Council on Research Meeting
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
9:30 – 11:30 CC – 364
Members present: E. Brière, N. Carroll, J. Castracane, E. Dorch, V. Idone, D. Lewis, R. Perez, L. Schell, M. Stessin, L. Videka, W. Weller, S. Wood. Absent: I. Davidson, C. Frye, R. Sanders
Also attending: Theresa Walker, Assistant Vice President for Research and Staff Support for the Committee on Centers, Institutes and Specialized Laboratories
The meeting was called to order by Chair, Vince Idone at 9:35
Approval of Minutes of October 20, 2004 Meeting
Minutes were approved with one correction – page 2, under External Funding, first sentence of the third paragraph, change the word "lost" to "loss".
David Lewis reported that based on the level of funding, the Benevolent committee decided to award 90% of each of the top 7 finalists request and the remaining amount to the 8th finalist. The recommendations were accepted by Council and will be forwarded to the Vice President for Research.
FRAP A applications are due to the Vice President for Research on November 29; the committee will meet shortly thereafter.
Larry Schell asked if the CAS ranking and reviews will be taken into consideration when determining FRAP awardees.
Since it is very important that CAS committee work not be ignored, it was suggested that this year’s review of FRAP A’s be used as a pilot to compare the two committees’ rankings and reviews, and any problems should be forwarded to the Council for further discussion and a resolution.
Theresa Walker, Assistant VP for Research, was introduced. She will be providing the staff support for this committee
In his absence, David Wagner submitted a written report. Interim Vice President Videka noted that she and David will review the policy approval mechanism.
In the absence of John Welch, Chair, Nan Carroll reported that the committee met once to resume discussion of two outstanding issues: Diversity and Affirmative Action and Office for Sponsored Programs. Some of the affirmative action issues include:
a. Hiring process (cumbersome and not very timely).
b. Personnel named in grants – does this preclude a search?
c. Is a search required when percent of effort is increased from part-time to full-time.
d. The scale and scope of advertisements for which there is no budget.
Interim Vice President for Research Report
The Research Division’s budget reduction scenarios have been completed and submitted to the President. The reductions were based on the principle that there would be no layoffs. The ability of some of the larger centers reporting to the Vice President to find other sources of funds was also considered. Reductions in the Vice President’s budget will mean less funding for graduate student support.
Although an announcement is forthcoming, Interim Vice President Videka assured the Council that she and the Vice President for Finance and Business are planning a smooth transition, just as when the former compliance administrator left the University. The IRB transition has been very smooth under the leadership of Adrienne Bonilla, Director of Research Compliance and Peter Johnston, Chair of the IRB.
A search will soon be launched for the Associate Vice President for Research position. The successful candidate will be someone who will perform a dual function of providing leadership for the Office for Sponsored Programs, and carrying out research development activities across the campus. The ad will be circulated to the Council on Research members.
Interim Vice President Videka hopes to initiate discussions on the topic of enhancing the research infrastructure on this campus. Although this is very preliminary, the idea is to reinvest the increased productivity into the research enterprise. Council will hear more about this as plans are developed.
It was suggested that the discussions should include how to increase support for graduate assistants and teaching assistants across departments.
Seed funding will be used to hire a director of the Northeast Regional Forensic Institute (NERFI) for two years, after which the Institute should be self sufficient. Mark Dale, Director, New York City Police Department Laboratory, is expected to fill the position temporarily. He has the expertise and national reputation needed to get the Institute started.
COR Chair Report from University Senate
COR Chair Idone reported that two issues pertaining to the Mission Review were discussed at the University Senate meeting:
Several questions were raised regarding AAU: What is the importance or benefit to the University to be a member of AAU? Is this something to which we should aspire? Are we expending resources that could be used elsewhere?
The Senate is requesting a response from the University upper level administrative staff to the questions raised; however, it was generally felt among COR members that perhaps membership in AAU is a recognition of increased status, which may be helpful when recruiting faculty and upper level administrators.
The major focus of this discussion was the Mission Review’s reference to 25-35 hires over the next five (5) years in IT Commons. Information technology related areas that can be shared will be hired across the departments and the hire will be in both the department and in IT Commons. Although this may help to break down interdisciplinary barriers, it is a significant number of hires.
Discussion points included:
a. What impact does this have on tenure and promotion? Will faculty select their home department and receive tenure from that department? Is this different from faculty who currently have joint appointments?
b. Will this model enhance research on campus?
c. Twenty five (25) to thirty five (35) hires may be unbalanced, particularly as it relates to faculty resource allocations. A balance between hires in the department and IT Commons hires needs to be maintained.
It was suggested that Peter Bloniarz is spearheading this model, and we should invite him to a future meeting. Council on Research comments should be forwarded to the Interim Vice President for Research by the end of December.
ACTION ITEM: Invite Peter Bloniarz, Dean of Information Science and Technology and Associate Provost, to the December 15 COR meeting.
Another issue related to the Mission Review discussion is that graduate student stipends are not competitive; therefore, it is difficult to attract the best students.
a. A partial resolution is to include larger stipends into grants or non-state resources; although this is not allowable unless the student is performing a specific job.
b. Apply for training grants.
c. Include health insurance as an incentive, as the University’s standard health benefits package is not adequate.
Richard Perez raised the question of how UAlbany can obtain its own earmark of funds from federal agencies. It was suggested that the contact for such issues is Vince Delio, Associate Vice President for Outreach. In addition to the lobbying for earmarks that Vince Delio does, Interim Vice President Videka noted that federal lobbyists are available through the central office of the Research Foundation. We should, perhaps, get more work to them.
New Business – None
Meeting adjourned at 11:15