University at Albany - State University of New York

2004-05 University Senate

Minutes of November 15, 2004



Present:          J.P. Abraham, J. Acker, J. Bartow, J. Berkowitz, D. Bernnard, R. Bromley,

S. Chaiken, N. Claiborne, R. Collier, R. Craig, D. Dai, D. Dewar, J. Doellefeld,

S. Faerman, R. Geer, R. Gibson, J. Hanifan, C. Hartman, R. Hoyt, V. Idone,

M. Jerison, G. Kamberelis, S.B. Kim, W. Lanford, R. Lawson, A. Lyons,

C. MacDonald,  J. Marler, G. Marschke, T. Maxwell, C. Merbler, S. Messner,

G. Moore, G. Paul, M. Pryse, R. M. Range, J. Razzano, H. Scheck,

L. Schell, M. Sherman, J. Stromer-Galley, S. Turner, J. Uppal, L. Videka,

D. Wagner, J. Wessman, J. Wick-Pelletier, S. Wood, E. Wulfert, R. Yagelski,

A. Zonder


Guests:           P. Bloniarz, W. Hedberg, S. Mahan, J. Neely



Minutes:         The minutes of October 25, 2004 were approved.



Chair’s Report - presented by Professor Carolyn MacDonald:

Professor MacDonald reminded the Senators of the next Presidential Search Candidate meeting.  There was a question about the difficulty in scheduling the candidates and Senators were asked to refer any questions pertaining to the Presidential Search to George Philip, Chair of the Search Committee and Chairman of the University Council.


Council Reports:

Governance Council (GOV), Professor Steven Messner, Chair:  The Council discussed recommendations from its Committee on Assessment of Governance and Consultation for revisions in the draft Mission Review II (MRII) document.  The Committee’s recommendations were approved by the Council along with a few additional changes proposed by Council members.  The recommendations will be transmitted to the Interim Provost.  In accordance with the resolution passed by the Senate earlier this year, a joint working group of representatives from the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) and the Governance Council has been meeting regularly to discuss the articulation between governance structures for CNSE and the University Senate.  The recently released report of the ad hoc University-wide Governance Committee has been helpful and the group discussions to date have been substantive, collegial and constructive.    


University Planning and Policy Council (UPC), Professor Marjorie Pryse, Chair:  Working through its subcommittee, RAPC, and in on-line discussion, UPC completed a series of Council recommendations for revisions to the MRII document.  The Council will in all likelihood be continuing to discuss the campus’ identity as an institution in subsequent meetings, focusing on how to describe the way UAlbany now combines its strengths in Arts and Sciences with its strengths in its professional schools.  The Council will also be discussing the Retention Task Force Recommendations submitted in 1999 by the then-Undergraduate Dean, John Pipkin, to then-Provost Judy Genshaft.  UPC has been asked to review the GEAR guidelines from SUNY and the draft of the UAlbany Institutional Assessment Plan being prepared by Assistant VP for Strategic Planning & Assessment Bruce Szelest in consultation with the Provost’s Assessment Advisory Committee. 

Undergraduate Academic Council (UAC), Professor Seth Chaiken, Chair:  UAC reported to the Executive Committee on the MRII document.  The Council is beginning to review the new GEAR proposal.


Graduate Academic Council (GAC), Professor Louise-Anne McNutt, Chair:  Assistant Dean Bartow reported for the Chair.  GAC has two bills on the agenda today:  Bill 0405-5, “Proposal to Establish a Graduate Certificate Program in Economic Forecasting” and Bill 0405-6, “Proposal to Establish an Inter-Institutional Dual Degree Program M.S. Bioethics.”


Council on Academic Assessment (CAA), Professor Malcolm Sherman, Chair:  CAA has created two committees.


Council on Research (COR), Professor Vincent Idone, Chair:  No report.


Council on Promotions and Continuing Appointments (CPCA), Professor Diane Dewar, Chair:  CPCA is looking at its role and scope in MRII and the Assessment Report, along with reviewing cases.  The Council scheduled a Promotion and Continuing Appointment forum for faculty on December 1, 2004.


