Agenda
Meeting of the Faculty
of the Arts & Sciences

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008
12:00 noon - 2:00 p.m.

Faculty Room, 207 Low Library

 

11:45 a.m.          Coffee & cookies available before meeting

12:00 noon         Business meeting begins

 

Convene                                                                                  Lee Bollinger

 
Approval of Minutes

      (see ECFAS website: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ecfas/)

 

 


 

Arts and Sciences faculty meeting --- December 2, 2008

Minutes

Disclaimer:These minutes are for purely informational purposes and should not be considered formal policies.They were recorded to the best of the writerís ability and are NOT verbatim.

         Alan Brinkley

o   Convening the meeting

o   Lee Bollinger was delayed because he was assaulted while running in central park this morning

o   So he will be late

o   Nick Dirks will begin

         Nick Dirks

o   I will start with a couple of announcements and then discuss the financial situation

o   Alan will then speak

o   And hopefully if Lee is here he can answer questions

o   The ARC has taken on this year a role in planning in Manhattanville

o   We had one meeting where we met with people from facilities and will be creating a standing internal committee for ARC to work with facilities to think about Manhattanville and to think about future space moves and the like

o   The other major issue that ARC has been concerned with is the faculty governance review

o   Which of course is quite unusual

o   Katharina will talk about this

o   To the financial situation

o   $20 million cuts in 2010 just to stay even

o   Student enrollment will be hurt, e.g. South Korean economy and ALP; summer program that offers no financial aid; masters programs and discretionary programs; some students, among them international students and summer school students, may not want to incur or may not get credit for these courses and so they will be unable to attend

o   We are worried that the annual fund totals will also fall short, so that contributions will fall short especially for the college

o   We are engaged in constant projection exercises

o   So while things could be better they could also be worse

o   With regard to the central subvention

o   We wanted to hire first and then raise the funds later while central provides bridge funding

o   But the payout of endowment is coming in slower

o   Because of the large endowment dependence in the central budget we have been asked to cover this

o   Depending on how you count it we have different ways of calculating our budget

o   So we are engaged in serious conversations about how to deal with budget cuts while at the same time maintaining the quality of our students and faculty

o   So we need to think about the masters programs where demand is robust

o   We are working closely with Austin and the college to think about what can be done there

o   We are working with Peter to see what further incentives we may provide just to keep our targets

o   We are considering reducing the size of our Ph.D. students and possibly not increasing the stipend for our graduate students

o   But in order to stay competitive we have been projecting that we do need to increase the stipends

o   We are reviewing all revenue sharing arrangements with all schools/departments

o   We may have to reserve available reserves and commitments, especially since the departments have reserves

o   We will be asking departments to defer some searches

o   No searches will be cancelled outright but some searches will be deferred

o   We have created a committee to consider all administrative hires

o   Deferring all non essential capital projects

o   The Knox renovations will be completed over the summer

o   The ISB will be completed by the fall of 2010

o   Our success in all of these areas will determine what we will be able to do with what we can do next year with academic and administrative positions

o   But we are using a set of principles to guide us and to do so as judiciously as possible

o   We will not change the way we think about tenure track appointments

o   We will defer rather than cut any academic positions

o   If we change anything we will do so in such a way that these decisions can easily be reversed in a different climate

o   We will review all enrollment increases so that there are no unnecessary burdens on the faculty

o   And we will be working with faculty to think about how to do this

o   We will be asking departments for suggestions to cut costs

o   We will ask departments to reevaluate all course relief, increasing enrollment caps, reallocating faculty workload to more undergraduate classes, finding other ways to cut instructional costs and shortfalls and to see if funding is available before approving courses

o   This will be a very challenging environment

o   And we are consulting widely

o   We are meeting with the Faculty Budget Group

o   I called a special meeting of the chairs next week to discuss the specific scenarios we are considering

o   We are convening a smaller group of faculty to solicit their support and advice in these difficult decisions

o   And I can meet with others if you would like

o   These are the things we are currently engaged in

         Alan Brinkley

o   It is pretty clear what the issues are that are affecting central administration

o   For central we rely much more heavily than other parts of the university on endowment income

