Meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Monday, October 29, 2001




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


1.      It was moved, seconded and approved that the minutes of the April 25, 2001 meeting be adopted as posted.


2.      Patricia Grieve, chair of the Executive Committee of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (ECFAS), opened with a statement noting concern regarding the impact that the events of September 11, 2001, may have on grades students will earn and on applications for admission to the University for Fall 2002.  ECFAS reiterated Vice President Cohen’s and the Deans’ call for faculty to be sensitive in the grading process to the experiences the students may be having as a result of world events.  ECFAS also called on the deans to prepare plans and to inform ECFAS about ways in which the faculty can be of assistance in ensuring the continued success in admissions that the Arts and Sciences has been enjoying in recent years.


She then gave the annual report of the ECFAS 2000-2001 activities which had been prepared by David Helfand, outgoing chair.  The report noted ECFAS’ role in 1) selecting members for the Faculty Development Committee; 2) nominating members for the Academic Review Committee; 3) providing three members to the Faculty Budget Group and 4) having its chair serve ex-officio on the Academic Review Committee.  Professor Helfand’s report cited a number of ways in which the Executive Committee had taken part in the ongoing activities of the Arts & Sciences. 


§         Concerned by the impact that the proposed energy and housing surcharges would have on the Arts & Sciences budget, ECFAS worked with the Vice President and the central administration to reduce the amount that the Arts & Sciences would be required to contribute, thereby achieving long-term savings in the ongoing budget.

§         ECFAS worked with the Arts & Sciences and the members of the University’s telecommunications staff to remove junk phone-mail from faculty voice messaging systems.

§         ECFAS wrote to President Rupp expressing concerns about the impact that the drive for unionization might have on the university and asking him to take various actions.

§         ECFAS began an analysis of the need for “topping off” external fellowships.  It hopes to come forward with a proposal earmarked for junior faculty in the near future.

§         ECFAS reviewed the development plan which had been created by the deans of the Arts & Sciences; it expressed concerns about various aspects of the plan in a joint meeting with the departmental chairs.

§         The Ad Hoc Committee on Development continued monitoring the fundraising efforts of University Development and Alumni Relations (UDAR).  It reported on the outcomes of the Capital Campaign as they related to the Arts & Sciences and that it will continue monitoring fundraising activities during the post-campaign period when Arts & Sciences will be the central focus of University fundraising. 

§         It began a review of the appointment status of lecturers and adjuncts.  A proposal has been developed and ECFAS will be working with the Arts & Sciences to refine that proposal.


At the end of the report, on behalf of the entire faculty and the Executive Committee of the Arts and Sciences, Professor Grieve expressed her thanks to Professor Helfand for his service as Vice Chair and then Chair of ECFAS.  Next, she welcomed three new members to ECFAS – Marc Van de Mieroop, Neni Panourgia, and Harold Evans.  She also reported that a special election would be held in February for a Vice Chair who is expected to assume the ECFAS chairmanship in July 2002.


Her final item dealt with the proposed unionization of graduate students.  She called the faculty’s attention to the data that are available on various web sites.  She also encouraged faculty to hold meetings so that students would have the chance to talk about unionization and hear faculty views.  She noted that ECFAS, in deciding to take no formal position on the matter of unionization, never intended faculty to be silent on the issue.


3.   Vice President Cohen began his remarks by calling attention to the awarding in October of the Nobel Prize in Economics to Joseph Stiglitz. 


Vice President Cohen went on to provide an overview of changes in the fundraising structure that have occurred at UDAR since the Capital Campaign ended.  He introduced Meg Dooley who is serving as the head of an expanded Arts & Sciences fundraising structure.  Within that structure, each school will have at least two major gift officers, and the central Arts & Sciences, for the first time, will also have two major gift officers.  In a reorganization of corporate and foundation relations, the Arts & Sciences will have a faculty liaison assigned to it,  and a writer has been assigned for preparing fundraising materials.  Vice President Cohen went on to announce some recent good news on fundraising.  A gift of $7.5 million has been received and will be directed to the establishment of five substitutional chairs.  President Rupp commented that this was an unrestricted gift and could have gone for uses anywhere in the university but, as part of the special focus on the Arts & Sciences, had been directed to substitutional chairs.  A gift of $2.5 million, has been received for graduate financial aid and a gift of $1 million, to be matched by $500,000 from a Mellon Challenge grant, has been received for a substitutional chair in Arabic language instruction.  Vice President Cohen noted that the coming year is going to be a challenging one for fundraising; the state of the economy already made the situation somewhat difficult and the events of September 11 could magnify that.


4.   Professor Robert Shapiro, chair of the Academic Review Committee, presented the annual report.  He noted that the Arts & Sciences will have completed a full cycle of academic reviews at the end of this year.  He expressed the special appreciation of the Academic Review Committee to all of the faculty who have worked on the internal review committees.


