University Senate Proposed:
President Lee Bollinger, the chairman, called Senate to order shortly after in 105 Jerome Greene Hall. Sixty-two of 89 senators were present during the meeting.
Minutes and agenda: The minutes of May 5 and the agenda were adopted as proposed.
President’s report: The president hoped for an historic year. One reason was the launch of the capital campaign, scheduled for September 29. The goal, $4 billion, will be the highest ever in a university capital campaign, but only for a short time—other universities will soon follow with their own $4 billion capital campaigns. The campaign is a very big leap, and must match the university’s ambitions.
This is a great time for
The president stressed that the campaign will be for every segment of the university.
He mentioned some major gifts from the previous two years which
helped make the case that a $4 billion capital campaign is indeed possible. Trustee Jerry Lenfest gave $48 million to
create a match for professorships in arts and sciences and the law school. Mr. Lenfest is now one of
The other potentially historic development this year involves
Manhattanville, the president said, particularly the prospect of having for the
first time in many decades a space that will be enable the university to expand
for several more decades. He said it’s
difficult for those who work and teach daily here and know about real estate
development and institutional development in
The president expressed appreciation for the work that
people in Facilities and Community Affairs and other offices had put into
Other projects for the present academic year are a task
force on undergraduate education that may report in the spring and a group that
will think about what a global health initiative might look like at
Sen. Michael Adler (Ten., Bus.) understood from the
president’s remarks that there’s little risk that Manhattanville will not go
forward. He also wondered how badly
The president said the likelihood that the Manhattanville
development would be completely blocked or abandoned is, at this point, very
small. The city is very much behind
To Sen. Adler’s second question, the president said there
are many things
Another practical step is
The university also wants to work on affordable housing with
the city and with the surrounding communities, the president said, and there
Sen. Adler asked if
The president said
On the other matter, the president said there is virtually
no safety problem in the Manhatttanville area.
A year ago, when the president last checked the statistics, the precinct
Sen. Peter Strauss (Ten., Law) asked if the University’s generous new commitment to support the Columbia College and undergraduate Engineering School tuition of families earning less than $50,000 a year could be extended to the professional and graduate schools.
The president said need-blind admissions is a fundamental
Sen. Strauss said there are some other need-blind
Sen. Bradley Bloch (Alum.) asked when the next design for Manhattanville would be available for general comment.
The president said there have been general images, and some
programming for the mind/brain/behavior institute and the new School of the
Arts. There hasn’t been a decision about the third main academic element of
phase one in Manhattanville. The
president said it’s no secret that the
The president said the phase of schematic designs will begin this fall, in anticipation of a successful outcome of the ULURP process. He hoped to have much more detailed designs in the fall to distribute for comment.
Sen. James Neal (Admin.), Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian, announced that the Libraries will be capturing all documents and objects related to the Manhattanville project for archiving as part of the Avery Collection. He hoped the deliberative process for Manhattanville will serve as a model for other institutions and cities.
Sen. Tiffany Davis (Stu., CC) noted recent decisions by Harvard
The president said
One important argument for modifying or abandoning early
decision is that colleges end up with fewer students of middle or lower
socioeconomic status, and a less diverse student body, the president said. He stressed that
The president sensed some symbolism in the argument on early decision, which he took seriously. He recognized the argument that the trend with early decision is analogous to trends in major college athletics, pushing institutions to enhance their competitiveness, at some cost. He added the importance of remembering that colleges are dealing with 17- and 18-year-olds.
Sen. Alan Brinkley (Admin.), the provost, added that
Report of the Executive Committee chairman: Executive Committee chairman Paul Duby (Ten., SEAS) welcomed all senators, and mentioned 24 new ones by name, asking them to raise their hands.
Sen. Duby said 95 of the Senate’s 107 seats are now
occupied, but a few elections remain to be certified. Faculty elections at the
Sen. Duby was pleased to report that the Executive Committee did not have to use its summer powers. Some other committees kept working, and would report later in the meeting.
At its meeting on September 15, the Executive Committee did its regular September duties, staffing committees and, in particular, updating rosters of the people who maintain the Rules of Conduct governing political rallies and demonstrations. He said there was also a decision to hold a town hall meeting about Manhattanville on October 27, open to anyone with a CUID. There will be a presentation, some participation by administrators, and discussion including the audience.
Nominations to committees: Sen. Duby asked the Senate to vote on the three new nominees to the Executive Committee recently chosen by the student caucus: Sens. Marcus Johnson (CC), Chris Riano (GS), and Eric Lowery (Bus.). The Senate elected them without discussion.
