Ad Hoc University-Wide Governance Committee
Present: J. Acker, R. Bangert-Drowns, J. Bartow, B. Carlson, P. Eppard, M. Fogelman,
R. Geer, T. Hoff, J. Pipkin, L. Schell, G. Singh, J. Wyckoff
Discussion on a motion regarding Committee timetable and release of report:
Discussion ensued about the Committee’s timetable for the
completion and release of its draft report.
This discussion was conducted in anticipation of the University Senate
meeting scheduled for Oct. 4 and in light of Senate Chair MacDonald’s
indication that she had hoped to distribute the committee’s draft report prior
to that meeting. Professor MacDonald had
further indicated that the proposed Bylaws of the
There was discussion about whether the committee’s initial report might be completed by November 1. One Committee member suggested that a November 1 submission date might be feasible for a draft report, yet emphasized that consultation with faculty is an important part of the process of developing a final report. The committee has assumed from the outset that a draft report will be shared with faculty, staff, the administration, and students for review and comment. Another Committee member suggested that the committee’s voting on a specific motion would be the best way of communicating with the Senate. The Committee members present agreed to begin discussing the Research Subcommittee report and table the discussion on the draft motion until later in the meeting, when other committee members were expected to be present and at which time the committee would be in a better position to estimate how much time might be needed to complete a draft report.
Discussion on Research issues:
Professor Wyckoff reviewed the five areas that the Research Subcommittee considered: (1) compliance and conduct, (2) indirect cost return, (3) research awards (funding), (4) centers and institutes, and (5) excellence awards. He reported that, in short, the Subcommittee believes that the status quo should be preserved with respect to faculty governance in these areas of research. The subcommittee is recommending no changes in current procedures although it encourages consideration of stronger policies surrounding potential conflicts of interest in research endeavors.
In considering faculty governance issues pertaining to
research centers and institutes, the Subcommittee examined policies at several
universities including SUNY Binghamton and the
Discussion then turned to FRAP A and FRAP B awards. FRAP A awards are made at the University level, and FRAP B awards are distributed at the School or College level. Approximately $100,000 has been made available annually to support the FRAP A awards, while approximately $70,000 has been distributed to Schools and Colleges so that they can make FRAP B awards. It was pointed out that if FRAP A funds were distributed to local units instead of managed centrally, and if the distribution were on a prorated basis, smaller units would not receive large sums of money. It also was pointed out that maintaining central distribution of FRAP A funds would enhance the potential for interdisciplinary research to be supported. In addition, FRAP A awards can be used to support the best proposals, which may not be distributed evenly among units. On balance, allowing some awards to be distributed by the University and others to be distributed by local units appeared to be sensible.
Discussion then turned to compliance issues. The subcommittee recommended that research
compliance remain at the University level, and encouraged stronger campus-wide
policies regarding conflict of interest matters. The Subcommittee examined oversight of
conflict of interest in research at the
Following additional discussion, the Committee voted on several motions pertaining to research issues, as follows:
1. The University should retain campus-wide governance in matters of research compliance and conduct. The University Senate is urged to give increased consideration to issues involving conflict of interest in research including mechanisms for reviewing potential conflicts of interest. (This motion passed by vote of 12-0-0.)
2. University Senate Charter section SX.5.3. should be reaffirmed with inclusion of the following (bolded) provision: “The Council as a whole shall regularly review research activities and the allocation of research funds, including Indirect Cost Return, within the University. It shall consider the relationship between teaching and research. The Council shall oversee policy on University research, including that described in the University policy on Organized Research Units. It shall make policy recommendations to the Senate.” (This motion passed 11 yes-0 no-1 abstention.)
3. With respect to matters including the allocation of research awards, benevolence association grants, and conference and journal support, University Senate Charter section SX.5.6. should be reaffirmed in its entirety. (SX.5.6. provides: “The Council shall conduct or participate in the review of applications to internal campus research support mechanisms. It may do so by the creation of ad hoc committees that include expertise from faculty who are not members of the Council.”) (This motion passed 11-0-0.)
4. The role for the Council on Research, through its Committee on Centers, Institutes and Specialized Research Laboratories, as codified in University Senate Charter section S.X.5.8. should be reaffirmed and endorsed. (SX.5.8. provides:
SX.5.8. The Committee on Centers, Institutes and Specialized Research Laboratories
SX.5.8.1. The committee shall include a minimum of four Council members.
SX.5.8.2. The committee shall be responsible for guiding Council actions as charged by the University Policy on Organized Research Units.
SX.5.8.3. The chair of the committee shall be designated by the Council.
(This motion passed 10 yes-0 no-1 abstention.)
5. The present University-wide structure regarding procedures relevant to excellence in research awards should be retained as provided in University Senate Charter section SX.5.7. (SX.5.7. provides: “The Council shall conduct or participate in the processes by which campus or SUNY excellence in research award nominations are made. It shall determine the appropriate review process for each award category and may create ad hoc and expert review committees that include faculty who are not members of the Council.”) (This motion passed 10-0-0.)
Continued discussion on Committee timetable and release of report:
Discussion resumed regarding a timetable for completion of the Committee’s draft report. It was agreed that the tenure and promotion report is progressing well and that there is a great deal of consensus on research issues. It was estimated that an additional two to three weeks may be required to discuss graduate curriculum and academic standing. The next Senate meeting is scheduled for October 25th and it was suggested that the draft report might feasibly be concluded by then. However, it was pointed out that the draft report must be distributed to faculty and other constituencies, and to the administration, for review and comment. Discussion ensued about mechanisms for distributing the draft report. The consensus appeared to be that once the draft report is released, it should be considered a public document and distributed as widely and efficiently as possible. Accordingly, it appeared advantageous to enlist the assistance of the Senate website for distributing the draft report, at the same time the report is released for discussion with committee members’ constituencies. It was suggested that an announcement be made at the October 25th Senate meeting that a draft report will be available on the Senate web site not later than November 1st, which would allow for review of the report and later discussion at the November 15th Senate meeting. It was emphasized that the report will be a draft report, and that the committee anticipates and expects that the draft report will serve as the basis for discussion and comment prior to the preparation of a final report.
A motion was made to communicate to the Senate regarding the Committee’s timetable and release of its report. The motion was seconded. Nine members were present for vote on the motion, which passed seven to two. The motion is as follows:
The Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Governance requests an extension of its work beyond October 1, so that we may conclude our business in as diligent and complete a manner as possible, pursuant to our stated charge. We ask for an extension to, at the latest, November 1, for submission of our draft of the final report to the University Senate. We consider our work to be independent of current Senate review of CNSE bylaws and charter, for several reasons. First, our charge implies separateness from existing events involving CNSE and the larger University. Second, our charge is focused on future states for the entire University, and all schools and colleges comprising it, as opposed to a single school or college. Third, we feel it is more advantageous to present for public consumption a draft of the report
in its entirety. Finally, we are concerned that the draft of the final Ad Hoc Committee report, and the deliberations reflected therein, be viewed as objectively as possible by the entire faculty body of the University. This will allow it to serve as a springboard for subsequent debate and dialogue around future models of faculty governance within the University.
We recognize that the Senate is interested in guidance and feedback. Yet, the seriousness and completeness with which Ad Hoc Committee members have engaged governance issues within each of the areas of research, curriculum, and promotion/tenure over these past few months preclude finishing this work in a rushed or incomplete manner. Therefore, the Committee asks the Senate for consideration in this regard.
Ad Hoc University-Wide Governance Committee*
(*Note: 9 members were present for vote on motion, which passed 7-2)