Meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Tuesday, April 30, 2002




President Rupp convened the meeting at 12:10 p.m.


1.      In opening the meeting, President Rupp noted that this would be his final meeting as convening officer of the faculty of Arts and Sciences. He, thus, elected to briefly call attention to some important achievements.


      · He noted that the Arts and Sciences had achieved financial stability, even in the face of difficult economic challenges.

      · He cited the enormous increase in selectivity that has occurred in General Studies and Columbia College admissions.  Student quality has been considerably strengthened.

      ·  He pointed out that significant enhancements have been achieved in a number of Arts and Sciences department.

      ·  He noted that the Ph.D. program in the Graduate School had been significantly strengthened since 1997 when the enhancement plan was first announced, and the Graduate School has become somewhat smaller and more richly supported. 

      ·  He reminded faculty of the substantial investments that have been made in the physical plant leading to improvements in quality of life at the institution. 


He acknowledged that there was more yet to be done and indicated his firm belief that President-elect Bollinger would be continuing to attend to these matters.


He also observed that the way in which the faculty, the central administration and the Arts and Sciences had worked together to address these important agendas was particularly noteworthy.


In response to a request from Professor Grieve, President Rupp spoke about the Italian Academy.  He reminded the faculty that it is an institution-wide, not an Arts and Sciences entity; however, he recognized the importance of the Academy for a number of Arts and Sciences units.  President Rupp noted that David Freedberg, Director of the Italian Academy, had recommended that a committee be established to consider the charter.  President Rupp indicated his belief that it would be at least next year or the year after that before the committee could be appointed, noting that he would leave to his successor responsibility for determining the timing of such a review.


2.      It was moved and seconded that the minutes be approved as prepared.  Professor Rebay raised objections to the way in which the discussion of the Italian Academy had been characterized in the minutes of the February 13, 2002 meeting.  He wished the minutes to reflect the fact that Professor Freedberg had indicated that he would welcome the appointment of a Columbia committee to study the Academy’s charter.  The minutes were subsequently adopted with provision for Professor Rebay’s point to be included in the minutes of the April 30, 2002 meeting.


3.      The report of the Executive Committee of the Faculty was presented by Patricia Grieve, ECFAS chair.  She began by alerting the faculty that they will soon be receiving a ballot for the election to fill ECFAS vacancies.  Professor Elaine Sisman, as chair of the Steering Committee of the Chairs, urged faculty to vote when they receive their ballot.


      Professor Grieve also reported that she had received emails about the site acquisition reserve.  She indicated that faculty are seeking assurances that the reserve will remain in the Arts and Sciences budget and that the monies will also be used for expansion of the Arts and Sciences both north and east of the Morningside Heights footprint.


      Professor Grieve noted that concerns had been expressed regarding the size of the FY 03 salary increases.  Faculty are concerned with their position relative to our peers.  They also have concerns about salary levels of long-term faculty.


      Professor Grieve called the attention of the faculty to the new undergraduate advising website.  Citing it as particularly impressive, she encouraged faculty to take time to review it.  She also noted that having a school-based, advising website of that quality merely reinforced the need for additional support for departmental websites.


      Professor Grieve indicated that the proposal to create renewable term appointments for lecturers was still being considered by ECFAS.  She indicated that she looked forward to the proposal moving to the point of readiness for discussion by the full faculty of the Arts and Sciences early in the fall.


      At the conclusion of her remarks, Professor Grieve expressed on behalf of herself and the entire Arts and Sciences faculty a special thanks for the nine years of service that George Rupp had provided to the institution.


4.      Vice President Cohen began with a series of updates. 


      ·  He reported that the Faculty Senate had voted to make Continuing Education a degree granting school and had also voted to approve its first master’s degree program.  He reminded faculty that the decision to create Continuing Education as a school had had its origins in the recommendations of the Academic Review Committee.


      ·  Vice President Cohen provided an update on the Science Planning Review.  He indicated that the Academic Review Committee had completed its work, strongly endorsing a science initiative.  Consistent with the academic review process, the full report has been sent to the science departments with instructions for the faculty of those departments to deliberate on the recommendations.  Vice President Cohen is currently in the process of meeting with the chairs of the individual science departments to get a summary of each department’s comments and responses to the report.  He will then meet with the science chairs as a group to discuss the themes that have emerged from the individual departmental discussions.  The report will be on the agenda of the May meeting of the departmental chairs and will simultaneously be forwarded to ECFAS for review and comment.  It is expected that a discussion of the science initiative will be on the agenda of the fall faculty meeting.


      Before concluding his remarks, Vice President Cohen also indicated his desire to recognize, on behalf of himself and the faculty, the contributions of President Rupp.  He cited the criticality of President Rupp’s support in addressing challenges and making advances in the Arts and Sciences, and expressed his deep appreciation both personally and professionally for his commitment and contributions to this effort.


5.      Prior to opening the floor for discussion of the proposed FY 03-07 budget, Vice President Cohen made the following prefatory remarks.  These remarks were in addition to those included in his April 24, 2002 letter to the faculty.