Sen. Duby then requested Senate approval of the standing committee roster, which lists the members of all Senate committees. Sen. Riano, co-chair of the student caucus, listed three new student nominees to committees that the caucus had approved in a meeting just before the present one: David Ali to Libraries; David Ressel to Honors and Prizes, and Julia Stoyanovich to Education.
The Senate then approved the standing committee roster without dissent.
Reports from committees
Research Officers: Sen. Daniel Savin (Res.), the chairman, said
the committee’s main accomplishment last year was its contribution to the new
These deliberations also revealed a structural flaw in the Senate, Sen. Savin said. If the administration had brought the policy to the Senate during the summer, as occurred with a patents policy in 1982, the Executive Committee could have used its summer powers to pass it. In such a case, research officers would not have had an opportunity to vet an important policy which guides their work, because there are no research officers on the Executive Committee. This is another reason, Sen. Savin said, why there should be a research officer on that committee.
In the coming year, Sen. Savin said, his committee’s highest priority issue is a gender equity salary study of researchers that that it has requested jointly with the Commission on the Status of Women. The study is being conducted by Lucy Drotning, associate provost in the Office of Planning and Institutional Research, and her assistant, Jose Uribe. Sen. Savin thanked the administration for working with the committee on this issue. He hoped to present the study’s results to the Senate later in the year.
Another important issue is faculty titles. The research officer titles associate research scientist or scholar, research scientist or scholar, and senior research scientist or scholar are parallel, according to the Faculty Handbook, to the instructional titles assistant professor, associate professor, and full professor. However, funding agencies do not recognize this equivalence. For example, NSF program managers have told research officers that they cannot apply to the Early Career Development program because their titles do not include the word professor. Since women make up a large fraction of the junior ranks among professional research officers, this appears to be affecting disproportionately affecting them. Sen. Savin concluded that changing researcher officers’ titles to some variation of research professor or professor of research could do a lot to help young women scientists and scholars create a career in academia.
Sen. Savin drew the Senate’s attention to the recent New York Times article “Bias is Hurting
Women in Science,” which had been distributed at his request for the present
meeting. He said his committee believes that
current titles for
Sen. Savin mentioned three other issues the committee will address this year:
2. Staff associates. The committee has carried out a survey of staff and senior staff associates, who are typically non-Ph.D. researchers carrying out a range of research and administrative duties. The committee will report on the results later in the fall.
3. Termination policy: Sen. Savin said he would address only one aspect of this complex issue now—the renewal of research officer appointments. Most researchers are on yearly appointments, but they typically do not receive renewal letters from the university until months or years after the appointment expires. The only way they know they’ve been renewed is by receiving their next month’s paycheck. There are no formal requirements for notice to researchers of reappointment or termination. In a number of instances, research officers do not find out they are being terminated until days from the end of their current appointment. The committee believes this treatment is abusive and disrespectful of research officers, Sen. Savin said. He looked forward to working with the administration to fix this problem this academic year.
In response to a question from Sen. Adler, Sen. Savin said the committee had no resolution to present now, but would bring resolutions later this year.
Honors and Prizes: Committee chair Deborah Wolgemuth (Ten., CUMC) called attention to the nomination form for candidates for honorary degrees that the university secretary sends out every year. Her committee reviews all nominations submitted, she said. Mostly the nominations received in one year will remain in the book for review in ensuing years.
Sen. Wolgemuth said Secretary Keith Walton had alerted her
to a particular dearth of nominations in two categories: the Medal of
Excellence and the Emeritus award. The
shortage is surprising because in both of these categories
She acknowledged the daunting appearance of the nomination form, which seems to demand a lot of work. But Googling, followed by cutting and pasting, can supply a lot of the information required. Sen. Wolgemuth also offered to the help of the Senate staff in putting together a nomination. She also offered to respond personally to email requests for help.
In response to a question, Sen. Wolgemuth said the due date for nominations to be included in the book for honorary degrees for Commencement 2008 is October 6. But she thought nominations could be submitted later than that for 2008.
In response to a question from Sen. Adler, Sen. Wolgemuth said the emeritus honorary degree could not be awarded posthumously.
Affairs: Sen. Riano said he was proud to represent, along with his fellow
student senators, the 22,000 plus students at
On recent announcements about expanding financial aid for
Sen. Riano said one unique asset of the Senate student caucus
is its ability, with a senator from each school, to “connect the dots” among
Sen. Riano said student senators are also looking forward to participating in the launching of the capital campaign on September 29. They will meet with UDAR VP Susan Feagin to discuss other ideas for supporting the campaign.
