University Senate
Executive Committee
Minutes of the Meeting of October 13, 2003

Present: D. Armstrong, H. Charalambous, R. Collier, B. Dudek, A. Lyons,
C. MacDonald, G. Moore, J. Pipkin, M. Pryse (Chair), C. Santiago, J. Savitt, G. Spitze,
L. Videka, D. Wagner, R. Farrell (Staff)

Approval of Minutes: The minutes of September 8, 2003 were unamiously approved.

President's Report: Presented by Provost Carlos Santiago.

      The Provost reported that there is no substantive news on the budget at this time. Moreover, no action has been taken on SUNY's second Capital Construction Plan. Typically there is a six-month lag time between the appropriation and the receipt of these funds. Therefore, there is some concern that the delay in approving the Capital Construction Plan may delay the opening of the new Life Sciences Building because the request for the furnishings, fixtures, and equipment, are part of the plan. This may mean that the occupancy of the building will be stretched out longer than we anticipated.

      The Provost was delighted to announce that Professor Lydia Davis is a recipient of a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. Professor Davis joins William Kennedy as the only other MacArthur Fellow at the University at Albany.

      The Deans met on 10/04/03 to initiative discussions regarding the 2003-2004 faculty hiring plan. While 34 full-time faculty were hired beginning the 03-04 academic year, the campus lost 50 faculty (including lecturers and visiting faculty) to retirements, resignations, and non-renewals. The retirement incentive program was a major contributor to this state of affairs. Nonetheless, between 1997-98 and 2003-04 the net growth of full-time faculty is fifty.

      URPAC will be convened soon, and the Provost requested that the Executive Committee select a representative to that body. (It did so, choosing Professor and Senate Secretary Andi Lyons.) The two EPC representatives to URPAC will be Professors John Logan and Timothy Hoff.

      The University experienced its first on-campus student suicide in 30 years last month, and all possible support has been made available to the students who were affected by this tragedy.

      The revenue from grants and research expenditures is at an all-time high of $120 million with the School of NanoSciences and NanoEngineering contributing $60 million to that total.

      While the admissions quantity and quality indicators are very strong at all levels, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with System Administration has expired, along with $1.5 million in College Scholar monies for this campus, and it will be very challenging to keep up the same level of recruitment activity if these funds are not replaced.

Chair's Report: Professor Marjorie Pryse.

      Chair Pryse requested that GAC Chair Charalambous bring up her issue of posting draft minutes of GAC minutes to the Senate website. Professor Charalambous requested authority to do so, repeating the request of her council members that doing so would allow them time to work on the draft minutes before the actual council meeting, and thus stop the wasting of valuable meeting time while the members worked on what has been, in essence, a first draft. After some discussion, it was agreed that this was a meritorious idea, but that the draft minutes be labeled something like "Chair's Summary" or "Chair's Notes" to avoid any possibility of giving credibility to what would truly be an unofficial, unapproved, but published draft. The same was agreed to for the minutes of the meetings of committees of councils.

      Chair Pryse requested further that all council chairs contact their student members and attempt to ensure that council and committee meetings are scheduled at a time when the students can attend. Further, Chair Pryse will contact both SA and GSO about the students who are listed as representatives on more than one council, but who do not seem to be attending all the meetings.

      The issue of absentee senators, i.e., elected or appointed senators who, for whatever reasons, are not attending their council and/or the Senate meetings was raised. It was determined that members of the Executive Committee who knew these senators personally would approach them and either encourage them to renew their attendance or to step aside and let their places be filled by colleagues with schedules that allowed them to attend meetings and attend to the affairs of the Senate and its related governance bodies.

      Chair Pryse also announced that Professor Wulfert and EPC had been working with the Provost, and that the Provost's Office is about to release a report based on seven years of data that would demonstrate where faculty and staff lines that opened in academic units due to resignations and retirements flowed back into which specific academic units.

Council Reports:

CAFE Professor Donna Armstrong:

      Professor Armstrong raised the question about how an interdisciplinary faculty group, in this case "SUNY Albany Peace and Justice," can become recognized formally as an officially recognized group, and thus be qualified to reserve meeting space, have a web account, and gain the other benefits of an official organization. The Provost responded that there are three means by which any group can be recognized: 1) be sponsored by Student Association, 2) be sponsored by an academic unit, and 3) be sponsored by an administrative unit.

