University Senate Proposed: October 24, 1997

Adopted:

 

MINUTES OF SEPTEMBER 26, 1997

President George Rupp, the chairman, called the Senate to order at 1:15 p.m. in 501 Schermerhorn Hall. Forty-four of 74 voting members were present during the meeting.

Minutes and agenda: The minutes of April 25 and the agenda were adopted as proposed.

President's report: The President reviewed a number of summer developments affecting the University, including the following:

--Columbia had concluded agreements with the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum allowing free admission for Columbia students. The Provost was also working on establishing links with other New York cultural institutions.

--Four working groups, including administrators from the central administration, the College, and the Arts and Sciences, had been working on College admissions, advising, residence life, and fundraising. The President said the work had followed guidelines set by faculty committees, but with a new vigor in implementation.

--Eighteen capital projects had been completed, all on time and within budget, including renovations of Carman Lounge and of kitchens in East Campus. The University's three biggest projects--construction of the new Business/Law building and the Lerner student center, and the renovation of Butler Library--also progressed.

--A strategic plan for the Engineering School had been completed by Dean Zvi Galil, working closely with central administrators. A new sense of forward momentum was already evident, both in the quality and quantity of applications and in a new focus on the school's strengths. The President said that Engineering had turned an important corner.

--Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons and Cornell Medical College had made a major collaborative effort to plan for the consequences of the merger of the two teaching hospitals which they are affiliated--Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and New York Hospital. The two medical schools had already formed a joint physicians' group and would be merging their physician practice plans, thereby assuring better bargaining leverage in the marketplace, and planning for ways to market both the new merged hospital and physicians' services in the managed-care environment. The President stressed the importance of the Health Sciences, which account for about half of the University's total budget.

--The results of the past year's faculty recruitment efforts were evident on campus. Arts and Sciences had 50 new faculty members, a number of them in anthropology, sociology, and economics. During the past two years, the University had been rebuilding some departments in the social sciences, after two decades of erosion. There was also a major rebuilding effort in biology, including new investments in facilities as well as a number of new colleagues. Two already strong departments had been further strengthened, with new appointments in mathematics and chemistry. Finally, in the area of ethnic studies, Columbia had recruited a director of the Latino studies program, a new faculty member in Asian-American studies, and four new faculty members in African-American studies.

--Some high-profile events had occurred on campus, including the four-party talks on Korea.

--The University's battle for resources in Washington and Albany had gone well over the summer. Governor Pataki's proposed cuts in student aid--particularly in Bundy funds, the Tuition Assistance Program, and the Higher Education Opportunity Program--had been restored. The new federal tax bill had also brightened the outlook for student aid, with new tax breaks for tuition and student loan interest and provisions for educational IRAs.

Other successes were an increase in the state subsidy for the Columbia dental clinic, a restoration of state grants for the Center for Advanced Technology, and the defeat of an attempt to tax as income student loans forgiven for law school graduates who go into public interest law.

The three most important successes were the following:

1) An increase in the maximum Pell grant from $2700 to $3000, resulting in part from intense effort by the Association of American Universities, which President Rupp chairs. The Clinton administration had pressed the association to support the tax bill as a student aid measure; the association had agreed, but had stressed its conviction that a Pell grant increase was a better way to target student aid.

2) The $150 million cap on tax-exempt borrowing for universities was lifted.

3) An attempt in the dead of summer to delete the provision (Section 117d of the tax code) that tuition remission is a nontaxable benefit was turned back. Columbia had successfully organized a national coalition to block the measure, which would have been costly to the entire University community.

Sen. Emily Lloyd, Vice President for Administration, reported briefly on negotiations to renew the contract of clerical workers' Local 2110, which was to expire on September 30. She said the University has sought a wage increase at around the inflation rate and measures to encourage productivity, achieve equity with other Columbia contracts, and contain health costs. She said that a chief concern of the union was "erosion" of the bargaining unit, and a restoration of jobs, lost in earlier years, that she said would not be coming back. She expressed concern about an overall lack of progress in negotiations.

Sen. Joshua Ratner (Stu., CC) asked whether the representatives of Senate committees who attend Trustee committee meetings are participants or observers. President Rupp said that Senate representatives at meetings of the Trustees' Committee on Educational Policy almost always make a report. He couldn't imagine that there would be objection to participation by those representatives in other discussion at Trustee meetings, though he couldn't remember having heard much participation of that kind.

