University Senate Proposed: November 22, 2002
MINUTES OF NOVEMBER 1, 2002
President Lee Bollinger called the meeting to order shortly after 1:15 pm in 501 Schermerhorn. Sixty-six of 96 senators were present during the meeting.
Minutes and agenda: The agenda was adopted as proposed. The minutes of September 27, 2002 were adopted with a minor revision.
President’s report: The president mentioned two main issues that are occupying his attention now. One is space, which he addressed at the previous meeting. The other is the University budget over the next several years. The economic downturn, both in this country and beyond, is fairly serious, and Columbia must respond prudently, he said. If it lasts longer than a year, the institution may have to make some serious choices. The president said it’s also important to take a careful look at what Columbia is doing in certain areas, and consider possible changes. He will speak more precisely about the near- and long-term financial picture over the next few months.
Finally, the president was pleased to announce that the women’s cross-country team had just won the Ivy League championship, and the men had finished second.
Late changes in committee assignments: The Senate approved a list of changes in committee assignments that had been distributed at the door.
Executive Committee chairman’s report: Chairman Paul Duby (Ten., SEAS) noted the large turnout, and hoped it was large enough to take action of the resolution to expand the role of researchers in the Senate.
He said Sen. Sharyn O’Halloran would be providing an update on the interim report of the Online Learning and Digital Media Initiatives Committee, which she chairs.
—Trustee plenary meeting of October 5: At the meeting, which Sens. Duby and Roosevelt Montas (Stu., GSAS/Hum) had attended as observers, President Bollinger had not reported, perhaps for the same reason that his first reports to the Senate have been brief. The Trustees’ alumni affairs and education committees had called for more attention to Columbia athletics, stressing the value of athletics for fund raising and overall alumni involvement. The Trustees heard that Columbia is so far adhering to its budget projections, though they are concerned about the current economic environment. The Trustees have created an independent investment company, to be overseen by the Trustees’ finance committee.
Finally, the Trustees held their second vote on the creation of the School of Continuing Education, as they are required to do with all actions that imply changes in the University Statutes. Sen. Duby said that, for the first time in his experience as an observer, several Trustees raised questions about this academic decision, expressing concern that the proliferation of programs might affect the value of Columbia degrees. Sen. Duby said the active involvement of Trustees in such discussions is welcome, and added that it is important for them to be aware of the work of the Senate, which is charged to review and establish new academic programs. He said the Senate should provide the Trustees with all the material it considers in reviewing program proposals, along with some record of Senate deliberations.
He said these considerations should inform discussion of the item of new business on the agenda for the present meeting—the proposed Doctor of Nursing Practice
—Senate Record column: Sen. Duby said that the “From the Senate” column in the University Record on the September meeting was unusually short, an outcome he attributed to an unfortunate misunderstanding. He hoped to straighten out the matter with Vice President for Communications June Massell in the next few days.
Sen. Duby said the Executive Committee, after long discussion, had decided to present the Resolution to Establish the Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree for discussion only at the present meeting, to give Education Committee members and faculty from the nursing and medical schools to present their case and answer questions.
—Discussion: In response to questions from Sens. Joan Ferrante (Ten., A&S/Hum) and Montas, Sen. Duby explained that the shortening of the Record column amounted to the exclusion of two paragraphs: one reporting on a presentation by Faculty Affairs Committee chair Eugene Litwak (Ten., A&S/SS), the other on the responses of Provost Cole and Vice President Cohen.
Sen. Ferrante said it was her understanding that if the Senate column was on time and did not exceed a certain length, it would run in the Record as submitted.
The president said he had spoken with Vice President Massell about the matter, but neither had been aware of a past understanding about the handling of the column. He said he would look into the matter.
Sen. Duby said he had expected to hear from Vice President Massell before any decision was made to cut the column. His own opinion was that the two excluded paragraphs were objective.
Sen. Luciano Rebay (Ten., A&S/Hum) said that sanitizing meeting documents, such as the Senate column in the Record or the minutes of Arts and Sciences faculty meetings, has been an unfortunate and all-too-frequent practice at Columbia. He mentioned the minutes presented at the last A&S faculty meeting, which he said had omitted important parts of the discussion at the previous meeting, and which he had voted not to accept.
Sen. Suzanne Bakken (Ten., Nursing) asked what the parliamentary procedure would be if senators present wanted to vote at the present meeting on the proposed Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.