      ·  He reported that the Arts and Sciences was on plan for the closing of the FY 02 budget.

      ·  He indicated that planning for the FY 03-07 budget had been particularly difficult.  He noted that the Arts and Sciences will sustain significant revenue reductions.  On the expenditure side, he cited the major investments made in advancing the schedule to reach full funding for graduate student financial aid and the impact of establishing the site acquisition reserve.  He indicated that the Arts and Sciences had partially addressed the revenue losses by increasing undergraduate tuition at greater than the previously budgeted rate.  Peer institutions are doing so, reflecting the general vulnerability to such factors as the downturn in the equity markets, lower interest income on cash balances, etc.  He noted that there is a sizable one-time surplus in FY 02 that can be carried forward.  He reported that, even with the above actions, a gap remained.  A portion of the gap was generously covered with assistance from the central administration of both recurring and non-recurring resources.  He called the faculty’s attention to the fact that the operating budget was in balance in FY 03 and FY 04, but not in FY 05.  With carryover of the FY 02 surplus, the Arts and Sciences will be able to close the budget in balance at the end of FY 05.  Given many uncertainties, FY 06 and FY 07 can only be considered as placeholders at this time.  He reported that, in meetings with the Faculty Budget Group and the departmental chairs, he had indicated that he sees the budget as highly constrained, but not in crisis. 


      Vice President Cohen then raised the matter of the faculty salary increases for FY 04.  He indicated that he was mindful of the difficulties that departmental chairs were having in the salary recommendation process this year.  He reminded faculty that a 4% increase on the salary pool was the default level in the budget.  The Arts and Sciences was able to manage a 5% pool in the two previous cycles (FY 01 and FY 02); however, it was unable to do so for FY 03 salaries.  Vice President Cohen acknowledged awareness that faculty salaries and graduate student financial aid were the two highest priorities of the faculty.  He indicated that, while substantial improvements to graduate student financial aid were included in the FY 03 budget, it was not possible to achieve both that objective and a 5% increase in the faculty salary pool.  


      With regard to faculty salary levels in the Arts and Sciences in comparison to peers, he noted that the most serious discrepancies are at the junior level.  He reported that it has been necessary to offer highly competitive salaries in order to recruit the very top junior faculty.  On the positive side, this reflects the capacity of departments to now compete for the best available junior faculty.  Unfortunately, the market-driven offering salaries are creating a compression problem.  The Arts and Sciences, however, simply cannot afford to address this compression across the board.  Going forward, it will plan to make even more substantial increases at the time of tenuring than the current 20% to address the compression. 


      Vice President Cohen then opened the floor for discussion. 


      A question was raised about the site acquisition reserve and whether there would be a role for ECFAS in discussions regarding balancing longer-term space needs with near-term needs such as faculty salary increases, graduate student stipends, etc.  Provost Jonathan Cole reported that there had been considerable discussion with the deans and vice presidents at the Resources and Priorities meeting when the site acquisition reserve was announced.  He reminded faculty that space is close to the top of everyone’s list of the most critical needs for the long-term health of the university.  He expressed the belief that it is prudent to begin putting aside resources now so that the institution will be able to respond to opportunities to expand its footprint as they arise.


      A question was asked about the actions being taken to address the lecturer in language salaries.  Vice President Cohen reported that the increases for lecturers in language come from the same pool as other faculty salaries and, given the budgetary situation, it is unlikely that it will be possible to do anything substantial for the next few years.  The Arts and Sciences has been working to raise the bottom of the range, but he acknowledge that more remains to be done.


      It was observed that faculty who have chosen to stay at Columbia their entire career and not seek outside offers, may find themselves at a disadvantage in this period of limited salary increases.  Professor Steve Kahn noted that one way to address the

compression with respect to junior salaries would be to take monies from the seniors.  He suggested that the Arts and Sciences consider setting two pools—a lower one for senior faculty and a higher one for junior faculty.  Vice President Cohen reported that the Arts and Sciences has tried to allocate the pool in such a way as to give chairs the maximum flexibility in deploying available funds.


      The question was raised from the floor as to whether there are plans to move all master’s only programs out of the departments.  Vice President Cohen noted that master’s only revenues are key to achieving the full funding program of the Graduate School Enhancement Plan.  Dean Henry Pinkham reported that there are no plans to increase the size of department-based MAO programs, but that the size of some Ph.D. programs are dependent upon maintaining the revenue streams from those departmentally based programs.


      A concern was raised about the percentage of the budget spent on instruction, noting that it has been declining consistently for some years.  It was suggested that it might be useful to look at the trends and internal shifts that may be occurring across instructional lines.  Faculty also suggested that it may be important to think about the budget of the Arts and Sciences in its entirety, that is, the aggregate of the central and school budgets.  In particular, school-based investments in administration should be balanced against the need for greater investment in faculty salaries in the Arts and Sciences central budget.


      There being no new business, President Rupp by consensus adjourned the meeting at 1:25 pm.


                        Prepared by


                        Roxie R. Smith