Meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Wednesday, October 8th, 2003




President Bollinger convened the meeting at 12:12 p.m.


1.      President Bollinger began by expressing his deep appreciation to Acting Vice President Ira Katznelson for his willingness to take on this important role.  President Bollinger observed that as each week passes, he comes to more and more appreciate Vice President Katznelson’s many talents.  He also expressed his pleasure that David Hirsh agreed to serve as the Vice President for Research.  He noted that the University needs someone of Vice President Hirsh’s stature and experience to help guide policy in this important arena. 


He reminded the faculty that the 250th anniversary celebration begins next week.  He noted that many people had devoted an enormous amount of time to its success and he was especially grateful for their efforts.


President Bollinger reported that he is in the process of establishing a task force to consider the place of a major research university in this modern era of globalization.  The task force will be asked to recommend ways in which Columbia can ascend to the level of international leadership an institution of our stature should provide.


2.      It was moved, seconded and approved by majority vote that the minutes of the meeting on April 30th, 2003, be approved as prepared.


3.      Professor Carmela Franklin, chair the Executive Committee of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, presented its report.


● She reported that Walter Frisch, the H. H. Gumm Von Tilzer Professor of Music, had been elected Vice Chair of ECFAS.  He will ascend to the chair position in 2004-05.  


● Professor Stuart Firestein will join Professors Franklin and Frisch as the third representative from ECFAS to the Faculty Budget Group.  The Faculty Budget Group has already begun meeting and will be working with Vice President Katznelson as he plans for the 2005-09 budget submission. 


● ECFAS is now meeting bi-weekly.  One meeting each month will be devoted to interacting with Vice President Katznelson.  These meetings will provide an opportunity for ECFAS to bring to the Arts and Sciences the interests and ideas of the faculty.


● As part of launching the planning process for expanding science at Columbia, ECFAS has held a meeting at which both Vice President Hirsh and Vice President Katznelson were present.  Professor Franklin further reported that ECFAS had recommended that the Science Initiative Planning Group be expanded to include another representative from the Morningside Heights campus.  She noted with pleasure that Professor Horst Stormer, a nobel laureate in physics, had been added to the group.


● ECFAS has developed a questionnaire which will soon be circulated to all the faculty.  It will be distributed and returned electronically and faculty are encouraged to respond promptly as ECFAS is eager to receive its input. 


4.      Vice President Katznelson began his remarks by expressing how valuable he is finding regular interaction with the various constituent groups of the Arts and Sciences.  His meetings with the deans and senior A&S personnel, ECFAS, the department chairs and the Faculty Budget Group have demonstrated to him how deeply dedicated the faculty are to the Arts and Sciences and how invested they are in its continued success.


He noted with sadness the recent loss of several of Columbia’s luminaries—Edward Said, David Truman and James Shenton.  He indicated that University-wide memorial services will be held for each of them.


Vice President Katznelson turned then to the items which he expects will command his attention during the coming year.  He remarked that, while he is an acting vice president, it is not an interim year.  The Arts and Sciences can not afford to mark time or lose momentum.  In citing the work that needs to be done, he expressed his belief that, by working together, the Arts and Sciences will continue to move forward.


● Budget-Vice President Katznelson reminded the faculty that the five-year budget submitted in April projected deficits in Years Three, Four and Five.  He observed that, even with those deficits, it was a vastly stronger budget than the situation that David Cohen had inherited when he began his Vice Presidency.  He emphasized that the Arts and Sciences is a long way from a state of crisis, but that it is not in the secure place it needs to be if it is to realize the shared aspirations of the faculty and administration.  Among the short-term stresses and strains he cited was the existence of a needier first-year class in Columbia College and an unexpected shortfall in revenues in the School of Continuing Education.  Columbia is a university with the highest ambitions, yet its aspirations sit side-by-side with a repertoire of choices that must be made if those goals are to be achieved.  To inform these choices, the Arts and Sciences is undertaking a budgetary and scholarly review toward collectively setting priorities and positioning it for the upcoming capital campaign. 


● Undergraduate Majors Initiative-Vice President Katznelson reported that, working with Dean Austin Quigley and Dean Peter Awn, an initiative has been launched to enhance undergraduate departmental majors.  It will begin with a sampling of departments to develop and pilot processes that will then be rolled forward to engage every department in the Arts and Sciences. 


● Citing President Bollinger’s institutional agenda, he expressed the shared desire of the Arts and Sciences to advance to a position at the forefront of globalization. 


● In keeping with the central place that the humanities has historically enjoyed at Columbia, the Academic Review Committee is undertaking a special study to consider ways to link across units and maximize resources.  A review of the Heyman Center is a part of this effort.


● Science Initiative-He reported that, as a member of the planning committee, he will have an opportunity to bring the needs and interests of the Arts and Sciences to the broader planning effort.  He noted that space needs will be addressed through a range of actions including the new building on the northwest corner of the campus, renovation of existing science space and the creation of new space in the proposed Manhattanville site. 


● Vice President Search Committee-Vice President Katznelson reported that the vice presidential search committee chaired by Professor David Freedberg had renewed its efforts to identify the new vice president. 


● He noted that the Arts and Sciences is actively searching for a number of new faculty.  The turnover and hiring of faculty is the way in which the Arts and Sciences is renewed and enhanced.  This activity is the single most important endeavor of an administrative nature that faculty do. 