Howard Jacobson, Deputy General Counsel and the Senate parliamentarian, said any proposal submitted from the floor must be referred to a committee.
Sen. Duby said the consensus of the Executive Committee was to bring the measure to the Senate for discussion only. He said individual members of Education had expressed a number of concerns that deserve consideration before any vote.
The president called for deferring consideration of the parliamentary question until the Nursing School proposal comes up on the agenda.
—Resolution to Expand Senate Representation for Officers of Research (Structure and Operations, enclosed): The president began the discussion by noting that the present resolution implies changes to the University Statutes, and therefore requires the support of three-fifths of all incumbent senators.
Sen. Carlos Munoz (Alum.) said the functions spelled out in the mandate of the proposed researchers’ committee sounded more like administrative roles than those of a University Senate committee.
Sen. James Applegate (Ten., A&S/NS), a member of Structure and Operations, presented the proposal in place of committee chairman Richard Bulliet, who was out of the country. He said the most familiar picture of the University, perhaps including students who learn, faculty who teach, and administrators who facilitate, omits an important constituency—officers of research. This diverse group ranges from post-doctoral officers, whose work is a standard first step in the career path of scientists after receiving their Ph.D., to more senior professional roles parallel to those of regular faculty.
Sen. Applegate said it is fair to say that modern research universities could not operate without officers of research, who are roughly in number to regular faculty. Whereas the regular faculty have formal teaching duties and are paid mostly out of the University’s operating budget, research officers do not have formal teaching duties (though many of them do teach and also research grants), and are paid mostly out of federal research funds. In his field, astrophysics, Sen. Applegate said research officers are indispensable.
Sen. Applegate said an ad hoc researchers’ committee worked for more than a year, wrote a reasonable report, which has been vetted for some months by Structure and Operations, which produced the resolution now before the Senate. Its principal aspects are the expansion of the Senate to add four new research officer seats to the two seats they have now, a change in the title used to refer to them in certain University documents, and the creation of a standing committee to address their concerns.
In response to Sen. Munoz’s earlier comment that the committee’s mandate was officious and ill-suited to a Senate committee, Sen. Applegate said it closely echoed the first paragraph part of the mandate of the Senate Faculty Affairs Committee. After three years the researchers’ committee will consider whether to recommend adding the formal consideration of researchers’ grievances to their mandate.
Sen. Nachum Sicherman (Ten., Bus.) asked if there is a limit on the number of researchers per school or department, as with other off-ladder titles, such as professors of practice. He asked why they shouldn’t go through the tenure review process.
Sen. Applegate said his sense was that there is a clear need for researchers’ services, but without institutional willingness or ability to commit regular faculty positions. His perception was that if someone can write a grant and get funded, a modern research university is glad to have them.
President Bollinger said his sense from experience at various universities has been that faculty, and not primarily administrators, have made the choice to limit faculty positions.
Sen. Stephanie Neuman said the research officer career path is partly a matter of preference for certain scholars.
Sen. Sicherman asked if research officers are like high-level research assistants. Sen. Applegate said his answer, based on his experience, is no.
Sen. Ferrante said universities are supposed to do research, and Columbia people attached to the research enterprise in this way should not be second-class citizens.
Sen. Xiaobo Lu (Fac., Barn.) recognized that the number Senate seats for researchers is small, but asked for more precise numbers on the ratio of constituents to seats for this and other constituencies. He also asked if there is a formula for the allocation of Senate seats.
Mr. Jacobson, speaking as a member of Structure and Operations, said the committee chairman, Richard Bulliet had achieved a major compromise with researchers, who had originally requested many more seats. The committee had received information from the Provost and other sources. It had considered the wide array of kinds of researchers at Columbia. After lengthy deliberations, a shared perception that there was a strong basis for the request for a larger role for researchers led to an agreement.
Daniel Savin, a research scientist in the Columbia astrophysics laboratory and a member of the ad hoc researchers’ committee, said the committee had uncovered a wide range of inequalities in the status of researchers at Columbia, involving promotion criteria, titles, salaries, health benefits, vacation and sick leave, housing, travel monies, conference allotments, tuition remission, computer access, and most seriously, working conditions, including discrimination, unfair practices, and mistreatment by superiors. He said these problems have been laid out in the report that the ad hoc researchers’ committee presented to the Senate last spring, and that is available on the Senate website. He said research officers are a highly educated, diverse, and productive group of more than 1800 people who make a significant contribution to research as well as teaching at Columbia. The group is also dedicated to Columbia, with the senior professional ranks averaging 17 years of service here, the junior professional ranks about 10 years, the staff associates about 8 years, and the post-docs about two years. Despite these levels of commitment, the researchers are a vulnerable and neglected community at Columbia. With only two senators and no standing committee, researchers are seriously underrepresented on the Senate and its committees. He appealed for support for the resolution before the Senate in order to help redress this imbalance.