Sen. Jeremy Waldron (Ten., Law) asked why the external review of the libraries, completed the previous spring, had not been distributed more widely, and whether the President planned to distribute it more widely. President Rupp said he had seen a preliminary draft, but not the final version of that report. In general, he said, reviews of this kind are not meant to be published abroad, but to be used as management tools for making improvements. He said it was certainly appropriate for the Libraries Committee to have the report.

Sen. Waldron said the report had already been discussed on in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The President said that institutional policy was not to distribute such reviews to the media. He said he was not aware of any plans to distribute the report more widely; at the same time, he saw no reason not to provide it to anyone who requests a copy.

Sen. Sahir Khan (Stu., Bus.) asked whether students had been included in any of the working groups on Columbia College that the President had mentioned earlier. The President said they were administrative working groups, implementing plans and not setting policy. He added that if students or faculty were interested in doing the work of administration, they could become involved.

Sen. Khan also asked if the terms of Dean Quigley's reinstatement as College Dean included a probationary period. The President said he had written to the Arts and Sciences faculty at some length about discussions he had had with Dean Quigley, and had nothing to add to that letter, which he said senators were welcome to see.

Sen. C. P. Krishnamurthy (Stu., SEAS) said the large recent gift from the Fu Foundation to the Engineering School was widely perceived as a good thing, but there was no student or alumni input in the name change for the school in that accompanied the gift. He asked if students would have some say in the use of the funds, for example for a career services representative for the school, or for the recruitment of more female faculty (there were presently only two) in order to bring the school more in line with the top engineering schools. The President replied that a lot of work had gone into the strategic plan for the school, and that the great advantage of the gift from C. Y. Fu was that it was structured to support the school's central priorities. He said students interested in the strategic plan should become acquainted with it, and those with suggestions of priorities higher than those in the plan should make their views known. He said that the plan identified disciplines in which the faculty needed to be strengthened, and that the University's affirmative action policy already requires aggressive efforts to find female and minority candidates.

Sen. Leora Hanser (Stu., Barn.) asked whether the Lerner student center would be for the entire student body or for Columbia College students only. The President said it had been decided that the center would serve the entire student body, though the central clients would be Columbia College and the Engineering School. But the professional schools, which are bearing some of the costs of debt service on the project, will also have access.. There would be discussions with Barnard about access for its students, but that situation was different since Barnard had not contributed to the costs of the project.

Sen. Ben Gardner (Stu., CC) asked if there was any progress in implementing the Senate's three-year-old resolution to establish a teaching resource center. The President said he was troubled by the lack of progress in starting the teaching center, which he said was an expensive proposition that had prompted considerable disagreement within Arts and Sciences.

Sen. Eben Moglen (Ten., Law) read a statement prepared by Sen. James Applegate (Ten., GSAS/NS), who was unable to attend the first part of the meeting. The statement noted that without a good working relationship between the Dean of the College and the Vice President for Arts and Sciences, there would be serious consequences for the collective Arts and Sciences enterprise. The statement asked the President to elaborate on arrangements that had been put in place since the firing and rehiring of Dean Quigley and to comment on what the Senate and/or the Arts and Sciences faculty could do to improve the situation. The President replied that the Arts and Sciences and College administrations were now working together more effectively than in the past, and that a process was under way to maintain that collaboration.

Sen. Debra Wolgemuth (Ten., HS) asked if the involvement of the Columbia and Cornell medical schools in planning for the merger of the New York and Columbia-Presbyterian hospitals was a new development. The President said that discussions between the medical schools had been under way for a year and a half. The development of Columbia Cornell Care, the joint physician practice plan, was achieved in 1996-97. The more recent discussions, which have to do with the search for a common point of contact for marketing and executing managed-care contracts, had involved the hospitals as well as the medical schools, and were still under way.

Nominations to committees: The President announced the nomination of Sen. Brett Busby (Stu., Law) to the Housing Policy Committee, whose members he appoints.

Sen. Paul Duby (Ten., SEAS) read a short list of late changes in committee assignments that had been distributed at the door. The Senate approved these changes, along with the entire standing committee roster that had been distributed in the Senate packet.

