September 30, 2002
Present: M. Amid, D. Armstrong, D. Bernnard, D. Biggs, C. Bischoff, P. Bloniarz, D. Brooks, C. Carr, H. Charalambous, N. Claiborne, R. Collier, J. Doellefeld, K. Douglass, Jr., B. Dudek, S. Faerman, R. Gibson, F. Hauser, A. Hebert, K. Hitchcock, J. Horney, H. Horton, R. Hoyt, R. Irving, T. Jones, S. B. Kim, N. Kizenko, A. Konev, C. Lawson, B. Levine, S. Levine, S. Lubensky, A. Lyons, C. MacDonald, S. Maloney, M. Martinez, D. McCaffrey, J. McNamara, C. Pearce, J. Pipkin, M. Pryse, M. Range, R. Karl Rethemeyer, C. Santiago, L. Schell, K. Smith, G. Spitze, E. Turner, J. Uppal, E. Wulfert
Guests: Professor Durand
Chair Pipkin called the meeting to order at 3:37 p.m. He welcomed all Senators to the new academic year.
1. Approval of Minutes
The May 6, 2002, Senate minutes for the 2001-02 and 2002-03 Senate were approved as amended.
2. President's Report
President Hitchcock welcomed Senators to the fall semester. She announced that she welcomed the new faculty at an event on Saturday. President Hitchcock then introduced and welcomed Julie Horney, Dean of Criminal Justice, and Joan Wick-Pelletier, Dean of Arts and Sciences. Receptions will be held in the coming weeks for the new deans as well as to mark the opening of the new Arts and Sciences building.
Vice President Christopher D'Elia has decided to resume a faculty role. There will be a thank you reception for him in October. The President then introduced and welcomed Peter Bloniarz as Interim Vice President for Research.
There are searches underway or soon to begin for the Vice President for Finance and Business, and the Vice President for Research, as well as for the Dean of Information Science and Policy, and the Dean of Education.
Applications for Fall 2002 are 4 percent above last year's levels. SAT scores and the cumulative high school average for the incoming freshman class are the same as for last year. The yield for Presidential Scholars is slightly less, although there is still a large number of new students with these high-achieving credentials. Albany has met its quality targets for incoming undergraduate students. Graduate admissions are up.
There is no significant news on the State budget and its implications for the campus. There remains a shortfall for the current year, which we are managing, of some $10 million. Some of this amount was covered through one-time reserve funds. The next fiscal year does not look good. We also need to watch for a possible mid-year reduction and a tuition increase.
The public announcement of the on-going Capital Campaign will be in April 2003.
Thanks to the leadership of Chancellor King, the retirement incentive program has been revised in a way that the University will be able to participate.
The new Arts and Sciences Building is open and is providing much needed capacity for expansion on the podium for the Arts and Sciences and for classrooms. The new Art Sculpture Studio is also open and will be dedicated over Homecoming Weekend. Construction on the Life Sciences Building is ahead of schedule. The State's Gen*NY*Sis program will provide funds for a new building on the East Campus. Efforts are also underway to rehab the downtown campus, beginning with Husted Hall.
This semester the University is providing overall coordination and offering several significant programs and events for a community-wide collaboration celebrating Albany Heritage, including the 350th anniversary of Beverywick, Albany's civic founding. The program has been instrumental in highlighting a number of areas of faculty interest and expertise, and in promoting closer relationships between the University and community groups.
Drawing on certain aspects of the Albany Heritage model, efforts have begun to work with faculty to offer a technology and humanities theme semester in the spring.
In January 2003, we expect some 250 scientists and staff to begin working here at the University at Albany in keeping with an agreement with International Sematech.
President Hitchcock urged Senators to read a handout concerning the recent incident involving off-campus students on Hudson Avenue. The incident involved unacceptable behavior. The ensuing publicity also ignored University sponsored and led efforts over the past dozen years to work proactively with off-campus students and neighborhood associations through mechanisms and a program that are recognized nationally as a model. The Neighborhood Association commented favorably on what the University has done. The University will continue to take seriously all such matters.
3. University Faculty Senate Report
Mr. Collier announced that the next plenary session is October 17-19 in Purchase. Discussion items include governance roles in budget panels, assessment of senior campus administrators, general education transfer issues, and why the GEAR group has approved only a small number of general education assessment plans from SUNY campuses.
