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A&S Senate
Tentative Agenda
March 20, 2017


I.  President’s Report (M. Schedel)
II.  Discussion of CAS Strategic Plan (S. Kopp)


A&S Senate
February 20, 2017

I.  Approval of agenda:  approved.

II.  Approval of minutes from November 21, 2016:  approved.

III.  President’s Report (M. Schedel)

  • During the Executive Committee meeting it came up that the Chairs from the Arts and Sciences were sent an email about the Honors College teaching and the rules around that are possibly changing.  We’ve invited Anne Moyer, Faculty Director of the Honors College, to come and talk to us about those proposed changes.

IV.  Honors College (A.Moyer)

  • We currently have an enrollment of 299 students. 
  • Our admission is selective.  Successful applicants to these programs have historically had a 95-99% high school GPA.  Admission is based on a range of criteria.  We look for bright and energetic students who have demonstrated an ability to succeed in our rigorous academic program and to take advantage of the research, creative and cultural opportunities available here at Stony Brook.  Admission is highly competitive.
  • Our current students are enrolled in 40 different majors.  At the heart of our academic excellence is a specialized interdisciplinary curriculum. 
  • Ultimately the success of this curriculum is in recruiting high quality and engaged instructors.  Some of the challenges include forming these interdisciplinary teams of three people from three different disciplines who may not know each other in advance, need to gel intellectually and be available during the same time slots.  We offer four of these each year.  Also, I’ve experienced having to recruit instructors to cover more sections due to the recent increase in the size of the entering class.  There has been a tradition of compensating faculty through extra service when they take on an overload.  All of our one credit courses are funded that way.  We’ve also had the latitude to support our instructors through a Journal Transfer to their departments to buy out their effort to teach for us.  Departments do what they wish with this funding but they often hire a graduate student to help with the support.  Over the past six semesters we’ve recruited from 9-12 instructors per semester for our three credit courses and from 8-13 instructors per semester for our one credit 101 and mini courses.  The number of instructors who we’ve compensated through a Journal Transfer has been on average 2.5 per semester and is over a course of six semesters.  There is a notion that Honors College teaching should not impact the exposure of the undergraduates in their respective departments to their department faculty.  The sentiment, I believe, was the motivation behind the email that created a fury over the winter break asking chairs not to have any faculty in their department teaching for the Honors College in lieu of teaching in their departments.  One point to consider is that Honors College students are also students in the College of Arts and Sciences.  More than half our majors are in the College of Arts and Sciences and it could be argued that exposing non Arts and Sciences students to Arts and Sciences faculty may have some positive benefits too including Arts and Sciences faculty as instructors in our curriculum are exposed to talented students who may join their labs or do their honors thesis with them.  Our students are not constrained to do their thesis in their major.  They can choose a faculty mentor anywhere. 
  • I had the opportunity to meet with the Dean and Charlie Robbins over the winter break to discuss some of the challenges of recruiting good faculty for the Honors College and abruptly moving to what is at least in practice a new policy in Journal Transfer compensation.  There is still some legitimate uncertainty as to whether this is indeed a new policy or simply an old policy that was not enforced.  The extra service compensation for a three credit course was still at the levels of $3,500.  Two helpful resolutions came out of our conversation.  The Dean acknowledged that as we make the transition to do our best to honor the students arrangements so we have wiggle room if we need it and the second one is that the Provost agreed to raise the compensation for a three credit course to $5,000. 

P. Bingham: This money comes from the Provost.  Are faculty to get paid in addition to their normal salary?
A. Moyer:  That is correct
P. Bingham:  What is Sacha’s rational for not letting them exchange?  Is the argument in fact that Honor College students are less deserving than other CAS students?
A. Moyer:  If I remember correctly, it’s important for undergraduates in their particular majors, to have access to the most gifted professors who are teaching in their majors.
M. Schedel:  I know that this is CAS but there are Engineering people that teach as well.  
A. Moyer:  We have fewer Engineering faculty that teach for us.  A third of the students are engineering students.

V.  FRRP Teaching Observations Guidelines (C. Davidson)

  • We will draft a formal document after this meeting. You have had a couple of months to comment on the last draft.  We did incorporated the suggestions that were made. For example there was a suggestion that the window that we offer as the period the faculty member should be given notice of an upcoming observation was too vague so I put in a two week which is flexible.
  • Departments should have autonomy over their own guidelines and the teachers should know what they are being evaluated on when they are observed. 
  • I’ve included a sample teaching observation guidelines grid. 
  • We suggest that you go talk with Patricia Aceves or Linda Unger for help in formulating departmental guidelines that fit your department or program.
  • Would like to leave this open for another week or so and then take it to the A&S Executive Committee. 

P. Bingham:  Is this going to become a uniform policy?  Are we going to be forced to change our current policy?  What institutional requirements are there?
C. Davidson:  this is not an institutional required.  This is simply to help chairs and faculty to get on the same page about this.  If you have a system in your department that works for everyone and there are no complaints about it, if you can just maybe write up what you do currently in whatever format is appealing to you.  You are writing this for new faculty or current faculty that are being observed.

