A&S Senate Meeting
April 17, 2017
Wang Center, LH 2
3:30-3:35 President's Report
3:35-3:45 Discussion of initiatives for next year: tenure file bloat, cross disciplinary tenure, procedure for closing programs
3:45-4:15 Linda Unger and Jennifer Jaiswal: teaching online
March 20, 2017
I. Approval of agenda: approved.
II. Approval of minutes from February 20, 2017: approved.
M. Schedel: I am here for a very short time today because I am across the way in the Chapel with our Visiting Artist Christin Sun Kim. Darren will be your President for the rest of the meeting while Sacha runs a discussion on the Strategic Plan. Trevor can you act as President until Darren arrives? T. Sears agreed.
III. Discussion of Strategic Plan (S.Kopp)
- I have been going to all departments to discuss the College’s Strategic Plan. When we first crafted something, it was very high level and spoke about some overall goals for us at the college. But it didn’t get down to looking at what happens at a program or department level. The University has a strategic plan which says that we will be a very good research campus, that we will do great work in graduate and undergraduate teaching, that we will do our best to provide great health care for Long Island, and that we will be a source of economic vitality. The parts of that plan seem most relevant for us are not the health care part because we don’t have a clinical apparatus within this college and we’re not as driven by economic incubation as other parts of this campus are. Let’s focus on the other four goals of the six that seem most relevant to us which are Research and Discovery, Teaching, Diversity and Public Impact. Across all faculty and staff we spent some time coming up with specific objectives that would help. In the area of diversity we had the idea to create a post-doc program for underrepresented minorities that would pipe them into tenure track positions. In the area of graduate education we said we needed to work on stipends for graduate students and build that up. There were a couple hundred suggestions made. That was too much. A number of other meetings then led to prioritizing so we were down to five or so detailed objectives for each of those goals. Still doesn’t speak to resources at the department and program level. We have to start thinking about where we start. Do you start with specific programs and invest there and see what happens or do you spread out. We have to have a plan for that. The document I put out for your consideration is a framework that has been talked about in our chair’s council meetings for some time that it’s not necessarily a purely evaluative framework, it’s meant to be a diagnostic framework. It would allow us to look at things we care about or at least correlated with the things we care about. For every resource we should be looking at these kind of diagnostic metrics and say if you have more resources how do track the return on that investment or if you’re in a time of scarce resources, which is often the case, then how do you prioritize what to do with those scarce resources. The thing I was hoping for us to discuss is a long list of metrics that may or may not be tracking everything we care about but I’d like your input on whether or not it’s a sufficient set. I know there are things that we could come up with that would be good that we should be tracking but I will tell you the merit of the list that I have so far is that it is entirely almost something that requires no work because our Office of Institutional Research pretty much accumulates this data already.
N. Goodman: Qualitative assessments – there is an issue with transparency at the
department level. Metrics used need to be understood by all.
S. Kopp: The purpose of developing this list is to try to increase the transparency of what kinds of things drive us. In a qualitative way I felt like working off of ideas like this. It’s what has been driving me to look into resource allocation up until now. I hope that this will never become algorithmic because what that will always do is reward some departments that are in apositive position and continually not reward departments who are in a negative position. Every year we need to have a discussion on what we are trying to achieve. You have to make a multi-year commitment.
P. Bingham: The CAS level strategic decisions of the future are going to need to be met. For the Senate to participate in a public discussion of those strategic decisions we need more data than we have right now. We don’t have enough data to participate intelligently in that conversation. This was the message from the Finance and Budget Committee that spent three years talking about the level of transparency, that’s the message from Capra right now. On the third page there is a nice table which has a whole bunch of metrics. I would love to see that same table department by department, discipline by discipline.
S. Kopp: I’d be happy to provide it. I actually have a first cut of that but I first wanted to talk about the principle of it this semester and I wanted to give it time for discussion. But then we have to have the sensitivity to say, alright but recognize that by department by department there are going to be some differences like some departments by virtue of their curriculum they are offering are going to have fewer credits per faculty member than another one because that’s the nature of the discipline.
P. Bingham: The argument is that we need to make decisions about where our resources go so that we are not unable to do anything with because resources are so poorly distributed and pre-decisions are not being made. I think there is a lot of concern that that’s where we are at right now, that we are starving things because we are not willing to make decisions.
S. Kopp: This is an attempt to share with you a framework to not do that. We are going to have another big budget cut and it will be difficult for us to swallow in that same across the board fashion. I really want us to be comfortable with these as the principles of metrics because I want to come back to you and say I’ve got a million dollar budget cut and I don’t have all the wisdom of what we should do but based on some numbers like this I think we have to make some strategic decisions.
P. Bingham: Norm, I’d be interested in your input on whether we couldn’t come back with suggestions on what should be added to this, perhaps more data lines? But the ultimate goal being that this table is made publicly available or at least with password protection to university senate members.
S.Kopp: I’m not asking you to evaluate the decisions here.
N. Goodman: Consultation means we talk before final decisions. It’s about the sharing of ideas.
??: How far back are do these numbers go?
S. Kopp: These numbers in this table are all circa summer of 2016. This is a snapshot.
???: An annual snapshot?
S. Kopp: The goal would be to make this an annual snapshot.
P. Bingham: Collecting data, tabulating it annually and having multiple annual data sets over time driving toward that level of information can be extraordinarily valuable in helping us. Assuming there’s general agreement, what remains is what lines should be added or subtracted.