He noted that a process to consider the next phase of the Academic Review had begun.  A meeting of the past chairs of the Academic Review Committee was convened by Vice President Cohen to discuss the matter and to solicit their advice.  In addition, the Academic Review Committee discussed the matter at its last meeting.  It was the consensus of both groups that the academic review process should definitely continue and that it was particularly important to institutionalize the process.  It was recommended that the reviews be conducted in approximately the same order as the prior reviews, recognizing that there may be reasons to review some units sooner or later than the prior schedule would dictate.  It was also recommended that the reviews continue to include both external assessment teams and internal review committees as before, but that the membership on both should be changed to bring a fresh perspective to the review process.  Professor Shapiro noted that the self studies and final reports of the first reviews, as well as the two-year follow ups, will provide a base on which to build the next cycle of reviews.  President Rupp noted that academic review had been an important process for guiding the investments of the Arts & Sciences and that it was his sense that it was an especially well-done activity.  Vice President Cohen echoed President Rupp’s remarks, and added that he felt the reviews had been exceedingly productive and effective.  He noted that the academic review recommendations, along with instructional needs, served as the primary driver in resource allocation decisions of the Arts and Sciences.


Vice President Cohen then turned to the annual faculty size and effort report.  He noted that the faculty had grown by 30 FTEs over the past six years.  Most of the growth was in the senior ranks, the result of efforts to sustain or enhance departmental eminence.  As a consequence, the percent of tenured faculty had grown to a decade high of 69%. In response to faculty concern about this percentage, the Arts & Sciences has begun emphasizing junior faculty recruiting.  The effort to reduce the tenure ratio is not occurring in a mindless fashion, however, as junior faculty will still go to tenure where merited and the Arts & Sciences will continue to recruit senior faculty as is warranted by departmental programmatic plans and needs. 


With respect to instructional effort, credit enrollments grew at the predicted level.  Graduate enrollments have continued to decline with the planned downsizing of the Graduate School.  The credit enrollments per professorial rank FTE has remained stable, although there has been an increase in faculty involvement in undergraduate instruction.  This reflects both the downsizing of the Graduate School and an explicit decision by a number of departments to shift more faculty teaching toward undergraduate instruction.  Vice President Cohen also called attention to the fact that class size has shown no change since the Arts & Sciences compiled this data base in 1994-95.  In closing, he reminded faculty that these are aggregate data that can mask instances of significant deviation.  He cautioned that, while it was important to address such deviations, they should not unduly influence broader policy decisions in the Arts & Sciences.


5.      Provost Cole reported on the new School for Children.  He indicated that demolition began last week at the site for the school, excavation will begin in mid-November, and construction will start in December.  Plans call for the school to open in September 2003.  The school at  steady state will have 650 students in K-8.  Initially, it will open with grades K-4 and then move up one class per year for the next four years.  Children of faculty will automatically be entitled to admission.  Faculty will also receive a 30-40% tuition reduction and, through a means testing process, the need of faculty for greater amounts of financial aid will be addressed.  It is expected that 40-50% of the students will come from the local community. 


      The school planning committee is currently trying to assess what the faculty demand for spaces in the school will be.  This information is needed to estimate available space for children of officers of administration, Barnard faculty, Teachers College faculty and the broader community.  To determine this, a demand study is being conducted.  The university plans to hold a town meeting on November 19 to give faculty a chance to learn more about the school.  In addition, plans call for opening a web-site in mid-November.  Provost Cole was asked whether there were plans to extend the school into grades 9-12.  He reported that the building could not accommodate it.  He observed that part of the motivation for starting the K-8 school was that so much less was available in New York City at the elementary and middle school level than was available at the high school level.  Other questions were raised about the impact on nearby schools, the nature of the teaching faculty and the involvement of Columbia faculty in the planning effort.  Provost Cole indicated that there would be no incentives to encourage faculty to move their children from nearby schools, that teachers would be nationally recruited to staff the new school, and that there was a faculty planning committee which was working with Gardner Dunning in developing this enterprise.


6.      Professor Luciano Rebay raised an item of new business.  He distributed and read a document expressing his concern that six members of the Board of Guarantors of the Italian Academy were appointed by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  He made a motion that President Rupp 1) take steps to amend the Academy’s charter to have the six board members now appointed by the Italian Foreign Ministry be appointed instead by a consortium of presidents of Italian universities and academies, and 2) should report back to the faculty on this matter at its next regularly scheduled meeting on February 13, 2002.  In the absence of a second, the motion did not carry.  Profesor Grieve indicated that ECFAS would consider the motion..


By consensus, President Rupp adjourned the meeting at 1:10 p.m.


                        Prepared by


                        Roxie R. Smith