VI.  Discussion on Tenure File Bloat

M. Schedel:  There is too much paper in tenure files.  This creates a lot of work for on department level and the administrators that have to be double checking that the PDF that the professors send matches the hard copy of the book.  We’ve just had a huge spike in hiring and that is why we split the PTC into two committees.   We are now trying to think about trying to reduce the tenure file size.  What I suggested to Sacha was perhaps having a smaller file which is the one that is rigorously vetted and then a larger appendix.

T. Sears:  The PTC has quite rigorous guidelines as to what should be in these files.  The files are often scanned from paper files the department has generated, prints them out and scans the whole thing to PDF  ??? format which is impossible to go through and search.  I think we have to amend the PTC guidelines and one obviously thing we can do is get rid of some supplementary material.  There is also duplication.  The guidelines and CV appear in several places. 

???:  At other universities and I assume this university, the reason for including all those different emails is to protect the candidate.  
T. Sears:  We are not getting rid of it.  We are going to put it somewhere else so it’s not in the body of the file.  
???: I’ve been in situations where some people are evaluated and some of those little email back and forths with the evaluators are not necessarily as unbiased as they should be and you don’t know that until you read through them all.
P. Manning:  I am Chair of the PTC-Senior at the moment.  If the department chair is determined to choose, he will choose.  I think it’s true having a full email chain does give you the allusion that you have seen everything, but you can’t in fact know that.  I am not as persuaded of the efficacy of the fullness and I used to be.  It seems to me that one boiler plate letter with an indication and probably that email saying I sent this would be sufficient.  What we are now faced with is that there are now fifteen referees with fifteen copies of exactly the same letter and that seems unnecessary to do.  You want to ensure that the letter goes out is the boiler plate letter.  Another thing that came up is that the vita appears in several places.  There was one proposal to ask referees to submit smaller vitae then the ones they have submitted.  We thought publications in the actual file could be more selective.

??:  I don’t understand why you don’t want all of someone’s publications.  Just because it’s large and no one wants to read them?  That’s also the document that individual departments use to evaluate.  
T. Sears:  There will be some selectivity.  Just need five key publications at Brookhaven Lab.
M. Schedel:  The department organizes it and the Deans office has to go through it to check for accuracy.  It’s too much work for everybody and so we are trying to create a compromise.  We would like to slim that down, reduce that burden but still have the other items there for reference.  
??:  There is also a technological problem.  Anything over 10MG and my colleagues are having enormous trouble accessing all the materials.  I know from from Ellen Broselow and Lois Carter that the university is in discussion with outside providers to handle the materials that facilitate problems like this and the pressure wouldn’t be as great.  
P. Bremer:  When I send out a file I still have to have PDF’s of all the publication as well as the hard copies.  
T. Sears:  We are suggesting select five or six key publications.
P. Bremer:  I think Junior faculty would be very concerned.
??:  I recognize my responsibility to the candidate and I wouldn’t want the candidate to be either discouraged to remove all their interdisciplinary  because they know that they are only going to be able to send five publications out.
P. Manning:  When a candidate had two fields, there were two different groups of reviewers and the reviewers got a list of all the publications but the department sent only the papers of the fields of those reviewers.  The department didn’t send everything out to everybody.  I think it should be left to the discretion of the department.  There should be a list of all of the publications.
M. Schedel:  Can I have a sense of the body is that we would like the PTC’s to look into changing this and they would be open to suggestions by chairs, interested parties, etc?  We want them to go forward with this and perhaps work with the Deans office.  Maybe we could make task force with staff and some members of each PTC and some people from the Deans Office.  I think that group to come up with an effective solution.  I would want the task force to look at interdisciplinary scholars because I believe they have been severely disadvantaged under the current system.

VII.  Discussion of Survey Results (M. Schedel)

  • The University sent out a survey and the results are on the website.  The two leaders that we have sort of a direct line to the CAS are Dean Sacha Kopp and Dean Constantinou.  The Library one is a little tricky because it was kind of smushed in both how she is as Dean and how the Libraries in general are perceived by faculty and staff.  Both had some issues and we are trying to figure out how to proceed from this point.  The Senate Executive Committee has spoken to President Stanley about this and he sort implied the problems are all because we are in a tight budget.  We would like a stronger response from administration.

P. Bingham:  There is budget process is going to unfold in the next couple of months. I don’t think this Senate should walk away from this.
N. Goodman:  We should see what happens as a result of the survey. It is not our job to deal with the individuals directly.   It’s the Provost’s job.  The Executive Committee has spoken with him.  
P. Bingham:  Should we wait a few months to see what happens?  President Stanley’s response is completely unacceptable.  
M. Schedel:  None of the comments were related to money.  It was also difficult since Dennis Assanis left before survey results came out.
N. Goodman:  The administration usually says it’s a personnel matter and they cannot comment on it.  It’s not a personnel matter solely.  This was a survey where people gave their opinions.  There needs to be some action taken as a result of it.
M. Schedel:  E. Feldman, President of the University Senate, suggested that I meet with the Provost as a representative of this body.  
M. Schedel:  We can do another survey in a year or so 
P. Di Pasquale-Alvarez:  The President, Provost, VP for HSC could ask for more details, more comments.  No one has asked for the rest of the comments. 
M. Schedel:  If anyone doesn’t want to speak on the record today I am available to talk to. I will also ask that the A+S Executive Committee meet with the Provost if this body thinks that is appropriate.

Meeting adjourned.

Submitted by:

Laurie Cullen