Sen. Applegate added that having read the researchers’ report and listened to some of the deliberations, he thought the proposal was modest and deserved Senate support.
Sen. Robert Pollack said the discussion so far had listed a number of reasons to support the proposal. Was there a down side, a reason not to support it?
Sen. Applegate supposed that one might object that an expansion of the Senate to accommodate researchers might encourage other constituencies to try to expand their role in the Senate. But he said researchers have made a compelling case. He said people in the position of employers of researchers might fear a loss of authority from this measure, but he added that any group should have a reasonable grievance procedure. He concluded that expanded Senate representation and a standing researcher committee do not assure a particular outcome, but provide a vehicle for vetting researchers’ issues.
Sen. Ira Goldberg (Ten., HS) raised the question of how the researcher group; including post-docs, had been subdivided for the six seats. Mr. Jacobson said the committee had addressed this issue by allotting four of the six seats to junior and senior professional officers of research, one to staff officers of research, and one to post-doctoral officers of research. The committee had considered several ways to divide the group, including seats based at different research campuses (Lamont, Health Sciences, etc.) and at-large seats.
Sen. Duby said the committee had used full-time people as the unit for counting the groups.
Sen. Lu raised the question of subgroups who have different interests from those of the larger group. Mr. Jacobson said such differences can probably be found within every Senate constituency.
There being no further discussion, the Senate then voted by show of hands. The resolution carried, with 62 senators in favor—four more than the threshold of three-fifths of the full membership of the Senate—none opposed, and two abstentions.
Sen. Neuman thanked Structure and Operations, the Executive Committee, and the Senate staff for their contributions to the success of the resolution.
—Joint presentation from Sharyn O’Halloran, chair of the Online Learning and Digital Media Initiatives Committee (OLDMIC), and Senior Executive Vice President Robert Kasdin.
Projecting her update of the Interim Report she had written the previous spring onto a screen at the front of the room, Sen. O’Halloran gave an outline that closely paraphrased her text.
She reminded senators that when the committee was formed in April 2001, its mandate was to catalog the various digital media activities under way at Columbia, figure out which ones enhance the University’s mission, review the policies of peer institutions, consider ways to address tensions between commercial imperatives and the needs of an independent research faculty, and make recommendations about online initiatives.
The committee had tried to divide this large mandate into three main areas: governance issues, internal implications, and external implications.
At the time, most of the relevant activities were under the purview of Executive Vice Provost Michael Crow, in the Center for New Media Teaching and Learning, Digital Knowledge Ventures, and Columbia Interactive. The main external initiative was Fathom.com.
These activities were funded mainly by patent revenues, which directed the committee’s attention to Columbia Innovation Enterprises, now called Science and Technology Ventures.
Sen. O’Halloran conveyed the scale of this income stream in a graph showing patent revenues since 1984, the advent of the new formula for the distribution of patent royalties by universities established by the Bayh-Dole Act.
Referring to other graphs in her update, Sen. O’Halloran gave a detailed description of the complex allocation formula for patent income within Columbia. One table showed how the $141.7 million in patent revenue in Fiscal Year 2001 was distributed. The central discretionary funds left over, which have been funding key digital initiatives, amounted to about $68 million in FY 2001.
Sen. O’Halloran contrasted these initiatives funded by central discretionary sources with various “grass-roots” digital activities taking place in the schools, including the TC online master’s degree program, the Columbia Video Network run by the Engineering School, and partnerships linking the Business School and the Arts and Sciences with outside developers to market online academic programs.
Sen. O’Halloran noted that few of the centrally funded initiatives are self-sustaining or profitable, or integrated into the University’s core functions; the school initiatives, by contrast, tend to be self-supporting or budget-neutral. There appeared to be little interaction between these two spheres of activity.
The committee developed the following criteria for evaluating online activities:
—Does the activity support faculty in their traditional activities?
—Does it support academic units in pursuing revenue-producing activities?
—Does it produce revenue?
