University Senate                                                                     

Proposed: October 4, 2013




President Lee Bollinger called the Senate to order shortly after 1:15 pm in 104 Jerome Greene Hall. Sixty-five of 95 senators were present during the meeting.

Minutes and agenda. The agenda and the minutes of April 5 were adopted as proposed.

Old business.
--Resolution to Adopt a Tobacco Products Reduction and Control Policy (as amended April 5; Task Force on Smoking Policy), with accompanying report and map. While the secretary conducted a count to determine whether there was a quorum for the present meeting, the president explained the parliamentary status of the resolution on smoking policy that was on the floor on April 5 when a quorum call determined that too few senators were present to conduct a vote, and the meeting was immediately adjourned. The president said the parliamentarian had determined that the question had been called on the resolution before the quorum call, meaning that debate was at an end, and it was time to vote. So the first step at the present meeting was to go immediately to a vote on the resolution, without further debate.

The president said a vote for the present resolution would not preclude voting at another time for a different policy, including a total ban on smoking, which the president favored. But he was in favor of a vote on the present resolution at this point, as a way to get as much progress as possible on this issue. The president noted, to laughter, that since discussion was not allowed, he was not allowed to say what he had just said.

The president then declared a quorum present and called for a vote on the resolution offered by the Task Force on Smoking Policy. By show of hands, the Senate approved the resolution by a vote of 51 to 8 with one abstention.

Sen. Samuel Silverstein (Ten., P&S) introduced a resolution for consideration by the External Relations Committee in the fall. It proposed a total smoking ban.

The president said that under the rules, a proposal introduced from the floor is referred to committee without discussion. He said the committee could take it up in the fall.

Sen. Sharyn O’Halloran (Ten., SIPA) thanked everyone who had participated in Senate deliberations on smoking policy.

Resolution Concerning Summer Powers. Without discussion the Senate unanimously approved the annual resolution, which delegates the Senate’s main powers to the Executive Committee during the summer.

President’s remarks. The president hoped that two long-running searches—for new deans of
the Dental School and SIPA—were now in their final stages. He was also hopeful about a
third search, for the next Executive Vice President for Arts and Sciences. Searches for new deans
of the Journalism and Engineering schools were successfully concluded earlier in the year.

Executive Committee chair’s remarks. Sen. O’Halloran summarized some preliminary results of a survey of faculty conducted by the Online Learning Task Force, which she chairs. Twelve percent of Columbia faculty currently participate in some form of online learning—either distance learning or a hybrid model. Eighty percent of that group find that that the online component does add to the course, although there is extensive discussion of whether it consumes more time than it’s worth. Of the remaining 88 percent who are not doing online learning, 42 percent are interested in including some form of it in their own courses. Of the interested group, 34 percent want to reach a wider audience with their teaching, and 21 percent are interested in the pedagogical advances that online learning offers.

However, the other 58 percent of the group without online components in their courses are not interested in adding them. The primary reason is their conviction that the classroom is the best medium for their own content. Forty-four percent of the uninterested group feel this way.

Sen. O’Halloran said these data provide a useful starting place for a discussion of where the Columbia faculty stands on online learning, and what some of the benefits are for those who have used it. Another important question, Sen. O’Halloran said, is how faculty can start using the technology to include their own pedagogy for Columbia students on campus.

Sen. O’Halloran said the Online Learning TF will be giving a large report in the fall, and a draft will be circulating during the summer.

Tribute to Frances Pritchett. Sen. O’Halloran then offered a brief appreciation of Frances Pritchett (Ten., A&S/Hum), who was retiring after three decades at Columbia, including two in the University Senate. Sen. O’Halloran focused on Sen. Pritchett’s efforts on behalf of the University Libraries, particularly her advocacy of increased budgetary support for the Libraries at a crucial juncture in the 1990s. With the magnificent renovation of Butler and other libraries now assured, Sen. O’Halloran said, it’s easy to forget the difficulty of the fight to get the resources redirected there. To sustained applause, she thanked Sen. Pritchett for her contributions to the Senate.

Annual committee reports.
Education. Committee co-chair Letty Moss-Salentijn (Ten., CDM) spoke briefly to the report, which had been distributed. She said the main focus was on the steep increase in the number of proposals for certifications of professional achievement, which are mainly mini-programs, largely offered online, largely by the School of Continuing Education. The Education Committee believes that these are the right kinds of program to be offered online, but will look at them closely, possibly streamlining the review process for them.

Elections Commission. Steven Jean (Stu., Nonsen., Law) spoke briefly to the report, which had been distributed. The group’s main accomplishment was the revision of the Elections Code, which the Senate had approved earlier in the year.

Other reports.
Progress report from the Interschool Task Force on Students with Families, a joint subcommittee of the Student Affairs Committee and the Commission on the Status of Women. Francine Kershaw (Stu., Nonsen., GSAS) summarized her written report, which had been distributed.

At the end of the report, President Bollinger asked who would be receiving the recommendations that emerge from Ms. Kershaw’s task force. He said the administration stands ready to assign responsibility to the appropriate office.

Sen. O’Halloran pointed out that the task force is directly linked to the Commission on the Status of Women and the Student Affairs Committee. So task force recommendations can also travel through Senate channels.

The president then adjourned the meeting at about 1:45 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Tom Mathewson, Senate secretary