Meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Wednesday, February 14, 2001



President Rupp convened the meeting at 12:13 p.m.

  1. It was moved, seconded and approved that the minutes of the November 15, 2000 meeting be accepted as presented.

2. Professor Helfand presented an update from the Executive Committee of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He provided a summary of the activities in which ECFAS is currently involved.

¾ There is a working group on the status of lecturers, continuing adjuncts and research faculty. This group has been meeting and will be developing an analysis for presentation to the department chairs and ECFAS.

¾ He noted that there is at least a perception of salary inequities between faculty who have served their entire careers at Columbia and. those who have been recently hired. This matter is being considered and he hopes to be able to report on it at the next meeting.

¾ ECFAS is looking at the matter of faculty fellowships. They are especially concerned about junior faculty and their ability to accept such fellowships if they have to take a salary cut. ECFAS hopes to have a recommendation on this in the near future.

¾ The Pinkham committee on the Faculty Age and Tenure distribution is now hard at work on the data. It hopes to have at least a preliminary report at the April faculty meeting.

Professor Helfand once again extended to the faculty the offer to have ECFAS come to a meeting of any departmental faculty to discuss issues and concerns with them.


  1. Vice President David Cohen began by echoing Professor Helfandís earlier comments about the interactions with the Office of Management and Budget and the positive and constructive way in which discussions with that unit have progressed.
  2. He reported that the negotiations with the Department of Health and Human Services as the new cognizant agency for the University had now been concluded. The indirect cost recovery rate going forward for the next four years would be 63.5% (currently 70.5%). He expressed the belief that Columbia had gotten such a high rate was due to the skillful negotiations that were directed by Ritchie Ruttenberg. Vice President Cohen observed that the decrease in the ICR rate could have been a serious hit to the Arts and Sciences budget; however, for several years the Arts and Sciences has been reducing the growth in ICR revenues taken to the budget in an effort to construct a more conservative budget. This action means that the impact will be less severe. The expected revenue reduction will occur in a phased fashion beginning with new competitive awards as of July 1, 2000. He also noted that the lower ICR rate means that principal investigators will have more money available for direct costs; however, departments will get less for research administration costs. Professor Steven Kahn rose to express concern about the administrative return to the units. He is particularly worried about those units which are funded entirely by external funds and return of ICR.

  3. Professor Helfand reported on behalf of the Faculty-Administration Working Group monitoring fundraising and other development activities for the Arts and Sciences. He observed that this particular working group represents an extraordinary model for how faculty and the administration can work together. He provided a summary of the report of the working group and noted that the entire report will be placed on the ECFAS website within a few weeks. He noted that the Arts and Sciences campaign goals and realized funds were as follows:
  4. Category


    Funds Raised

    % of Goal

    Endowed Professorships




    Endowed Financial Aid




    Capital Projects




    Current-Use Funds




    Professor Helfand went on to discuss various outcomes of the capital campaign. In total, the Arts and Sciences achieved 94% of its goal. With respect to capital projects, it is only missing a naming gift for the new dormitory. The current use contributions were an extremely good story, although, it continues to be a potential source of weakness since spending of current use dollars is not lagged by a year. The shortfall that occurred in GSAS endowed financial aid is expected to be addressed with a bequest. Because bequests are not booked until they are realized, it is not yet possible to apply that gift toward the goal. The goal for endowed Professorships was seen as very ambitious, having been set at 50 substitutional chairs. The intent was that they all be fully funded and all substitutional, unlike in previous campaigns. While the target has not yet been achieved, UDAR assures the Arts and Science that is will be able to complete fundraising for the remaining chairs within the next one to two years. Because the Arts and Sciences had constructed its budget in a way that stretched the projected income over a multi-year period, there will be no near-term impact. In concluding, Professor Helfand reiterated the strong expectation of the faculty that the goals for endowed professorships and GSAS financial aid must be addressed and met.