Sen. Riano thanked Sen. Lisa Hogerty, executive vice
president for administration and student services, for her help over the summer
in implementing a student initiative to provide discounted public
Faculty Affairs: Co-chair Robert Pollack (Ten., A&S/NS) elaborated on a one-paragraph report that was distributed to the Senate as he spoke.
He said Faculty Affairs now has co-chairs, one from the
This structure has enabled the committee to take on a range of issues, usually in the form of specific faculty grievances. A professor typically asks the committee to look into whether or not a process that the university rules say should be done one way was done that way or not. Investigating grievances is very time consuming, Sen. Pollack said. The committee has no subpoena powers, or any other powers for that matter, except for those of persuasion and trust that the committee is trying to figure out what is the right thing to do.
Sen. Pollack said he had no substantive report on any of the large issues that have come before Faculty Affairs. That report will be at the next meeting, or the one after that. For the time being, he mentioned two issues. One was the decision to improve undergraduate financial aid packages by diminishing loans and increasing cash for people of small incomes, a decision he said would improve the quality of education down the road.
The second issue, mentioned in his committee’s report, involves current rules and practices concerning the appointment of faculty to named chairs, and the relationship of those appointments to donors’ wishes. This is a sensitive issue, he said, with particular importance at the onset of a capital campaign. Sen. Pollack hoped to meet with the provost about it before the October Trustee meetings, and report back to the Senate later in the fall.
Relations: Sen. Sharyn O’Halloran (Ten., SIPA), the committee chair, said
she has continued working with the administration on the ongoing Manhattanville
process. She has also followed
continuing deliberations on the proposed Designated Suppliers Program for
Resolution to Establish a Department of Neuroscience (Education): Committee chair Letty Moss-Salentijn (Ten., CDM) presented the resolution. She invited the acting chair of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Prof. John Koester, to speak.
Prof. Koester said the present resolution has been a long time in the making. The seed was planted in 1974 when Eric Kandel and four colleagues, including himself, were recruited to the Physiology Department uptown to form a division of neurobiology and behavior. Their mission was to combine various subdisciplines of neuroscience—anatomy anatomy, physiology, cell biology, neurochemistry—into an integrated approach to teaching and research in neuroscience. That division became a center 22 ago, an interdepartmental unit separate from Physiology.
It continued to grow, and now has 50 faculty members, Prof. Koester said. One of its most important contributions has been to form, with colleagues from biology, psychology, and other disciplines, an interdepartmental Ph.D. program in neurobiology and behavior, which now has roughly 80 faculty members This program spans the two campuses, and effectively integrates neuroscientists both within the center and without.
As it has grown the center has taken on many of the responsibilities and the scope of action of a department. It recruits faculty, and handles faculty development and promotion. It has space and financial obligations for faculty, and a significant teaching portfolio. But it has become more difficult to do all these things without the rights and privileges of a full-fledged department.
This is an auspicious time to create a department, Prof.
Koester said. First, neuroscience as a
field is undergoing tremendous intellectual ferment. The experimental and theoretical tools, the
problems that are within reach, both in basic science and translational
neuroscience, are seemingly boundless.
At Columbia President Bollinger has made tremendous resources available
in the form of the new Jerome L. Greene science center, which will house a
large number of neuroscientists. The
program in mind, brain, and behavior will help not only to integrate
Sen. Koester said neuroscience is about to enter a golden
Sen. Sumeet Shah (Stu., SEAS), asked how his department—Biomedical Engineering—would interact with the new department. He knew students interested in going into neuroscience.
Prof. Koester said the neuroscience center already has good
relations with Profs. Van Mow and Paul Sajda of Biomedical Engineering, and one
faculty member in the center, Aniruddha Das, also has an appointment in
Biomedical Engineering. He added that
the new department in no way intends to try to subsume all neuroscience at
Sen. Ronald Prywes (Ten., A&S/NS) of Biological Sciences asked for clarification of the new department’s relationships with other departments. Would a neuroscience department move out of present departments where neuroscientists have their own space? He expressed concern that a new department might deplete departments where neuroscientists are now located.
Prof. Koester acknowledged this concern. He said no one will be moving before a new Manhattanville facility comes on line. What will happen in the short term is that some faculty titles will change. About one third of the neuroscience center’s faculty are now located in the Psychiatric Institute, and the rest are distributed among various departments. Creating a new department is potentially destabilizing, and Prof. Koester hoped to minimize that effect as much as possible. When it comes time to decide who moves to Manhattanville, this issue will have to be addressed, he said, and at a higher level. It will take resources to fill those depleted spaces.
At the same time, Prof. Koester said, the
The Senate unanimously approved the resolution to establish the Neuroscience Department.
The president adjourned the meeting at around .
Tom Mathewson, Senate staff