4. Chair's Report
Chair Pipkin reported that there is an Executive Committee working group reviewing Council charges.
5. Council Reports
a. CPCA: Professor Spitze reported that CPCA had its first meeting.
b. EPC: Professor Wulfert reported the EPC set its agenda for the year. Professors Logan and McCaffrey will be the EPC representatives to URPAC.
c. GAC: Professor MacDonald reported that the subcommittees have business before them. GAC met in May to discuss the item under New Business.
d. UAC: Professor Hoyt noted that subcommittees are being formed. Legislation will be submitted to the Executive Committee shortly.
e. RES: Professor Dudek noted that RES had a conversation with the outgoing and incoming Vice Presidents for Research regarding the FRAP. RES also wishes to express concern that the Council lacks a member from the arts and/or the humanities.
f. LISC: Professor Duchessi reported the LISC discussed its agenda for the year.
g. CAFÉ: Professor Armstrong reported that there is no pressing business.
h. ULC: Dr. Carr reported for Professor Smith. ULC will meet soon.
6. Old Business
There was no Old Business.
7. New Business
a. Approval of 2002-03 Council Assignments. Chair Pipkin announced six additional Council assignments (four graduate students and two teaching faculty). The faculty members will be assigned to the appropriate Councils. Chair Pipkin asked the Faculty Council of Arts and Sciences for a recommendation to RES. He has not had a response. The 2002-03 Council assignments were moved, seconded and approved as amended.
b. Senate Bill No. 0203-01: Graduate Certificate in Autism. Professor MacDonald noted that this is a certificate and not a degree. Professor Durand was available for questions. There were no questions. The Bill was moved, seconded, and unanimously approved.
c. Senate Resolution 0203-01R. Professor Pipkin asked one of the sponsors to present the resolution. Professor Range explained that the resolution was distributed in the agenda packet and asked for support on behalf of the other two sponsors. He stated that the resolution is not about the substance of the School of Nanosciences or the plagiarism case, but rather about the procedures for consultation related to these matters. The purpose is to reaffirm general governance principles widely held to be essential to the effective operation of any university. Professor Range moved the resolution. The motion was seconded.
Extended discussion and debate followed. Professor MacDonald argued that the resolution embodied principles that surely everyone could support, and she urged Senators to vote in favor.
Professor McCaffrey expressed concern about the content in the resolution's rationale and questioned whether it were possible to vote "no" without objecting to the governance principles. He acknowledged that the resolution stems from important issues, but suggested that there are a variety of perspectives on the sequence of events described in the preamble. His concern is that a vote in favor may be construed as an endorsement of the language both before and following the resolution, and he did not know how to separate the two.
Professor Levine moved to amend the resolution document by deleting the four "Whereases". The motion was seconded.
In response to a question, Mr. Gibson explained that resolutions are normally distinguished from bills by the inclusion of whereas clauses. Therefore, if this language were deleted from the original motion, the resolution would become a bill.
Professor Range spoke against the amendment motion, arguing that it would eliminate a lot of important information. He urged that the statement remain intact and suggested that if all agree on the operative part of the resolution, those who are concerned about the substance of the explanatory text offer additions or revisions to improve its accuracy.
Professor Pryse expressed concern about those who are new to the Senate, and possibly the University, and asked for an explanation as to the timing of the resolution, noting that it sets a pre-emptive tone to this year's work. Why now and not last year? What are people who were not involved in or aware of last year's events to do?
Professor Range indicated that the sequence of events last spring and the press of other business did not leave any time to raise the issue at the last Senate meeting for the 2001-02 year, in May. Given the major concerns that some Senators had about the events, the matter was defined and presented at the first opportunity, the September 30 meeting. To assist that discussion the resolution document was prepared and circulated electronically to Senators in advance of the meeting. He and the other sponsors want simply to affirm principles for governance and consultation in the future and move on.
Professor Lubensky asked to hear other perspectives on the background to the resolution.
President Hitchcock stated that the facts as indicated in the preamble section are incomplete and misleading. They create the false impression of a lack of consultation regarding the School of Nanoscience and its programs when in fact extensive consultation has proceeded through EPC. Further, there was an open campus forum to discuss the plagiarism case, at which she and other campus administrators acknowledged errors and identified weaknesses in existing campus procedures. The University is moving forward on policy changes, working with the Senate to strengthen this critical aspect of the institution's integrity and operation.