5.      Vice President Katznelson then moved on to discuss the annual faculty size and effort report.  He urged the faculty, if they have not yet read it, to take the time to do so.  He observed that it is the one document that assembles the full range of information on faculty activities across the Arts and Sciences.  He called particular attention to the deep commitment to undergraduate teaching that is described on Page 2 of the narrative that accompanies the nine data tables.


6.      It was moved, seconded and approved by a unanimous vote that Professor Andrew Nathan be elected as the secretary of the faculty beginning January 1, 2004.


7.      President Bollinger began the discussion of campus expansion by reiterating the shared goal of making Columbia the most distinguished university possible, and affirming that it is the responsibility of the Provost and the President to move the institution toward this goal.  Clearly, space is a major impediment to achieving the desired levels of academic achievement and perhaps even to sustaining current levels of eminence.  The President indicated that he believes that the time has come to address this problem for the broader health of the institution and that it is no longer realistic to think of incremental approaches.  Coupled with the broader institutional goal is the fact that the needs of science are paramount in today’s environment.  President Bollinger noted that while there might be a range of possible options, proximity seems to be an important, if not overarching, guiding principle. 


He turned then to a discussion of the option currently under consideration to expand into the area called Manhattanville.  He began by observing that whatever is done, it will be a decades-long enterprise, but that this option will provide it 5-7 million square feet of buildable space.  Its 17-20 acres would provide the opportunity to double the physical size of the Morningside Campus, although addressing existing needs will have priority over considering the larger question of institutional scale.  President Bollinger reported that he had launched a campus master planning process that would involve a faculty advisory committee, the Senate, the Executive Committee of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and a community advisory group.  He noted that currently it is an area of light industry with very few residents. 


He noted that planning was moving ahead rapidly.  The city seems sympathetic to having an investment of this magnitude move forward, and meetings with the city and state are underway.  He cautioned that the city would want to see progress in this endeavor in return for the magnitude of the investment that they would be asked to contribute. 


He cited one small concern, and that was the fact that planning for the space was ahead of academic planning for the use of the space.  A process to consider programming for the new space has now been launched.  As envisioned, Phase One, which will be located closest to 125th Street, is likely to include a new building for the Arts, one-to-two laboratory science buildings and some type of public space.  Regardless of what is built, what Columbia does in Manhattanville must also make a contribution to the community in which it is situated.


Provost Alan Brinkley spoke further to the process that has been launched to facilitate the way in which the academic uses of the space will be considered.  He noted that it is an opportunity for the faculty to think ambitiously and imaginatively about the future of the university.  He reminded the faculty that populating it will take 30-50 years and that, while it is not possible to know what will be needed so far into the future, the institution has an obligation to begin planning at least for the next decade.


Provost Brinkley then moved to discuss the science planning group that has been constituted.  The members are: Provost Brinkley, Vice President Gerald Fischbach, Vice President David Hirsh, Vice President Ira Katznelson and Professor Horst Stormer.  They will be leading a collaborative effort to consider the future of science at Columbia.  While science is the most immediate concern, the university must also be concerned that all aspects of the university and their needs be considered.  In light of that, he expects to inaugurate a planning process for the humanities, the social sciences and other units of the university.  The overall planning activities are being conducted in such a way as to intersect with simultaneous planning about ways to bring major new resources to the university.  He reiterated, however, that faculty will play the primary role in deciding what is done and how it will be done.


President Bollinger cautioned that it is important to be realistic about the timing of this initiative.  It will be five-to-eight years before the first building is ready.  In the meantime, the university must begin taking steps now to address its space needs.  A first such effort will be a science building on the northwest corner of 120th Street and Broadway.  In addition, there will be new space added to the Health Science footprint and the University is at work developing in areas contiguous to the existing Morningside footprint. 


President Bollinger indicated that he is confident that the monies needed for Phase One of the campus expansion effort would be available.  Associated with moving forward with the larger plan would be growth in the student body.  One component of that will be an increase in international students--an action that would be necessary in any event if we are to achieve our desired distinction in a global era.  Growth in the student body will require some associated growth in faculty size. 


In response to a question about securing the larger residential character of the area north of 125th Street, Provost Brinkley called attention to the fairly immovable boundaries that surround the proposed Manhattanville site.  It will be bounded and contained by the subway on the east, the riverfront on the west, the subsidized housing development on the northeast and Morningside Gardens also along the east side.  The residential character on the north and east sides will be further enhanced as a result of the plans to incorporate commercial space into the Manhattanville site.  It would, therefore, be wrong to conclude that the University’s efforts will somehow dislodge the larger residential community. 


President Bollinger reiterated that, under Provost Brinkley’s direction, the faculty will be deeply engaged in decisions about this process and there will be many opportunities over the coming period for them to participate in the planning process.  It is anticipated that he and the provost will return regularly to discuss this at the meetings of the Faculty of the Arts and Sciences.  In addition, as an early step in that direction, he will invite the architects to come to a faculty meeting.


At the conclusion of the discussion, there was a consensus among the faculty that the planned campus expansion was an important thing for the university to undertake.


President Bollinger, by consensus, adjourned the meeting at 1:42 pm.


                                                                                                Prepared by


                                                                                                Roxie R. Smith