Council on Libraries, Information Systems and Computing (LISC), Professor David Wagner, Chair:   At its last meeting, LISC considered the recommendations in the MRII draft as they relate to the Libraries and Information Technology.  Significant concern was expressed about the importance of providing resources to hire staff to support many of the initiatives outlined in the document.  A recommendation that the Senate include that concern in proposed revisions of the document was approved by the Council.


University Life Council (ULC), Professor Gwen Moore, Chair:  The Council has scheduled a Forum on University policy to suspend classes in recognition of the observance of religious holidays on Thursday, December 2, 2004 at 3:30 p.m. in the Terrace Lounge of the Campus Center.  In addition, the Council continues to review the issue of mandatory student health insurance coverage, the visitor parking fees issue and the campus emergency plan. 


Committee on Academic Freedom, Freedom of Expression, and Community Responsibility (CAFFECoR), Professor Lawrence Snyder, Chair:   No report.


Committee on Ethics in Research and Scholarship (CERS), Professor R. Michael Range, Chair:  The wealth of feedback on the Misconduct Report is very complicated; the Committee is working on it and will circulate a new revised draft well before the Senate meeting when it will come to a vote.





New Business:


Bill 0405-05:  Proposal to Establish a Graduate Certificate Program in Economic Forecasting:  The Bill was introduced by Assistant Dean Bartow on behalf of GAC.  The bill passed unanimously.


Bill 0405-06:  Proposal to Establish an Inter-Institutional Dual Degree Program M.S. Bioethics, Albany Medical College/The Graduate College of Union University with Ph.D. Philosophy, University at Albany, SUNY:  The Bill was introduced by Assistant Dean Bartow on behalf of GAC.  The bill passed unanimously.


Bill 0405-07:  Name Change for Latin American and Caribbean Studies:  The Bill was introduced by Professor Seth Chaiken on behalf of UAC.   Discussion on the Bill included the inquiry of Professor Pryse regarding adding an “/a” after Latino to recognize that Latina writers are not being excluded.  Professor Wessman from LACS was present and did comment that Professor Pryse’s suggestion was worthy but indicated that the use of Latino was not gender specific in this context.    Professor Wessman will take the discussion back to the Department at its next Department meeting.  The bill passed with no opposition and three abstentions.


Ad hoc University-wide Governance Committee, Professor James Acker, Chair:  The Committee released its draft report ten days ago.  The Committee members were not able to function in a representative capacity with their colleagues and home units over the summer, thus the Committee will benefit from discussion/comments from its constituents in finalizing the report.  The Committee plans to collect feedback by December 3, 2004 and will meet to discuss and revise the report.  A completed report should be released by mid-December.  The Senate will have an opportunity to discuss it early in the spring semester. 


Discussion on the Recommendations to the Provost’s Office on the MRII Document:

A series of recommendations to be made by the Senate on Mission Review were proposed at a meeting of the chairs of the Senate councils and the Senate officers.  (The amended document follows). It was moved to forward these recommendations to the Provost’s Office.  Five amendments to these recommendations were proposed.  The first two softened the wording of the first paragraph to avoid any confrontational tone, and were accepted as friendly amendments.  The third, to clarify section II. A.1, was proposed, seconded and passed. 


A motion to delete Sections G, I, and J of Section II was moved and seconded.  There was lengthy discussion on this proposed amendment.  The motion was defeated.


A motion was made to postpone the discussion on the Mission Review II recommendations to another meeting of the Senate because of the lateness of the current meeting.  The motion was defeated, the discussion continued.


A motion was made to strike a proposed addition of the word “possible” in reference to the proposed Honor’s college, to avoid an appearance of lack of vision. This matter was discussed and the motion was passed.


A motion was made to vote on the amended recommendations.  The recommendations with the above amendments were approved unanimously and will be submitted to the Provost’s Office.



Recommendations to the Mission Review Draft Guidance Document from the University Senate


I.  A Question

The primary stated 2005-2010 objective, on page 6, is "the University's goal to become a member of the Associate of American Universities (AAU)."   This is a research university, and it is recognized that it is desirable to continue the university's upward trajectory of research funding and scholarly impact.  However, it is not necessarily clear to the university community the benefits, ramifications, and appropriateness of pursuing AAU membership for its own sake.


