Arts and Sciences Senate


November 19, 2007    


The meeting was called to order at 3:35 p.m. by President Cynthia Davidson


I. Approval of agenda:  approved


II.  Approval of minutes:  approved with two corrections.


III.  Provost’s Report (E. Kaler):

  • There are a lot of challenges and opportunities at Stony Brook.
  • The quality of the undergraduate body and its diversity are improving.
  • Highest budget priority is to find ways to enhance graduate student stipends.
  • The academic budget is not as robust as it should be.  The new 5-year plan is finalized and it will be used as a benchmark guide to create budget priorities.


Dr. Davidson asked about the faculty survey on the first-year experience.  Dr. Kaler:  there is a task force devoted to improving the first-year experience for students.  The questionnaire is meant to get feedback from faculty members.  Dr. Kuchner responded by adding that she is on the subcommittee.  They are developing another survey next spring including questions on the grading system for the 102.  Dr. Kuchner believes that the A&S Senate is the body for feedback.  Dr. Goodman suggested that departmental undergraduate directors be approached. 


IV.  Report on the College of Arts and Sciences (J. Staros):

  • Since last meeting discussed with Provost Kaler the tabled issue of Sr. Lecturers.  Reviving talks and will move forward with this by end of semester.
  • Dr. Goodman:  What about the delay in hiring?  Dean Staros:  seven searches were approved so there was no change.
  • Dr. Davidson:  What is happening with the Departmental discretionary budget?  Dean Staros:  Merit roster has been approved.  The actual merit raises should be in December paychecks retroactive from Sept. 1st for regular academic employees.


Dr. Silverman commented that the FRRP committee worked very hard to get this Senate to have a separate committee that vets specifically the promotion of lecturer to Sr. Lecturer.  This is now all in place.


V.  Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Policy Committee Report (H. Silverman):

  • The committee worked with the Dean of Journalism to come up with criteria for promotion and tenure.  The School of Journalism has separate conditions.
  • Prepared a table on cross departmental secondary academic appointments (regular FT Stony Brook faculty).
  • Prepared guidelines for promotion from Lecturer to Sr. Lecturer.
  • Worked on the establishment of a Sr. Lecturer promotion review committee (which was approved by the A&S Senate).
  • Dr. Silverman went on to explain the Guidelines for Cross-departmental Secondary Academic Appointments for regular FT Stony Brook Faculty (see attached chart).
  • One issue the committee (and the Senate Graduate Council) have been discussing is the question of dissertations (whether you are an inside or outside reader of dissertation).  If you have a joint title appointment you would always be an inside reader. 
  • Dean Staros commented that affiliate faculty are voted by secondary appointments.
  • Dr. Goodman questioned the actual title of a joint appointment.  Does it include the two or more departments?  Dr. Silverman:  If you held two appointments in Sociology and Psychology, for instance, your title would be Professor of Sociology and Psychology.
  • There was discussion regarding budgetary splits and the words “equally” and “primarily”
  • Dr. Geeta wanted to know why programs were not included.  Dr. Silverman:  it should be included.  The table should read department or program.


Dr.  Davidson moved to have the report accepted.  All in favor.  The report is accepted.


VI.  Report on Southampton (M. Schoonen)

  • Southampton has approximately 120 fully matriculated students.  Sixty students in Marine Sciences.
  • Have a growing MFA program with approximately 40 graduate students.  Just received accreditation from the State Education Department.
  • Have four new majors.  Waiting to hear comments back from Albany.
  • The faculty-student center, cafeteria, bookstore, wellness center and student lounge are in operation.
  • There are 82 resident students.  A third residence hall will come on-line in January 2008.
  • Recruiting more faculty members since there will be an increase in student body.
  • There will be approximately 400 new students by next fall 2008.
  • Dr. Walter:  Any transfer policy?  Dr. Schoonen:  Wouldn’t be considered a transfer because the student is already a Stony Brook student.
  • Dr. Davidson:  Is there any public transportation?  Dean Schoonen:  Yes, there we have a Biodiesel bus that goes back and forth.
  • Dr. Silverman:  How do you anticipate sending us a Senator from Southampton?  Dr. Schoonen:  Would be difficult given the distance?  Looking at video conferencing.