The committee proposed that an activity that fails to satisfy one of these criteria would require additional justification.
The committee recommended:
—a concerted effort to rationalize competing resource centers, some of which have their own production and marketing units.
—funding operations that either make a profit, support others that do, or reinforce the University’s core missions.
—reinstating something like the now inactive Innovation Advisory Council, the only attempt to provide for regular faculty input on current digital media policy.
—continuing some of the activities of Fathom, but with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of the consortium, and also reintegrating the activities Fathom has been carrying out into the University’s core missions.
What is the committee’s current direction? With the help of the Provost and James Neal of the Libraries, it is conducting a survey of the wide range of digital activities at Columbia, along with focus groups of consumers, and a comparative study of peer institutions.
Sen. O’Halloran invited additional comments from Vice President Kasdin, who said he had succeeded to many of Michael Crow’s responsibilities involving digital media.
He made the following points:
—There are many fantastic online activities going on apart from Fathom, which has become emblematic of digital media at Columbia, and that’s a mistake.
—The committee’s report is thoughtful and well done, with sound evaluative criteria, and values underlying the recommendations that he shares.
—On the issue of commercialization, the model for patentable technology seems
right for CU, and for digital media as well. Faculty should not have to change course in their research, setting up parallel tracks. Instead, the University could identify and harvest work already going on, as opportunities arise. It will be a while before people make money in digital media. But just as on the patent revenue side, it took a good decade before funds started flowing, expectations for digital media, and as a result the resources dedicated to them, should remain modest for the time being. If faculty are doing quality digital media work in classrooms, in research, and in continuing education, over time the market will come to Columbia if it’s ready.
Mr. Kasdin welcomed the help the committee had offered, and said their next steps seem right. He said there needs to be ongoing academic advisory involvement to all new media activities listed on the committee’s tables. He repeated his praise for the clarity and soundness of the committee’s work.
Sen. Jonathan Manes (Stu., CC) offered criticism of the Columbia Interactive web presentation and raised questions about some of Columbia’s information systems. Mr. Kasdin agreed that navigating Columbia Interactive is not a user-friendly experience. He added that information systems are among a host of services that senior administrators will look at, with a view to making them more efficient.
—Resolution to Establish a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree (Education, for discussion only): Sen. Letty Moss-Salentijn (Ten., SDOS), chair of the Education Committee, said by way of introduction that the resolution before the Senate would establish the first degree of its kind in the country. Nursing already offers a research doctorate, the Doctor of Nursing Science. The present proposal calls for a professional degree, comparable to the Doctor of Medicine and the Doctor of Dental Sciences.
Sen. Salentijn said a subcommittee had worked hard on the proposal, sharing its findings from time to time with the full committee, which had decided not to tackle complex issues related to the nation’s health care needs, but to focus on its proper subject—the question of whether the proposed program merits a doctoral degree, and whether the program is adequate and of sufficient quality. She said the proposed program would add two years of clinical training—the first including a didactic component, the second a residency—to the current two-year master’s degree programs in the Nursing School.
Sen. Salentijn then called on the subcommittee that had studied the proposal—Sen. Edward Mullen (Ten., SW), Frank Wolf (Nonsen., Admin), and Paul Thompson (Nonsen., Alum)—to lead the discussion.
Sen. Suzanne Bakken (Ten., Nursing) identified some common questions about the proposed program, and provided answers:
—Why wouldn’t nurses devoting four years to graduate education just go to
medical school, which also takes four years? The answer, Sen. Bakken said, is that they don’t want to. Nurse practitioners with master’s degrees have hybrid training and experience, ranging from health education to guidance counseling to advanced physical assessment in disease management.
—How does the nursing practice doctorate differ from the master’s degree? Sen.
Bakken said it is both broader, in the scope of practice sites and experiences, and deeper, in its focus on diagnosis and pathophysiology.
—Why hasn’t some other school established a degree like this already? Sen.
Bakken said other nursing schools haven’t had the vision or the environment—particularly the collaboration of a medical school like P&S, or other resources of Columbia’s Health Sciences.
Sen. Bakken said the hallmark of any Columbia program is quality. The Nursing School offers a strong curriculum, based on scientific evidence and 10 years of advanced practice caring for more than 10,000 patients. She added that the proposed program has been extensively reviewed by other nursing schools prepared to follow Columbia’s lead, at Illinois, Michigan, Washington, and Yale Universities, among others, and by external advisory groups, including physicians and health researchers from other fields.