S. Kopp: I am working close with the Dean of the Graduate School and the Provost. I’d like us all to be looking at the same data.
N. Goodman: In addition to the data ??? The second part of that is the reasoning behind using the data before the decision is being made. We need to understand what needs to be done but also what your vision is.
P. Bingham: I think there’s a lot of appetite for self-denial even some self-sacrifice if it’s in pursuit of common well-stated goals. If we’re being asked to sacrifice the things we don’t understand or things that we’re not sure we’d buy into, that’s a whole different psychology and a whole different level of response. Transparency is really designed to get us all to the point where we’re rowing in the same direction. It’s really about building consensus, about building commitment to shared visions.
N. Goodman: There are going to be cuts not increases in most places. The way that we could get through this is if we all understand not only what the cuts are but why are they being made.
S. Kopp: If we’re to make cuts, I would love it if it somehow made us better in some way. I do not want to repeat some of the past like cuts across the board and putting greater burdens on every single program.
??: Could you clarify your desire to have clear goals but also to not want algorithmic and could you talk about the contrast between that and how you see that going?
S. Kopp: There’s going to be some subjectivity into what happens. We might look at a set of data like this for a department or a program and say clearly this department is mission critical because look at all the dimensions or different metrics here where it’s really key to undergraduate education, it’s graduate program is doing important things, sponsored research is off the chart, etc. All these things can be made clear and that we have to work hard on protecting that program/department. Then there will be others where you say there are some aspects of this that don’t look like they are as successful and the subjective part is well maybe we would like it to be because it’s so aligned with other elements of the campus or maybe we would say the opposite, maybe it’s not aligned with the rest of the campus, we can’t do it because we would be trying to essentially start from scratch.
J. Souza: I think it’s important to do this because what typically happens now is it ends up being a zero sum or a negative sum. You come up with something that actually works and then of course the resources are not reinvested in something that works. But instead if we can turn that around and say o.k. this works, let’s generalize this in some way, shape or form for the rest of the university thereby creating even more revenue than you had before then it starts to become positive. I think what everyone else is afraid of is that ??? successful they are just going to take away from you anyway. They are going to take the revenue from me anyway and not let me reinvest it back into what I’m doing. Transparency is necessary here not to make people feel like they are being cut, but what you are doing is that you’re taking things that are working and taking that strategy that works and helping other people develop strategy that also works in their department.
P. Bingham: It’s possible for cuts to become synergistic cuts by defunding things that are revenue generating to the point that they go away and you not only lose that tax revenue but you lose the revenue that you destroyed by taxing it.
S. Kopp: That’s not the goal here.
P. Bingham: I know it’s not the goal. It’s the effect and if you don’t look at the granular data carefully you can have that effect in spite of your intentions to the contrary.
S. Kopp: Noted.
P. Bingham: So I guess there is a call for us to add or subtract data lines from this table? I can suggest ??? patents that there are some in disciplines in the college ?? and occasionally that’s a source of revenue generation.
S. Kopp: What’s the mechanism that those revenues ultimately come through? Do they come through the VPR?
P. Bingham: There is a formula for the sharing of patent revenues but I don’t remember it very well.
S. Kopp: Nothing but the formula like what fraction of the revenues come to the department, but what’s the way that it actually ends up in the department? Is it through the VPR?
T. Sears: Yes, from the VPR.
S. Kopp: Then it’s actually being captured here because the data line that says we are going to track grant revenues and fellowship revenues. I get that from two sources. One aspect of this comes from the VPR’s office which is tracked by them and the second part that’s relevant for our more of our Humanities and Social Science departments is I track all fellowships and buy-outs because in many disciplines there aren’t federal grants but there are private foundation grants that allow faculty to go out on research leave.
P. Bingham: I guess we need to confirm with OVPR that it is captured.
S. Kopp: The OVPR puts out a monthly report on grants and IDC per academic unit. So if that includes patent..
P. Bingham: We’re assuming it does but I can’t verify it.
S. Kopp: I want to call your attention to another aspect of this document. There is another memo in here around our budget. The first chart shows our expenses and our allocation over the past several years and projected out into the future. The allocation comes in the form of a bar chart and expenses is the curve that sits over the top of that. When the curve and the bar chart don’t meet it means that we’re in deficit which has happened for several years running and will probably happen several years running and will probably happen for several years in the future because it’s going to take us a while to get our operating deficit down to zero. When I arrived here there was a bigger deficit then I thought and I asked for a window to try to work on this and not lock up the college in terms of not being to hire or do strategic investments so we made a five-year plan for this. As much as possible, I’m trying to work this so that we are increasing revenues and allocation, not decreasing expenses in the form of attritioning personnel. If you look at this chart going from last year to this year, we actually cost more because we managed to generate more revenues and used that to invest in more recruitments or more key personnel. My hope is over the next few years is to project more and more revenue with everyone’s help so that we can continue to fuel the kinds of hiring that we think is most important. What that will mean is by the time this plan is over is that the university will have will have a certain level of funding for all of us that’s at the level of about 90% or so and because of state budget cuts, that last 10% will have to come from other sources then state allocation. We’ve actually been doing pretty well the last couple of years. If you look at the bottom chart of the page it’s a chart of revenues from tuition programs, summer programs, winter programs and master’s programs and they have been on the rise since 2014. This is what is allowing us to bring deficit down and maintain a recently aggressive front of hiring for faculty and staff. The thing that has been most effective are online programs in the winter and summer.
IV. Old Business: no old business.
V. New business: no new business.