o   It is a much higher percentage of the central budget, which is the difficulty we are facing

o   We have other vulnerabilities as well

o   We are facing a significant deficit this year and next year

o   We are going to have a significant budget reduction in the central budget

o   It will be a painful reduction

o   We have as A&S has a hiring review committee, to review all administrative hires

o   All non-academic hiring over the next one or two years will be reviewed

o   With the assumption that many empty positions will not be filled at this time

o   We will review all capital expenditures

o   We have committed to completing current capital projects, including Knox and ISB

o   Other projects are on hold

o   Manhattanville is important to the university but also a very expensive project

o   So we need to consider how to proceed

o   We have a significant gift for the Mind, Brain, and Behavior Building and that gift will be at risk if we wait too long

o   Other buildings, we will proceed if we can do so

o   I want to say a word about the impact of these cuts

o   These cuts will fall predominantly on staff

o   So there will be some deterioration on the quality of services

o   So this will be a painful experience for many of us

o   But this is even more painful for the staff members

o   And their workload will increase but they deserve to be treated with respect

o   Let me say a word about the other schools

o   All of them are affected as they all have some endowment

o   This may be an instance when a small endowment is actually to your advantage

o   Normally I have budget meetings in the spring, but this year we have had consultations with Ann Sullivan and every dean and with directors of large units to get a sense of what their vulnerabilities are and to see what they are worried about

o   Not surprisingly there is an uneven impact of the financial situation

o   Schools with smaller endowments are less impacted than those with larger endowments

o   The larger schools with larger endowments tend to have significant reserves

o   The medical center has a different situation as they rely so much on patient care and grant moneys

o   If grants decline, then quite a few schools will be hit

o   With the new administration we have high hopes that grants will increase, but we will have to see as the budget is already in place, so they will have to revise it quite quickly

o   We all feel the importance of protecting the core mission of the university

o   And finding the core mission needs attention from all of us

o   In the Arts and Science, there are a series of vehicles for determining what the priorities should be

o   I have confidence in Nickís ability to do so with consultation and fairness

o   For each school we have encouraged them to consult with their faculties

o   And to determine what is most important to protect

o   All schools will feel some pain

o   So we just have to be prepared for some stringency

o   But I have full confidence in the faculty to do the best we can and to preserve the integrity of the academic mission not without some pain and without irreparable damage

o   Both of us are available for questions

         Nick Dirks

o   One of the other exposures that we have has to do with our financial aid in the College

o   We have expressed our commitment to maintain need blind admission

o   But of course that opens up the possibility of vulnerabilities

o   We donít know what the incoming class will look like

o   We have been spectacularly successful to have a diverse student body and we donít know how this will play itself out

o   We have significantly enhanced financial aid

o   So we will continue to admit students and giving them financial aid based on their need but we donít know what that will mean

         Eric Foner

o   Could you elaborate the cost saving of reducing courses with small enrollments, unless you reduce the number of teachers (part time, full time, adjuncts)

         Nick Dirks

o   You wouldnít get credit for a small class toward teaching load

o   This will reduce the need for adjuncts

o   What we have been doing to reduce the adjunct budget, with some exceptions such as SIPA, Arts, DEES, but in other departments we have reduced adjunct instruction with core lecturers, such as teaching in the core

o   And this will allow us to reduce an exposure

o   Will help us in the next year

o   This does not mean that any regular faculty are at risk at all

         Bob Jervis

o   What is our discount rate for the college (how much of the tuition goes back to financial aid)

o   Also, could you elaborate on how dropping out of students can be compensated

         Nick Dirks

o   The discount rate has gone up

o   Right now it is at 40%

o   The marginal increases in college enrollment, we are constrained by the number of beds, we also have complicated arrangements with SEAS who use the same beds and they have a number of programs that reduce our capacity to increase the student body

o   Austin?

