Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University

Faculty Meeting of March 4th 2010




1.      Report from the president

a.       Space and resources

                                                               i.      NW corner building a reality

                                                             ii.      Manhattanville – rezoned, final stages of eminent domain (court ruled in against the state (CU) – now on appeal). The case as a complete surprise.  Optimistic that the decision will be reversed.  Two parties refused to sell (one person).  Demolition and pre-construction underway. 

                                                           iii.      Fundraising:  Difficult times, $500M last year, $413M this year, 6th in the country – consistently in the top 5-10.

                                                           iv.      Capital campaign on track, $3.5B of the $4B campaign

                                                             v.      Global Programs - Four foreign centers open or opening

                                                           vi.      Time to secure newly formed programs and projects rather than institute new programs.

2.      Report from the Provost

a.       Science Agenda

                                                               i.      NW Corner and “release space”

                                                             ii.      Mind/Brain/Behavior – example of building interdisciplinary programs in science (physically).  Cross schools –A&S, SEAS, Medical School.  New challenges to work across units of the university.

                                                           iii.      Build strength of basic sciences at the same time

b.      Tenure Process

                                                               i.      Process being contemplated by Provost (looking for feedback)

                                                             ii.      Considering changing the current Ad-Hoc to a standing committee.

1.      Ad-Hoc – history and culture of CU..  Important during the era of very strenuous achievement.  Important to provide closely related specialty advice.  However,

now 96% approval rate of Ad-Hoc supported cases -  because mentoring system is working.  Ad-Hocs are very labor intensive but has a turndown rate of only 3% - cost/benefit.  Very slow system.

2.      Standing committees  - provide consistency, much faster.  But a lot of work, would meet every other week, would need course relief.  Hard to make these as tailored to expertise

3.      Looking for feedback, will make the decision this academic year.

c.       Expansions of capacity in the Provost Office  

                                                               i.      Will add two faculty vice-provosts this year

d.      Budget

                                                               i.      Views budgetary decisions as academic decisions and wants to be sure the view of the entire university is considered. Will play a central role in mediating the decision making process through the provosts office   

e.       Q&A

                                                               i.      Can Ad-Hoc be waived for top hires?

1.      Needs to be looked into

3.      Discussion of governance proposal & vote (Amber)

a.       Minor changes since Feb. Meeting in response to discussion. 

b.      Min. of last meeting and details of the discussion available on the A&S web page.

c.       Q&A

                                                               i.      3 year appointment of ECFAS – how will the transition work?

1.       ECFAS to be cut in half, 4 continue on, 2 elected, some rotation off each year - one possible transition model.

                                                             ii.      What about interdepartmental programs in the college and how their voice is heard?  Current PPC seems to have a departmental focus – should have representation of this like the core, etc. 

1.       The current process does include all interdisciplinary programs by being more inclusive, more active and more effective.  It is not desirable to expand the size of the PPC. 

d.       The vote – chairs will have vote within the departments (paper ballots) .  Also electronic voting to Dirks office.  Voting open in the next two days and close April 1st.  The vote is to change section 6 of the stated rules of A&S. 

                                                               i.      Q&A

1.       What can faculty vote on, and how effectively can we change A&S faculty meeting?  What is the separation between policy and practice.  -  For example does the PPC instruct the COI directly, or does the COI simply interpret the policy commented on by the PPC?  At what level will the faculty be involved?

a.       This is phase one, and its hard to predict.  Historically supplemental changes have been made. Attempts to clarify who is responsible for A&S – A&S faculty! 

2.       Hopeful that this changes the fundamental structure and nature of Faculty involvement in A&S

3.       Time to change statute 8 as well?

a.       Can’t be done under the current statutes.

b.       Should be one of the first things the PPC should take up. – Cleaning up the entire document

4.       What does it take to pass this?

a.       Votes of the majority of the Faculty

b.       Interpreted to mean the majority of the votes received

5.       Seems very important to be explained to Faculty

6.       Would be best to have a majority of votes of the entire faculty.  But no one has made a ruling on this.  WE NEED A LARGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE TO VOTE. 

7.       Intent of the language was – Abstention is a no vote. A majority of the entire faculty is needed. (David Helfan, author of the original language).

8.       Abstention is not the same as not voting – needs to be on the ballot and counted.

9.       Original intent is not the issue, our interpretation is.

10.   Agreed by the author, but stressed that we need to get 300 people to vote, this is so important and if we do not get people to vote that says something.

11.  Need to keep separate no, no ballot, abstain and yes votes.

12.  Nick Dirks office to actively pursue the vote, cross check and continue to request faculty to participate.


[Note from ECFAS Chair – The statutory power to interpret the A&S bylaws is being investigated. The vote will be counted in accordance with the ruling of the appropriate individual or body.]


4.      Questions about budget in A&S

                                                               i.      Details to report at next faculty meeting, Budget due in April

                                                             ii.      Housing and Health Care increase in combination with flat salaries, not acceptable. 

1.      Demographic wave increased costs, and the rest of the budget has to adjust.  – Point registered with provost but the costs increases have to be dealt with.