Present: D. Armstrong, C. Bischoff, P. Bloniarz, H. Charalambous, R. Collier, D. Dewar, J. Doellefeld, K. Douglass, Jr., P. Duchesi, S. Faerman, J. Favata, S. Friedman, R. Gibson, F. Hauser, K. Hitchcock, J. Horney, H. Horton, R. Hoyt, R. Irving, S. B. Kim, A. Konev, B. Levine, S. Levine, S. Lubensky, A. Lyons, C. MacDonald, S. Maloney, D. McCaffrey, J. McNamara, J. Pipkin, M. Pryse, M. Range, R. Karl Rethemeyer, C. Santiago, K. Smith, G. Spitze, E. Turner, J. Uppal, E. Wulfert
Guests: Dean Alain Kaloyeros and Dean Joan Wick Pelletier
1. Approval of Minutes:
The November 4, 2002 Senate minutes were approved unanimously.
2. President's Report:
President Hitchcock reported that the December Commencement ceremony was a wonderful event - both enjoyable and dignified - and was appreciated greatly by both the graduates and their families. She offered her thanks to all faculty and staff who participated.
The Budget: The mid-year budget reduction is 5%, annualized to 2 ½%, or $1.5million. Literally, the SUNY campuses were notified of this on the Tuesday of Thanksgiving Week and given until the Monday after Thanksgiving to respond with the specifics of how each would save the money this fiscal year. Savings could not be made using reserve funds or one-time items, i.e., the savings had to be permanent reductions, and UAlbany responded by using some of the savings from lines vacated due to the retirement incentive program.
The greatest budgeting challenge is projected to come in 2003-2004, and difficult budgets are projected for several years after that. Governor Pataki is to submit his budget on January 30, but, if past history is a predictor, it may be late summer before a final budget is enacted. However, given all the information we have been receiving, UAlbany could receive a cut as large as $10 million in 2003-2004.
Even if there is a significant tuition increase, it may only cover some of the hole left by years of growing expenses and no tuition increases. There is a strong possibility that an increase in tuition would neither come close to covering all the projected decline in state support, nor give the University the funding it needs to move forward at the rate we had hoped to sustain.
All of this is extraordinarily troubling news, and we will be meeting continuously with the University Resources and Priorities Advisory Committee (URPAC) to consult and receive strategic recommendations.
Senator Hauser asked if there has been any clarification of the allegation that any raise in tuition would simply be met by a corresponding loss in state budget funds. President Hitchcock responded that that is simply one of many possible scenarios that are making the rounds.
President Hitchcock: At this point all I can respond is that my first priority is to preserve our academic mission and attempt to maintain our net increase in faculty numbers. I cannot tell you that we will be able to adhere to our original hiring plan, but we will do all that is possible to keep the momentum moving forward.
3. University Faculty Senate Report: There was no report.
4. Chair's Report:
The next Faculty Forum will be on faculty governance. Professor Pipkin asked that members and guests go to the Senate website to subscribe to the faculty governance (FACGOV) list, and to participate fully in discussions about faculty governance at the University.
Senator Reed Hoyt will be assuming the position of Chair of the Department
of Theatre, and thus must step down as Chair of the Undergraduate Academic Council,
with our thanks for his many, many hours of leadership and service in that role.
5. Council Reports:
a. CAFÉ: There was no report.
b. CPCA: Professor Spitze reported that CPCA continues to meet.
c. EPC: Professor Wulfert reported that EPC has been meeting and discussing primarily the relationship between the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of NanoSciences and NanoEngineering.
d. GAC: Professor MacDonald reported approval of the program in French dropping the Graduate Record Examination as an entrance requirement, and affirmed that graduate courses can be taught only by faculty holding the doctoral degree or the rank of Associate Professor or Professor. The GAC will have a proposal under New Business, today.
e. LISC: There was no report.
f. RES: There was no report.
g. UAC: There was no report.
h. ULC: Professor Smith reported that there has been a request for locker space for emeriti faculty to use as they pursue their continuing interests in faculty governance and their own intellectual activities.
