University Senate                                                                      Proposed: December 9, 2005







President Lee Bollinger, the chairman, called the Senate to order shortly after 1:15 pm in 102

Jerome Green. Forty-seven of 95 senators were present during the meeting.


Minutes and agenda: The minutes of October 21 and the agenda were adopted as proposed.


President's report: The rezoning process that will consider Columbia's development plan for

Manhattanville began formally with a public scoping meeting on November 15.


The president mentioned two current searches for senior administrators. An international search

for a successor to Gerald Fischbach, the executive vice president for health sciences, has been under way since August. A second town hall meeting on the subject would take place at the Medical Center would take place after the present meeting. The search is going well, the president said.


A second search, for a vice president for communications, has been an internal process, and should be complete by the end of the semester, the president said.


Executive Committee chairman's report: Sen. Paul Duby (Ten, SEAS) said that he hoped to have something to report on the Trustees' current reorganization effort at the December Senate meeting, after the next round of Trustee meetings.


Sen. Duby hoped that both misconduct policies now under consideration by the Senate—one on research, the other on student sexual assault--will be on the agenda for action in December. He said a group of about a half-dozen senators would meet with Vice President Deborah Stiles after the present meeting to discuss the latest draft policy.


Sen. James Applegate (Ten., A&S/NS), an astronomy professor, said the chair of his department, Prof. David Helfand, had not even heard of the draft policy on research misconduct. He expressed dissatisfaction with a review process that he said had not included science faculty.


Sen. Daniel Savin (Research Officers) noted that there had also been no attempt to distribute the draft policy to the research officer constituency.


Sen. Duby said he had thought the policy was distributed to the science chairs. Faculty senators

had seen the policy in early September.  He agreed that with Sen. Applegate that there should be wider distribution. He said it might make sense to post the draft policy on the Web after the Senate group has reached agreement with VP Stiles.



Reports from committees:

            --Student Affairs:  Student caucus co-chair Holly Snow (Stu., Barn.) announced a student town hall meeting on November 28 to discuss a variety of issues, including sexual misconduct,

tailgating policy and any other issues students raise at the meeting.


            Report on an undergraduate science journal: Sen. Snow asked and received permission for speaking privileges for Gabriel Morris, a undergraduate and non-senator, to speak about an

initiative to launch a new undergraduate science journal. Mr. Morris, a sophomore transfer student from Vanderbiltnonn undergraduate non-senator, referred to slides as he described the Columbia Undergraduate Science Journal, whose first issue is scheduled for April 2006. Submissions will be judged by a double-blind peer review process, with an additional review

by a faculty oversight committee that is in place. There will be a student editorial board; contributors will be mostly Columbia undergrads, and perhaps some students from elsewhere who have done research at Columbia.


In response to questions from Sen. Michael Adler (Ten., Bus.), Mr. Morris said the journal will observe the principle of open access, and will be produced entirely online. Mr. Morris said he personally would absorb the cost of hosting the site.


Sen. Savin raised the question of adding research officers to the advisory board, which now consists entirely of faculty.


In response to a question from Sen. Bradley Bloch (Alum.), Mr. Morris said the only exclusivity requirements will be among undergraduate journals. He said the papers will focus mainly on undergraduate contributions to research projects.


To applause, the president thanked Mr. Morris for his report.


            Agora Project: Student caucus co-chair Adam Michaels (Bus.) asked Provost Alan Brinkley (Sen., Admin.) about the implementation of the Agora project, an initiative launched by former senator Nathan Walker to develop an online portal for sharing research and interests across disciplinary boundaries. He asked for a timeline for setting up the project and for the name of a point person for the project in the administration.


Provost Brinkley responded that Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT) has been

developing a software called Sakai that will enable most of the proposed Agora functions. The administration will revisit Agora once the rollout of this sofware has occurred.


Sen. Sharyn O'Halloran (Ten., SIPA), chair of the Online Learning Committee, also commented briefly on the Agora project.


New business:

            --M.S. in Information and Archive Management and M.S. in Actuarial Science (both from the School of Continuing Education): Education Committee chair Letty Moss-Salentijn (Ten., SDOS) presented both programs.


Sen. Bloch asked about the provision in Education Committee resolutions for new degree programs to review them five years out. Sen. Salentijn said a subcommittee regularly conducts those reviews, with results reported in Education's annual reports. In one case, the committee had recommended the discontinuation of the program.


Frank Wolf, dean of the School of Continuing Education and a member of the Education Committee, noted that the normal practice for the School's master's degrees is to rely not on the regular academic departments but on part-time faculty who are practitioners in the field to teach the courses. The archival program follows this pattern, he said, but the actuarial program does not. Its curriculum was developed by the Statistics Dept, which wanted a program distinct from its own master's programs.


Sen. Soulaymane Kachani (NT, SEAS) asked why there were 3000 (undergraduate level) courses in the program, and whether provision had been made in a more advanced business course for seats for students in the continuing education program.


Dean Wolf responded that two of the three 3000-level courses were sometimes offered as 4000 (graduate-level) courses in other programs, so that distinction was really without a difference. He said the upper-level business course was staffed by Business School faculty who were being paid by Continuing Education, so the issue of seats in the course for Continuing Education students had been addressed.


Sen. Salentijn added that both programs had been thoroughly reviewed by Education subcommittees, and that the actuarial program had been modified as a result.


The Senate then voted to approve both programs without dissent.


            --Dual degree linking the M.A. in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences (GSAS) with the M.P.A. (SIPA): With minimal discussion the Senate voted without dissent to approve the program.


The president adjourned the meeting shortly after 2 pm.


Respectfully submitted,



Tom Mathewson, Senate staff