    Acting Dean Lindt rose to comment on the fact that the target for Graduate School financial aid was initially set far too low. She noted the importance of thinking of the needs on a much larger scope and reiterated that the Graduate School cannot continue to rely on Arts and Sciences general income and non-recurring sources like the Academic Quality Fund to support the Enhancement Plan. President Rupp acknowledged that the two areas of unfilled goals remain extremely important and gave assurances that the remaining chairs would be raised. Professor Frances Pritchett asked if this group were monitoring fundraising for the libraries. Mr. Derek Bellin responded that the only library-related goal in the capital campaign was for construction in the undergraduate library and that that goal was met. In concluding, Professor Helfand commented on the need for a more universally coherent fundraising model in the future at Columbia, similar to that of peers. He cited this as an important next step in the development of a long-term fundraising capability for the university.


  5. Acting Dean Gillian Lindt provided an update on the Graduate School. She called attention to her February 5, 2001 letter to the faculty outlining an agenda for faculty discussion and review that had been distributed with the call for the minutes. In response to a question from Professor Steven Kahn regarding what faculty should be considering, Acting Dean Lindt noted that there was no precedent for unionization in a private university. While the question of unionization at Yale has been ongoing for some years, no union has been voted for at Yale and the vote at NYU is still under consideration. She noted that faculty will have to deal with teaching fellows in the role of supervisors of employees, rather than as mentors of students, and expressed concern that this could lead to a dramatic change in the culture and environment. She told faculty that deciding to speak with students about unionization is an individual faculty decision but that she, as a faculty member, was concerned that the topic will not have sufficient exploration in order for everyone to make informed decisions. Professor Elaine Sisman indicated that faculty need information in order to have conversations with students, or even to decide whether they wanted to have conversations with students. Acting Dean Lindt reported that she was working to create a document to give background information on this topic to faculty and would be distributing it in about a week. Professor Alice Kessler-Harris urged a policy of neutrality.
  6. Acting Dean Lindt then invited discussion and questions about the seven items in her February 5, 2001 letter. Professor Robert Jervis asked how the proposed stipend levels would serve with respect to what peers are doing. Acting Dean Lindt indicated that the $15,000 puts Columbia in the upper tier for next year, with a 15% increase (29.8% over the last three years). She noted Princetonís plan to phase in four years of summer support while Columbia at this time is only projecting two. Professor Henry Pinkham expressed concern that we will still be expecting 10% of the students to be self-funded in year one. Acting Dean Lindt responded that all who make the grade will be funded in years two through five. With respect to Item 2 in her report, she noted that it was critical that departments develop plans to incorporate systematic instruction and mentoring, coupled with structured experiences, for preparing students to teach. This needs to be an integral part of every Ph.D. program. The Graduate School, however, recognizes that the shape and character of these particular components will vary across disciplines. With regard to Item 3 concerning the campaign for unionization of teaching fellows, Acting Dean Lindt indicated the need to get faculty perspective on this issue. GSAC is planning a community forum and Acting Dean Lindt hopes that all faculty who have a view will come to share in the discussion. Professor Patricia Grieve asked what those desiring the union believed they would get if they were unionized that they are not currently receiving. Acting Dean Lindt responded she could not answer that as she could not speak for students. She could only go by a flyer that was recently distributed which gives incomplete information or doesnít always compare apples to apples in its analysis. With respect to Item 4, increasing minority enrollments is a real challenge, not only at Columbia but nationwide. There is an important need to do more in this area. 2.9% of the graduate students in the Arts and Sciences are underrepresented minorities. Professor Steven Kahn noted that peers sometimes give higher stipends to minority students and Acting Dean Lindt reported that Columbia gives summer support. Housing was the last topic from Acting Dean Lindtís letter that was discussed. She noted that the concern extends beyond graduate students to post-doctoral fellows as the population of post-doctoral fellows has grown dramatically. There is now a committee trying to rationalize assignment of housing for graduate students and post-docs.

  7. New Business

By consensus, President Rupp adjourned the meeting at 1:40 p.m.


Prepared by

Roxie R. Smith