6. Old Business:
Senator Horton expressed the concern that, while the last Faculty Forum was very good, it was held on only one of the University's three campuses, and that future Faculty Fora should be scheduled more often and on more campuses. Further, as a research University, it is most alarming to find the University at Albany listed as "Tier 3", when the other three SUNY centers are all rated at Tier 2. Faculty and administrators should be communicating and strategizing to raise that status to at least that comparable to our sister institutions.
7. New Business
Senate Bill 0203 - 03: Proposal to Establish Graduate Degree Programs (Ph.D. & M.S.) in NanoSciences and NanoEngineering:
The proposal came to the Senate forwarded by the Graduate Academic Council, and was seconded:
Department of Physics Chair Hassaram Bakhru spoke to the issue of cross-registered courses, stating that the faculties of both the Physics Department and the School of NanoSciences and NanoEngineering (SNN) have been working together to identify courses that may be cross-listed. Five such courses are being studied currently, and one has been identified for cross-registration.
Professor Howell requested that efforts similar to SNN should emphasized in the humanities, beginning with German.
Professor Pryse raised the question of the estimated number of students, versus the number of faculty; specifically, thirteen faculty for what appears to be a relatively small number of students.
Dean Kaloyeros responded that there will be approximately 13 faculty and 45 graduate students in SNN. All should be funded fully by research funds from the Institute for Materials. There is no intention to ask for any state-funded faculty lines.
Mr. Collier noted that, while biology and computer science are mentioned throughout the proposal, there is nothing specific about the students of those disciplines participating in SNN.
Dean Wick-Pelletier responded that it is expected that the presence of a strong School of NanoSciences and NanoEngineering will attract strong students in all the related sciences. Certainly there will be a SNN presence in the new Life Sciences Building, which will also be used as a "recruiting building" for highly qualified science students and faculty, and the SNN presence can only help. Similarly, Professor Block suggested that SNN programs should draw high school science faculty and students to Albany, and that these should help as very strong recruiting tools for better students from better high schools whose interests are in the sciences.
Professor Range expressed concerns about the lack of open discussion and consultation concerning the development of the School of Nanosciences and its curriculum proposal. He referred to recommendations formulated at a Sept. 2000 NSF sponsored workshop on Societal Implications of Nanosciences and Nanotechnology that call for broad discussions with all units and individuals potentially most affected. He stated that the timetable allowed for review of the curriculum proposal was unnecessarily rushed, especially since the new school had been established nearly two years ago. In particular, changes in various draft documents concerning cross-listing of courses suggest that there are a lot of unresolved issues between the new school and the Physics Department. Professor Range urged the Provost to use his office to monitor that the affected school and department are communicating properly.
Dean Kaloyeros countered that there were a series of discussions that started based on the most recent data from the evaluating agency, discussion groups, etc. Therefore, things do indeed change, but all in the manner of proper academic interchange.
Professor Armstrong stated that the upcoming budgets speak to a new complexity of funding faculty, and thus a new complexity of the University community, and this should be included in Professor Horton's request to expand the Faculty Fora.
Professor MacDonald asked if the proposed new school would harm the Physics Department? Specifically, if Physics faculty move to SNN, will their lines be replaced in Physics, and if Physics courses were cross-listed with SNN, would the Physics Department lose headcount?
Provost Santiago responded that cross-listed courses are quite common on campus. Generally, student FTE is assigned to the department of record. A cross-listed course appears with multiple departments identified and FTE is apportioned beforehand by agreement among participating units. The Provost went on to state that the expectation is that the SNN will draw students and faculty to the sciences at UAlbany, and that broadening the reputation of the sciences at UAlbany will benefit not just SNN, but all of the sciences at the University, and thus, the entire University.
The vote was taken, and the proposal passed by a substantial majority.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 4:50 PM.
Hayward D. Horton