Professor McCaffrey inquired about the status of the Background section if the four "Whereases" were deleted. Mr. Gibson indicated that the background section is for information only and not part of the final legislation of either a resolution or a bill.
Professor Kim spoke against the amendment, arguing that the Background section and the "Whereases" are required to provide a context for understanding the events that led to the resolution. The resolution without the "Whereases" would appear redundant in the record to anyone not present at the Senate meeting at which it was discussed.
Professor Armstrong stated that as a new senator she was not benefiting from the discussion of the events. She spoke further about the importance of relationships based on mutual trust and responsibility for the effective operation of the institution.
Provost Santiago stated that he was present at many of the meetings described in the background section involving consultation for the School of Nanosciences. He also indicated that Senate review involving the curriculum of the School of Nanosciences is an ongoing process. To this point, EPC has supported only a Letter of Intent. Discussions with EPC about the School began in November 2000, and continued through the Spring of 2002. The School's curriculum is being reviewed by the appropriate Senate bodies. He restated his support of shared governance.
Professor MacDonald reported that the curriculum has not been presented to GAC. The Provost clarified that he expects it to be presented this fall.
Dean Faerman suggested that there is a logic for separating the "Whereases" from the affirmative resolution, noting that the two sections are quite different in tone.
Professor Hoyt reported his recollection that the proposal for the new School originated in the Senate Executive Committee, and that it was perceived as more or less a "done deal" by the time EPC received the concept.
Professor McCaffrey recalled the sequence differently, noting that the School was discussed at several EPC meetings, and that Professor Bosco, at a full meeting of the Senate, gave a report about the deliberation and the ultimate favorable vote by the EPC.
Professor Kim recalled the history still differently, indicating that EPC was in general upset about the way the administration went about implementing the School.
The Provost provided further clarification. Following several EPC meetings, he informed the President that some faculty believed that a decision regarding the School had been reached prior to commencing consultation through governance. The President, at a meeting of the EPC, directed the consultation process back to its beginning in order to insure that all input would be factored into the decisions regarding the establishment of a new school. EPC continued their review and discussion in further meetings, as reflected in the EPC minutes throughout the period.
Professor Range expressed appreciation for the Provost's remarks and for what the President did to take the consultative process back to the beginning. He argued, however, that those actions do not alter the facts as outlined in the Whereas and Background sections of the resolution, which affirms that the consultation should begin early on.
Professor Lubensky expressed appreciation for the explanations by the Provost and the President and offered to work with her co-sponsors to try to formulate a more positive resolution should the current motion be tabled.
The previous question was moved, seconded, and passed. Professor Pipkin then called for a vote on the amendment (i.e., to delete the four "Whereases"). The motion was defeated (three in favor, the majority clearly opposed, one abstention).
Discussion then returned to the complete, unamended resolution.
Professor Dudek noted that the rationale is a kind of recapitulation and is needed only if the Senate believes there was a violation. He added that a designated Senate task force is already engaged and working to reshape applicable academic integrity policies and by-laws to bring them into alignment with practice at other major research universities. He sees the purpose of the motion, in part, as a vehicle to express displeasure, notwithstanding prior acknowledgements by senior administrators that mistakes were made. Professor Dudek suggested that individual senators have three options: if agitated, vote yes; if you have a sense that things are improving, vote no; or take the middle ground and table the resolution. In voting to table the resolution, a senator would be saying that there is no immediate reason to reaffirm the principles but there may be in the future when the facts on the debated points become clear and can be voted on. Professor Dudek then moved to table the resolution. The motion was seconded. Mr. Gibson noted that a motion to table is not debatable, and that if the motion passes, the resolution would remain on the agenda for the remainder of this meeting and the next meeting. Vote to Table: 12 in favor; 17 opposed. The motion to table was defeated.
Professor Kim called the question. There was a second. The vote on calling the question was more than two-thirds in favor (2 opposed). The motion passed.
There followed an immediate vote on the resolution, which was 17 in favor and 13 opposed. The motion carried.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 5 p.m.
Hayward D. Horton