA and RES to future meetings for a better understanding of each council’s policies. In anticipation of the committee’s next meeting, committee members were to consult with their own schools/colleges to gather information about practices with respect to tenure and promotion, graduate academic curriculum and academic standing, and research so they can report to the committee and be prepared to discuss related issues with the invited Council chairs.
It was decided that the committee would plan to meet weekly throughout the summer on Wednesdays at 3:00-5:00, although scheduled meetings that are not needed will be cancelled as appropriate. There was a proposal by Professor Schell for sending alternates to meetings if a member could not make a meeting. The proposal was accepted with all agreeing that the alternate should be fully informed of the committee’s progress and prior discussions.
The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 16, 2004 at 3:00 at a site to be determined.