The following is a selection of Annual Reports submitted by Senate Committees in April, 1996. Other committees that have submitted reports are Alumni Relations, Physical Development, Structure and Operations, External Relations, Student Affairs, and Housing Policy. Copies of these reports are available in 406 Low Library.
The Commission's primary focus this year has been on salary equity. As Senators may recall, early in the academic year, we urged the Provost to publish the results of the salary equity study he had initiated in 1993. We also sought ways to institutiona lize ongoing salary equity studies, making them a regular, annual practice and extending them to other categories of officers, including those of Research, Libraries, and Administration. As part of our effort to work with the Administration to achieve th is goal, we met in November, 1995, with the university's Vice President for Human Resources, Colleen Crooker, who agreed to gather information on how other universities conduct salary equity reviews.
The Provost's salary equity review, when released in late January, concluded there was no systemic discrimination in salaries of faculty on the Morningside campus. The Salary Equity Committee recommended, as had previous salary equity committees, that a study of promotions at Columbia now be commenced. The Commission welcomed this recommendation and has incorporated it in the resolution it is presenting to the Senate this month. The resolution calls on the President to establish a committee to review promotional policy and practice and to monitor salary equity among all officers of the university, building upon the work of previous committees. This resolution is the result of negotiation among the Commission, the Faculty Affairs Committee, and the Ex ecutive Committee. We look forward to its passage and its implementation.
Among the other issues that the Commission has considered this year is that of tenure. The Commission has asked that the Provost provide, along with the others data he gives the Senate annually, a list of the tenured women at the University, specifying their names, their titles, and their departments. The Commission has also indicated its support for the project undertaken by a committee at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender to assemble and publish a handbook for junior faculty. The handbo ok is intended to make plain the criteria for promotion and how to prepare for promotional reviews. The commission believes this to be an important and necessary task, and hopes to co-operate in its preparation.
At the request of students, the Commission is beginning to look into issues of concern to students faced with family medical emergencies. There seem to be no published policies on how to address the needs of these students. The Commission expects to ex amine these questions more closely in the coming year.
Finally, the Commission will be working with the Provost over the summer to prepare a series of colloquia on women in academic careers. The colloquia will highlight some of the problems faced by women in academia and also some of the ways in which these problems have been successfully addressed. We anticipate that the colloquia will result in a series of recommendations for actions that will improve opportunities for women working and studying at Columbia.
Amy V. Heinrich
(Charts accompanying this report are available in 406 Low Library)
Readers of our past annual reports will remember that we have had several urgent concerns: library funding, the Butler Library renovations, the prospects for electronic access, and progress toward the "virtual library" of the future.
The largest and most intractable problem with which we are concerned remains that of inadequate library financing within the university as a whole. Provost Cole and Vice President Naum visited our committee and discussed this question with us in some de tail; we appreciate their helpfulness and concern. However, the library's budgetary situation remains deeply troubling to us. Inter-university comparisons with other library systems are indicative of the problem of underfunding, though they are admitted ly not conclusive. Diachronic comparisons with ourselves, by contrast, *are* conclusive, and the picture is not attractive. Acquisitions budgets have been increasing by seemingly healthy amounts--currently 8%--but the cost of books and periodicals is ri sing much faster. Moreover, this budget must also accommodate the acquisition of electronic resources. Operating budgets have been increasing by 2%--which, because of inflation, results in a real decline in funds for staffing and other expenses. Econom ies have been achieved, but after years of cuts there is no fat left in the system--cuts are being made in muscle tissue now.
We do not believe that the current practice of treating the libraries as an integral part of the central administration, subject to the same budgetary constraints as all other central administration units, is the best way of arranging their funding. Whi le we agree that the libraries are a common good, a resource to be drawn on and funded by all the schools, we also would urge that thought be given to changing the incentive structure in the funding of the libraries. Some measure of decentralization migh t encourage deans to demonstrate as much concern for their libraries as they do now for faculty recruitment. In addition, we urge that a large share of the capital campaign funds be devoted to the libraries.
On a more cheerful note, we are happy to report that the Butler Library renovations are now proceeding. Because they begin with major structural work on the basement areas, they have not as yet been too disruptive to most library users. Although the de gree of disruption will increase over time, essential services will always be maintained. Information about the renovation is being made available through library signs, bulletins, and even a web page. Care is being exercised to maintain the architectur al integrity of the original spaces; some once-gracious rooms, long subdivided, will in fact now be restored to their former glory. The long-term results will far outweigh the short-term inconveniences.
AcIS has experienced another year of almost overwhelming growth in most of its functions: email accounts, email traffic, ColumbiaNet and ClioPlus use, phone and online requests for consultant services, external and internal web page access. However, Ac IS salaries tend not to be competitive, and the workload is heavy, so that attracting and holding good people is likely to be an increasing difficulty in the future. On the whole, we feel that AcIS has coped admirably, and has constantly expanded its ser vices--almost fast enough to meet the constantly increasing demand. More and more of the university's routine business is now conducted through electronic means. All the indices show that the rate of growth will continue to be remarkable and the possibi lities for the future even more so.