Report of the Executive Committee chairman: Sen. Duby welcomed new senators, and offered to answer their questions about Senate operations after the meeting.

He introduced Charles Donelan, who had recently joined the Senate staff, and Eric Czepyha, the new work/study student in the office; Betsy Esch, beginning her second year in the part-time staff position, was unable to attend the meeting. He also introduced the caucus chairs: Eben Moglen (tenured), Wayne Svoboda (nontenured), and Joshua Ratner (students).

Sen. Duby pointed out that the Trustees consult with the Senate Executive Committee about the appointment of six of the University's 24 Trustees, typically one each year. Early in the summer a subcommittee of the Executive Committee had met with the President to work out a new procedure for these consultations, which was described in the May 16 letter from the President that was distributed in the present Senate packet. Every year, subcommittees of the Trustee and Senate executive committees will exchange names of nominees before December 1, and then have a meeting to discuss possible nominees before March 1, for the purpose of arriving at a common selection of the next year's Senate-consulted Trustee. Sen. Duby said that the procedure was very important, and that the Executive Committee would ask senators to submit nominations this fall. He added that the procedure had to remain confidential, and that nominators might hear nothing about their nomination other than an acknowledgment that it had been received. The Senate office would establish a file of nominations for use in future years. The University Secretary's office would help the Senate office in gathering information about nominees. Sen. Duby asked nominators to include at least a brief resume of their nominees, as well as a supporting statement.

In addition, an arrangement established in 1987 for a meeting every semester between subcommittees of the Senate and Trustee executive committees, which had been discontinued shortly after it had begun, would be revived this fall.

The issue of coverage of Senate meetings in the University Record, which had taken up much of the April Senate meeting, had been settled. A column, prepared by the Senate staff, would continue to appear regularly in the Record. The article about the April 18 Faculty Affairs Committee hearing that had been the subject of debate at the April meeting did appear in the Commencement issue of the Record.

At the first Executive Committee meeting of the year, on September 22, the committee had approved three resolutions for new degree programs brought by the Education Committee for action on the agenda for the present meeting.

Sen. Ratner noted the statement in the April Senate minutes that Sen. Salentijn would be asking the Senate Executive Committee to approve proposals for two joint programs under summer powers, and he asked if that request had been made. Sen. Duby replied that it had been made, but that the committee had not met during the summer.

Committee reports:

--Commission on the Status of Women: Amy Heinrich (Nonsen., Lib. Stf.), chair of the Commission, was not at the meeting. The President called attention to a flier in the Senate packet announcing a workshop on negotiation skills for junior faculty scheduled for October 8.

 

 

 

New business:

--Resolutions to establish joint programs in Medicine and Business Administration, and in Dentistry and Business Administration.

Sen. Letty Moss-Salentijn, chair of the Education Committee, said that a subcommittee had reported favorably on the joint Medicine/Business proposal in April to the full committee, which had approved it. She said that some members of the Senate, and of the University community at large, had expressed discomfort with the idea that physicians would also like to understand something about business. She said that the rationale for the program was clearly explained in the supporting documentation

Sen. Eugene Litwak (Ten., GSAS/SS) noted that there was already a similar program

in the School of Public Health and, mentioning the principle of parsimony, asked if these additional programs were really needed.

Dr. Ronald Drusin, Associate Dean for Curricular Affairs at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, received permission to speak, and briefly discussed the need for the proposed program.

Sen. Ratner asked if students had already been admitted to the joint program, which did not yet exist. Sen. Moss-Salentijn said that one student had been admitted to the M.B.A. program, but would apply to transfer to the joint program if it were approved.

The Senate approved the joint program in Medicine and Business by voice vote without dissent.

Without additional discussion, the Senate also approved the joint program in Dentistry and Business without dissent.

--Resolution to Establish a Master's Degree in the Mathematics of Finance.

Sen. Moss-Salentijn said that a subcommittee had reviewed the proposal over the summer, and reported in September to the full committee, which unanimously and enthusiastically approved the program.

Without further discussion, the Senate approved the resolution by voice vote without dissent.

There being no further business, the President adjourned the meeting at 2:40 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Tom Mathewson,

Senate Staff