II. General Recommendations

A. Three additional goals are recommended for the section of page 5 and 6.


1.      Redress the erosion in faculty size that has occurred in the foundational academic areas such as the humanities, arts, and social and natural sciences as well as in the professional areas.  Specifically, target a substantial fraction of new faculty hires in these areas to support the research, undergraduate teaching, and general education programs of the university.


2.      Enhance the quality of student life by improving the intellectual and physical environment, including particular attention to advisement, course size and availability, food services, and recreation and living spaces.


3.      Ensure the realization of improvements in teaching, learning and research infrastructure by providing sufficient staffing to support campus initiatives requiring IT, library and faculty development, such as on-line learning course objectives.


B. Rephrase the following goals on pages 5 and 6:


4.      "Increase external funding for the research program of the University, building on the substantial gains of recent years"


5.      "Rehabilitate and expand physical facilities and the information technology infrastructure, primarily in support of excellence in the teaching, research, and service missions of the University to the level required to ensure a high-quality undergraduate and graduate educational experience and also to capitalize on emerging opportunities in such areas as nanoscale sciences, information sciences, life sciences, social sciences and business and accounting."


C. In the section on "Faculty Recruitment and Retention" on page 16, rephrase the first two paragraphs:


1.       Although fFaculty recruitment will continue to be given the highest priority for resource allocation, particularly in redressing the erosion of foundational areas.  In addition some the preponderance of new faculty positions will likely be supported via specially targeted investments from New York State and from private sector partners, in the same way that growth in public health and in nanoscale science and engineering is already being financed.



2.       Retention of accomplished faculty is a priority, as well.  We recognize the importance of developing the intellectual environment of the university to this end.  Concerted efforts are made to retain faculty, including investments in the physical environment--offices teaching spaces, research laboratories--and services, equipment assets and networks to enhance the University's research and teaching infrastructure.  The campus is vigilant in identifying and responding to faculty who are at risk of leaving and is serious (and in most cases successful)also strives to be competitive in responding with counter-offers to faculty who are being recruited to other current or aspirational peer institutions while attempting to avoid developing systemic inequities.  Nevertheless, in 2004, the University lost three distinguished faculty to other institutions.


D.     In the section on sponsored research on page 17, “Continued growth of 7 percent a year in externally funded research through the Research Foundation…”  Caution is urged in maintaining benchmarks at the expense of faculty strength in poorly funded areas.


E.      In reference to the section on sponsored research, below the table on page 19, caution is recommended in hiring faculty on soft money lines, and instead that a priority for soft money should be an increase in the level of graduate student and postdoctoral support.



F.      In the section on Academic Program Directions on page 23, rephrasing the second paragraphs:


1.       "Without questionA recent the major development in the University's academic program in recent years has been the evolution of materials science into the world's first college of Nanoscale Science and Engineering"


G.     In the Undergraduate Program Directions on page 23 it is stated that "As many as 1,000 students may be enrolled in "IT-intensive" undergraduate programs by 2010.  As the informatics initiative grows, it is anticipated that the number of joint informatics discipline-based faculty lines will number 25 to 35 by 2010." These numbers seem inflated given flat state resources and undergraduate enrollments and it is recommended that they be dropped.


H.     In the Technology section on page 49, it is recommended that the major goals include adequate staffing.


I.        In the Facilities section, changing "the University envisions development of an Information Technology Research Building," to "the University will begin considering the possibility of developing an…"


J.       On page 55 change "top priories continue to be" to "additional facilities under consideration are" with respect to new facilities such as a new school of business building, a new information technology research building, and new athletic facilities.


K.    On page 76, Appendix B, change the College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate enrollment target as rising from the 2004 actual/planned enrollment of 4887/4973 to a 2010 plan of 5000 instead of decreasing to the stated planned value of 4741 in 2005.  Change the total undergraduate enrollment to 11800 (instead of 11409 current/11704 planned) and decrease the unclassed undergraduate to 4281 (instead of 4474 /current 4444 planned).




Respectfully submitted,

Jayne VanDenburgh, Recorder