         Austin Quigley

o   When talking about discount rate, the ratio of financial aid to tuition is about 40%

o   The actual rate is much lower since financial aid doesnít come completely out of tuition

         Christia Mercer

o   Is there a possibility of increasing undergraduates

o   But there is the issue of classrooms

o   There arenít enough middle size rooms for us

o   My understanding is that this problem can be solved

o   So the idea of more students is not just more beds but also more classrooms

         Nick Dirks

o   We are talking about very small numbers

o   But we will have additional classrooms with Knox and ISB

o   So we will for the first time in years have additional classrooms

         Sharyn OíHalloran

o   Right now the problem is the scheduling

o   So now one of the things they are trying to do is to have continuous scheduling so that we can get more classrooms online at least next year

         Janet Currie

o   Given all of these other cuts that we are talking about is there no discussion ofreversing some of the increases in financial aid

o   I donít understand why this is not being discussed

         Alan Brinkley

o   Well I think it would be very difficult both morally and logistically to make these cuts

o   All current students are benefiting from these cuts

o   We are making a commitment to students

o   Perhaps had we known what was coming we would not have made this steps

o   But we did make this step

o   It is part of our outreach to all our applicants

         Nick Dirks

o   The enhancement was bridge funded to a gift by John Kluge

o   But in the meantime the endowment is going to take a hit

o   But the gift is assured

         Austin Quigley

o   Were we to reduce financial aid, then the money would go back to financial aid endowment since they are restricted funds and so canít be used for other purposes

         Janet Currie

o   But that doesnít make any sense, since the impact of financial aid is on the budget

         Austin Quigley

o   What we said is that it could be the case that we could have more students on financial aid because of the changing financial situation

         Nick Dirks

o   The faculty, and many of you were here, has repeatedly expressed its commitment to need blind admission

o   And until now this has been difficult to do

o   There is an accumulated body of discussion to maintain this commitment

o   And we felt last year that very strong arguments came out of the faculty and from the Kluge gift

         David Epstein

o   Will we lose the people we have made offers to?

         Nick Dirks

o   Departments will need approval

o   Departments always need approval and we will look at this very carefully

         Katharina Volk

o   What is the timeline to let departments know?

         Nick Dirks

o   We will let departments know in the next 2 weeks

         Alan Brinkley

o   We are actually ahead in gifts, ahead of last year at this point

o   It is at least one heartening element in the current environment

         Madeleine Zelin

o   Columbia has a particularly conservative spending rule

o   Is there any discussion of loosening this?

         Alan Brinkley

o   We donít have a conservative spending rule

o   We have a 5% spending rule

o   And in some of our endowments we are drawing down more

o   Every penny that we take out of the endowment is a decapping at this point

o   You will recall that Yale increased it recently from 3.5 to 5%

o   I donít know of any major university that has a spending rule above 5%

         Nick Dirks

o   For those of you who are chairs we will be meeting next Tuesday

o   And we will meet with various groups in the meantime

         Katharina Volk

o   As the chair of ECFAS, I am going to give you a quick update about the faculty governance review

o   ECFAS has 3 representatives on the Faculty Budget Group (FBG)

o   So if you have opinions let us know because we are your elected representatives, so you need to let us know

o   Email me

o   And I hope you all received my report yesterday

o   I see that Lee Bollinger has just come in

o   I hope you are all on this email list, if not, let me know

o   There is the review of the faculty governance going on

o   And ECFAS is compiling the self-study document

o   We are in the process of writing up the document

o   And we will hand it to the Academic Review Committee (ARC) on Jan. 20

o   We are going to make it available to all the faculty

o   And to let you know that this happens

o   So that you know that this is a transparent process

o   If you have any further input on faculty governance just let me know

o   Are there any questions

         Lee Bollinger

o   I have a number of things to say

o   First, I want to recognize Alan for the wonderful service he has giving to this university

o   Many who have had the chance to work with Alan closely feel so deeply that there is no one in the world who could bring higher academic values and standards to the issues we face

o   Every single day there are new issues

o   Every semester there are crises that inevitably come up

o   And we can always count on Alan to be calm, cautious, and for his deeply insightful judgment

o   His job is not easy

o   And I think the very special qualities of Alanís mind that I want to recognize right now

o   There will be times to recognize Alan more

o   (Applause)