VII.  Proposed Addition to A&S Constitution:  Resolution on Standing Committee Autonomy (C. Davidson)

  • Background:  This issue came to our attention this year.  One of the Standing Committees (Curriculum) had asked us to deal with the situation in which a standing committee felt  pressure, not from the academic sector, but other sectors as far as deadlines and making decisions.  Dr. Davidson read the proposed resolution:


Proposed Resolution 

(Addition to Arts and Sciences Senate Constitution, Section C9)


Academic decisions by the Arts and Sciences Senate’s Standing Committees must be based primarily on sound academic principles.   When reviewing courses or programs or devising academic policies, the committees should not be asked to consider or accommodate extra-academic issues.  Individuals and programs having proposals under review should limit their contact with Committees to informational exchanges.  They may request a meeting with the Chair, Executive Secretary, and/or full Committee, and if invited, may meet to clarify issues of an academic nature, but attempts to lobby or pressure the Committee Chair, Executive Secretary, and/or individual committee members, especially by invoking financial or institutional considerations, are inappropriate.  Should such attempts occur, members of the Standing Committees shall report them to the Senate Executive Committee for further action.


  • Dr. Thomas Kerth stated that when he was on the Curriculum Committee, departments would manage to have one of their faculty members elected to the Curriculum Committee and have an inside push and would shout down any objections.  Was unpleasant.  Seems the strategy has changed.  People now simply pressure the committee as a whole (without being on the committee).
  • Dr. Fred Walter feels this proposal should be dropped.  It seems if you have a strong chair, he/she should control what the committee is doing.  If the Chair feels pressured, he/she certainly has the right to talk to the A&S Senate President or the Executive Committee.
  • Dr. Goodman agreed with Dr. Walter.    It should be up to the chair and in some cases the Dean.
  • Dr. Robert Kerber:  In defense of the second sentence in the resolution, it doesn’t say the committee cannot consider or accommodate extra-academic issues.  It says they cannot be asked to do so.  This is a useful statement of our intention.
  • Dr. Silverman agrees with Dr. Goodman and Dr. Walter.
  • Dr. Valerie Lantz-Gerfoh:  What was questioned was the fact that the Curriculum Committee  was asked to meet over the summer to pass Southampton courses and if they were going to be paid to do that.  The meetings were held, courses passed and they were not paid.  Many Journalism courses as well were put on fast-track which also put a great amount of pressure on the Committee.  Seems that that the statement needs to be re-worded to be more explicit.
  • Dr. Davidson:  It this is going to go into the constitution, it shouldn’t refer to this particular issue.  It should somehow apply to external pressures put upon all standing committees in general.
  • Dr. Goodman:  The constitution defines the structure of the organization.  It does not define this type of resolution.
  • Dr. Frank Myers:  We should find some way to provide support for the committees.  This resolution is far too detailed.  The last sentence is unnecessary.  Further action is not even specified.  We may be able to find a one sentence formula that would say something like “when a Standing Committee is deliberating, individuals and programs who want to approach them should ask informational questions only”. 
  • Dr. Davidson:  Maybe we should take out the beginning and end sentences.
  • Dr. Walter was curious as to why the Curriculum Committee didn’t feel that they weren’t getting any support for the Senate.  This did happen over the summer, but the Executive Committee is supposed to be available all summer when issues arise.
  • Dr. Georges Fouron:  Dr. Tomes did email on this issue.  Response was to tell her that he was in a similar situation when PEP was being considered for accreditation.  You had to have the documents ready for Pep.   This happened in May and people were going on vacation.  Dr. McGrath said that this is a compelling and very important subject.  We couldn’t afford to let Pep lose accreditation.  The committee met in the summer and was paid.  Southampton curriculum had to be approved for September semester.  Felt that the Curriculum Committee should go along with the request, not to pass the courses without looking at them, but to do the job but make sure you get paid for the extra term.
  • Dr. Davidson:  Will discuss this at next meeting and will revise the proposed resolution.
  • Dr. Kuchner:  Might have an opportunity to change the behavior.  That the clarification of work for governance as appropriate for summer money and how that is going to be established.  Do not think there are any guidelines about this.  There is no mechanism to negotiate.  This would not be a constitution issue.
  • Dr. Silverman:  Most faculty are on a 10-month salary.  Officially we cannot be expected to work for those two summer months (that we do not get paid for).  It would be inappropriate to pay members of a committee to work during the summer to perform their function.  You can ask faculty to work on a project in some way or another and pay them but not as members of governance.  We have to make sure those lines are very clear.
  • Dr. Davidson:  there are two separate issues here. Summer work for governance and pressure on committees.  We will discuss this further at the next meeting.


Dr. Davidson had no President’s Report.


VIII.  Old Business:  No old business.


IX.  New Business:  No new business.


Adjourned at 5:05 p.m.


Submitted by:


Laurie Theobalt