      When asked again how a group that is interdisciplinary is officially recognized, the answer was again that it must be sponsored by some existing unit.

       Professor Armstrong responded that the issue will be on the agenda of the next Senate meeting. Professor Dudek suggested that it would be helpful if the proposal explained what "SUNY Albany Peace and Justice" is, and Professor Lyons suggested that the use of the term "University at Albany" rather than "SUNY Albany" should also be explained. Professor Armstrong responded that the term "SUNY" was chosen because there may be an interest in similar groups forming on other SUNY campuses.

ULC - Professor Gwen Moore:

      ULC, along with GAC will invite Vice President James Doellefeld to address the memberships on the issues of the decrease in staff in the Office of Career Planning and Placement that followed last year's reaction to the drop in the state economy.

      The Council reviewed the memorandum from Associate Vice President Carl Martin concerning the regulations governing the size of posters and displays on campus. ULC will review this issue further with CAFE, and then probably meet with Mr. Martin.

      One member of ULC, concerned with pedestrian and cyclist safety, noted that a member of the Transportation Safety Board is to be a member of ULC, but could not find the Transportation Safety Board as a standing unit of the University. He will be directed to Michelle DiDonna, Director of Transportation and Parking.

CPCA - Distinguished Service Professor Glenna Spitze:

      There was no report.

EPC - Professor Edelgard Wulfert:

      Professor Wulfert was unable to attend.

GAC - Professor Hara Charalambous:

      The Curriculum and Instruction Committee has passed two curricular changes in the MBA program, and has passed a resolution allowing the digital transmission of doctoral and master's theses. It will study the latter matter more thoroughly for the logistical issues before presenting the resolution to the Senate.

      There is also agreement reached for the Certificate Program in Public Health.

UAC - Dr. Joan Savitt:

      UAC has been meeting weekly. Bill 0304-04 is presented today. It makes consistent the final withdrawal date of those with less than a 2.00 GPA withdrawing from the semester with those with a 2.00 or higher.

      Bill 0304-05 is also presented today, and is a minor change which makes the description of what the University is doing in the General Education Program consistent with what the University says it is doing.

      Bill 0304-06 is presented today, and gives the Dean of Undergraduate Studies the authority to state that individual students' reasons for absence from classes were reasonable, and asks professors to not penalize them for missed exams or other class activities.

RES - Professor Lynn Videka:

      RES is reviewing and creating the procedures for policy for the Internal Review Board (IRB) for the protection of Human Subjects in Research. There is a history of good communication with the research community. The Subcommittee wishes to look at the issues beforehand and create a set of guidelines, while preserving the independence of the researchers.

      RES met with EPC Chair Wulfert to coordinate with that Council's agenda to review the research centers. The Research Council will meet again on 10/22.

LISC - Professor David Wagner:

      LISC has reviewed the concept of DHCP, but has tabled further discussion until Chief Information Officer Haile's staff has had the opportunity to review it and discuss it with the Council.

      The Council is also discussing the issues involved with student downloading of music, movies, games, etc., and will be discussing the issues further with University legal counsel John Reilly.

CAFE- Professor Donna Armstrong:

      The Council has looked at the issues concerning 1) a consistent policy on the distributions of newspapers on campus, 2) what a faculty club might look like, 3) guidance on the issues of free speech (with assistance from University legal counsel John Reilly), and, 4) implications of the Patriot Act.

Bylaws Group - Senate Chair-elect Carolyn MacDonald:

      Senate Chair-elect Carolyn MacDonald announced that the next Senate meeting will deal with the proposed revisions to the Faculty Bylaws and the Senate Charter. All related materials are on the Senate website.

University Wide Faculty Senate Report:

      SUNY Senator Richard Collier reported on the Chancellor's Value-Added Proposal, now in its ninth draft. The stance of the SUNY Senate is that it will continue to oppose this proposal in any iteration.

New Business:

    Chair Marjorie Pryse presented a copy of a letter from Dean of the School of Public Health Peter Levin, proposing to merge the departments of Epidemiology and Biometry and Statistics. The letter will be forwarded to the Educational Policy Council.

Respectfully submitted,

Richard J. Farrell