o   The search to replace Alan is under way

o   We have had a meeting and will have a second meeting soon

o   My hope is that this will quickly yield candidates inside and outside

o   The SEAS dean search, is also underway, for the second year, and Alan has been chairing that

o   The candidates look great

o   And hopefully early next semester the search committee will select three candidates

o   Let me first talk about the state of the university with regard to the financial picture

o   Then I want to talk about Arts and Sciences specifically and Manhattanville in relationship to all of this

o   By now, everyone realizes that we are in for a fairly difficult period

o   And the extent of it, how difficult it will be and how it will impact various institutions, we just donít know yet

o   For us, universities are places that tend to experience the effects of these recessions delayed

o   If you look at our expenses right now, other than the endowment, things look good and financial aid is what it is

o   And fundraising, and to Susan Feaginís credit and her staff and the schools and faculties, to the credit of everyone, in fact we are ending November at a higher rate than we ended a year ago

o   At the end of June, we had raised $495 million

o   This put us third in the Ivies

o   The year before we were also third in the Ivy group for the first time and fifth in the country

o   So in terms of fundraising it has been remarkable and it has been sustained

o   We simply donít know what will happen to that

o   A very good theory is that people have less money and will give less

o   There is also the theory that an institution like this depends on 200 or 300 people

o   And how has the recession affected those people

o   So this group may be different from the 300 that give to other institutions

o   At the same time, people may find giving to universities more salient

o   We donít know

o   With financial aid, we donít know what will happen as students come in for next semester

o   Of course, this may go up

o   We have the deepest commitment to financial aid

o   Although our application pool wonít go down

o   In terms of NSF and NIH funding, it has been a difficult period in the past 5 years relative to the 90s and that has caused difficulties for our scientists who rely on this funding

o   We may see an increase in NIH and NSF funding, but given the financial situation in the country, we donít know if that will increase

o   The place where we know right now where we sustained a significant hit is the endowment

o   And that is one that is clearly signaling that we are in for a difficult time

o   We donít have the full numbers in on the endowment, since it is difficult to value private equity parts of the endowment

o   From other institutions, Yale, Harvard, the Gates Foundation, we hear very big numbers

o   When I am feeling especially competitive I imagine a complete market collapse and we all start on an even playing field

o   Harvardís endowment to go to zero

o   So we need to think about how we will respond as an institution in a period that could be quite extended, one year to 5 years

o   We need to think about how as an institution we are going to deal with this

o   The endowment is not managed in the central administration

o   The decision was to professionalize the management of the endowment

o   This was the right decision

o   I have no reason to think that the risk-taking was unwise

o   It is not something we manage internally

o   The reason for managing it externally is that professionals know how to do this

o   Now this is a very decentralized institution financially

o   That means that for most parts of the institution they manage their own revenues and the number of students

o   We have a tax to central, but not very much

o   And one of the problems with one of these systems (and there are lots of benefits, there is lots of gaming, the incentives are rightly aligned) but there is the problem that central ends up with fewer resources

o   Each school, each part of the university, is going to have to address therefore how they are going to address the financial situation

o   And Ann Sullivan and Alan are working with the schools about anticipating the impact in the near term

o   In central we have instituted immediate cuts and they are deep

o   But that has to happen

o   And we are all committed to it

o   And everyone who runs every part of central is committed to this

o   And we will do this right away

o   Columbia has an enormous amount of momentum

o   We are improving as a university and as an institution

o   We have addressed the very important problem of space

o   And there is a short term plan, and medium term plans (ISB, Knox), long-range plan which will go out a couple of generations (Manahttanville)

o   We tried to address the space issue because we know that the university cannot be a great research university unless it can eliminate the space problem

o   And that has been critical

o   Also as I have tried to address the issue of sources

o   That begins with the trustees

o   You have to have great plans and you have to have relationships with people; we canít just ask for money

o   And academically and intellectually we have to determine how we can be better

o   With respect to Arts and Sciences, it is very important to say the following, it has clearly been the role that all of us have embraced to make Arts and Sciences better supported

o   And to do all these things on a budget where we have gotten as close to the edge as we can marshal

o   But we have put more central resources into building Arts and Sciences than any other part of the university