Speaking for the subcommittee, Dean Wolf said he thought it had done due diligence, working hard and requesting a number of modifications to the proposal, which were made. He said he couldn’t remember a proposal in his 12 years on the Education Committee that had engendered livelier discussion than this one.
Sen. Ralph Holloway (Ten., A&S/SS), noting a serious scarcity of nurses, wondered who will do the work most nurses do now, if many of them take doctoral degrees.
Paul Thompson (Nonsen., Alum.), another member of the subcommittee said the key problem is the shortage not of nurses in general, but of hospital nurses. And the source of the problem is not the profession, he said, but the financing mechanism of bedside care. There is so much pressure on nurses in this environment that many drop out. The solution to this problem lies in how this care is paid for.
Mr. Thompson said an important fact—and opportunity—for nurse practitioners, given the surplus of physicians, it that physicians don’t want to provide primary care. Brighter, more ambitious nurses, seeking autonomy, are attracted to advanced practice, and patients gravitate toward nurse practitioners because they get more of their time.
Dean Wolf pointed out that the Education Committee had decided that the implications of the proposed nursing practice doctorate for the delivery of health care in this country were beyond its purview. Instead, the committee had focused on the fit between the degree and the program, and on the program’s overall quality.
Sen. Joan Ferrante (Ten., A&S/Hum.) expressed reservations about the proposed program. She didn’t see how adding on two years of essentially working as a nurse to a master’s degree in nursing makes one a doctor. She said she had numerous friends with research doctorates in nursing who also teach. She thought that is appropriate, but added that the proposed program abuses the term “doctor.” A master’s is suitable for advanced practice nurses, she said, but calling them doctors puts all doctorates in question
Sen. Edward Mullen (Ten., SW), a member of the subcommittee, said one of its hardest jobs was coming to a conclusion about this practice doctorate at Columbia. He said most people have an idea of what a research doctorate is, and have inherited ideas about what an MD and a DDS are. He said the Education Committee would soon be seeing more proposals for practice doctorates. What criteria can be used to evaluate a practice doctorate in a given profession if there is no common understanding of what a practice doctorate is? He said this degree, in a profession that already offers research and administratively oriented doctorates, does not exist. A final problem, he said, is that nursing has multiple histories. The various nursing specializations have grown on their own. In the Columbia Nursing School alone there are 13 different specializations in the master’s programs. How can a two-year doctoral program accommodate the diversity of preparations these people will bring, not only from Columbia’s master’s programs, but from others around the country?
These are troubling issues, Sen. Mullen concluded. On balance, he said, the subcommittee thought the proposed degree should come to the Senate for discussion, and is a worthwhile experiment.
Executive Vice President for Health Sciences Gerald Fischbach spoke in support of the proposal. He praised the work of the subcommittee in pointing out concerns the proposal raises, which he said deserve open discussion. He said the nursing degree at Columbia is a sophisticated, hard-core science degree, involving pharmacology and a number of basic sciences. A number of advanced nurse practitioners are practicing now without proper credentialing. He said the current situation in nursing resembles the situation in osteopathy years ago. Until there were good schools offering a doctorate in that field, no one knew who was at the proper level. Providing rigorous standards for practice doctorates in nursing will improve control over licensing, he said.
VP Fischbach said discussion should focus on the quality of the curriculum. He said the outcome is impossible to predict; the proposed program is an experiment, but his reading is that it is an excellent first shot. Some of the best people in the medical faculty will be teaching in this degree program, which he described as a work in progress. He said the curriculum will improve. He proposed basing judgments of the program on the quality of the teaching, not on older notions of what nurses can and can’t do.
Sen. Mary Byrne (Nonten., Nursing), a member of Education, said the committee had done an extremely thorough job of reviewing the proposal over the course of 10 months. She said the committee had voted by a wide margin (14-1, with two abstentions) to present the program to the Senate for action.
Speaking of the quality of the program, Sen. Byrne said it was based on solid theoretical and empirical foundations. She said extensive studies have shown that the competencies of advanced practice nurses are comparable to those of primary care physicians.
President Bollinger urged the Senate not to vote on the proposal at the present meeting. He said some senators did not attend because the proposal was not on the agenda for action. He said the issue is important, and would benefit from a second meeting.
There being no objection to the President’s idea, he adjourned the meeting at 3:15 pm.
Tom Mathewson, Senate staff