o   That is great; that has to happen

o   To get the university where we want it to be

o   It has come with a sense that the ways in which we are structured also need to be addressed

o   The themes are simply that we need integration

o   So the parts that have histories of not being integrated need to be integrated, the College and Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Arts and Sciences --- Getting beyond the history

o   And the work that has been done by everyone, Austin, Nick, Alan, ECFAS, the effort to find these ways to integrate the institution are on the path; they take time, but they are right

o   The last thing is the matter of governance

o   Where we achieve at some point a position of stability, it is your job to run things and we go from there

o   But the financial situation we are in makes this much more difficult without losing momentum

o   So Nick is working with all of you to try to do that

o   Manhattanville is to my mind the future of the university

o   Manhattanville is a dream that will only be realized by fundraising

o   To begin to purchase land

o   We have raised the gift for Mind Brain and Behavior (MBB)

o   The School of the Arts will go up

o   The Dawn Greene money is contingent on our continuing on the building

o   So we have to raise more money to build that building, so we are deeply engaged in that process

o   In order to get there, we had to say to the city that we will proceed with Manhattanville

o   We wonít just go for rezoning and then not build

o   The city put in 10,000s of human hours to make this happen

o   We went through the rezoning project for months and months if not years

o   And the only way we got the Bloomberg administration to go ahead with us is because we said we would raise the money for Manhattanville

o   We are in the final stages of authorization

o   So Manhattanville is supported out of a fund to support the planning but not the building which will be funded by gifts

o   The trustees will have to sign off on taking a tiny amount of the endowment to invest in this project

o   And if they did this, they would not do this for another purpose (i.e. to deal with the financial crisis)

o   But we donít know yet if that is what we need to do

o   There is also a major gift that may be available to us

o   Our goal is to break ground this summer but it will take some time

o   It is not something that we will disrupt

o   We wonít call this off

o   So I think that is what I really wanted to say

         Alan Brinkley

o   I would like to introduce Carol Hoffman who has been on this schedule for this meeting

o   Carol is the Associate Provost for Work Life

         Carol Hoffman

o   I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you about work life

o   Especially with the current financial situation

o   We are here to assist you from birth to death

o   The office was established a couple of years ago

o   The goal of the office was to improve the support to peopleís life issues

o   And we hope that people will experience the university as family supported and people supported

o   I want to explain what is available; some of it existed before I arrived, some of it is new

o   When it comes to the beginning of life there is pregnancy leave, breastfeeding support program, 5 lactation rooms on the Morningside campus, they can be used by moms when they return, we have funds to support adoption

o   Parenting policies:there is child care leave, parental workload relief plan, part time career appointment (tenure track only)

o   Both parents can use these policies

o   Child care and schooling

o   We have affiliated child care centers

o   We have been able to expand one of our child care centers

o   We have the search service which is available to locate schools

o   The benefit offers some support for NYC residents who send kids to independent schools in the five boroughs

o   And that Columbiaís k-8 school which is available to some faculty

o   And there is college tuition assistance

o   Housing assistance program to look at housing outside of Columbia housing

o   The faculty relocation program helps faculty with relocation and we have spouse partners dual career program

o   The higher education recruitment consortium is available and lists academic and non-academic positions for spouses

o   Backup care is relatively new

o   It is for when your normal care arrangements for elderly and children falls through and it is also if the child care center closes or if you have to travel

o   Offered 100 hours per year; 4 dollars per hour if care is in the home

o   The flexible spending accounts for dependent care and health care

o   The employee assistance program for anything that you may need help with

o   Flexible work arrangements --- there are telecommuting policies, 11 months program, and phased retirement for administrators

o   There is the Faculty Quality of Life committee, it is a provostial committee and the issues that we have been dealing with recently is faculty retirement, faculty disability issues, and child care

o   So please let ECFAS know about any issues you would like this committee to address as they are on the committee

o   There will be a website with all of this information

o   And we will include an electronic bulletin board so that people in the Columbia community can use it

o   Contact information:worklife@columbia.e.du

o   I would very much like to hear your suggestions

o   We are available at any point to help you with faculty recruitment and dealing with work and life issues