To sum up, we wish to reemphasize the chief problem that concerns us: lack of adequate funding. Unfortunately, this problem becomes more visible every year, since it represents a continuing and unbroken trend. Since 1987, the proportion of university expenditures that has gone to the library has declined by close to one third: from 3.3% to 2.5%. This trend is a danger to us all. We cannot permit it to continue.
Frances Pritchett, Chair
The Committee was approached by the administration seeking revisions of the current policy, which was written by Faculty Affairs in the 80s. The Committee discerned that one half of the proposed changes were required merely to update the policy in light of changes in federal law, while the other half foreshadowed substantive changes in the University's claim to ownership of copyrighted intellectual property produced by the faculty. We agreed to move as quickly as the University desired on the first set of amendments, but demurred on the second set though discussions will continue.
The School of the Arts proposed sweeping changes to the configuration of its faculty, which we approved. In recent years, Arts has had only 3 or 4 tenured faculty, with many juniors limited by 8 years of service and little prospect of tenure, and adjunc ts. The new arrangement provides for one third tenure, one third professors of practice, and one third adjuncts.
Our approval was necessary because the plan exceeded the guideline cap on professors of practice put in place by the Senate of 10% of the total faculty. Admittedly this is a huge variance, but with a net gain in tenure lines and assurance that professor s of practice will be subject to review procedures comparable to the existing ad hoc tenure review, we concluded that it was justified.
Meanwhile, we have polled all deans of faculty asking them to survey their schools' current use of off-track titles, describe the standards they use for such appointments, and project their future needs.
The Committee has continued discussions with the Provost's office about setting a basic, minimum package of retirement benefits to keep a retired professor within the Columbia family for as long as necessary. Benefits, to be given without bargaining, wo uld include, for instance, such minimal things as library, gym, and faculty club privileges, occasional use of office space and secretarial help. We are also assisting the Provost's office develop a handbook for retirees (as well as revise the Faculty H andbook).
Opposite-Sex Domestic Partners
The Committee also will continue to seek the same fringe benefits for opposite sex domestic partners as were recently given to same sex partners, both with documented long-standing unions, joint bank accounts, etc. We think both types of partner deserve equal treatment without discrimination.
We have joined the Commission on the Status of Women in trying to insure implementation of past Senate resolutions requiring cyclic studies of salaries for patterns of discrimination. Admittedly a complex task, many of our members lack confidence in the statistical methods employed by the University. We have also been interested in finding a way of injecting the Senate more directly into the studies.
As usual, grievances have occupied more than half our time this year, impeding our progress on other policy issues that might actually reduce the number of grievances in the long run. Among those issues is the question of our access to relevant confiden tial information, which we have reported on frequently in the past, as well as evolutionary changes in the ad hoc process itself, which seem to include a breakdown in confidentiality during reviews and an increasing tendency for the University to require a unanimous vote before accepting the recommendation of ad hoc committees.
The Committee wishes to express its deep thanks to Professor Kenneth Goldstein for serving this year as chair, and for serving off and on in many different capacities in the Senate over the past 20 years. We wish him a wonderful retirement.
During the current academic year, the Senate Budget Review Committee has met monthly. It has met collectively with Vice Presidents Jon Rosenhein (Morningside) and Mort Grusky (Health Sciences); various members of the committee have met individually with Larry Kilduff (Physical Plant), Victoria Prince and Roxie Smith (Arts & Sciences), and Eduardo Macagno (GSAS) and have attended meetings of the University Planning and Budget Committee and its subcommittees, of the Trustees Budget Subcommittee, and of the Senate Education Committee.
Three issues have dominated the Committee's discussions this year:
1. The "Enlargement and Enhancement" of Columbia College. We delivered a report on this to the Senate in February.
2. The capital budget of the university. This is a continuing question: both this committee and the corresponding University committees are aware of the necessity for large amounts of debt funding for capital construction; we are concerned about the effec t on annual operating budgets (particularly for Arts and Sciences) of large amounts of debt service. The University has reduced or delayed some of the projected borrowing, but this is an issue that will need to be examined further next year.
3. The nature and effects of the transition to a "Full Responsibility Model" budget. This is the most serious and complex budgetary issue facing the University, and has significant implications for the nature of the institution as a whole. Some of the que stions it raises can be stated as follows:
--to what extent should each of the Morningside schools be responsible for the real cost of their operations, currently included in a single charge for common central costs?
--should individual schools be expected to subsidize the costs of other schools as a part of their participation in a common enterprise, and if so, to what extent?
--which of the elements now included in a single charge for common costs should be decentralized, and which should be socialized? That is, which central functions are of paramount importance to the definition of the university as a whole, and which are re ally school costs now centralized for convenience or economy?
--how should funds be generated to pay for new and inter-school undertakings?
--how should financial models of cost and revenue be matched to the different educational structures and goals of the various schools?
--how should the budget be structured in such a way as to provide incentives for financial success without damaging the educational mission of the various schools?
At present, this Committee has little doubt that the presentation of the budget should include the real costs incurred by the particular schools; but it is less certain about how the gap between these real costs and the actual revenues of the schools sho uld be bridged. We are now trying to assess the differences among the schools in terms of productivity (e.g. student-teacher ratios, teaching loads, etc.) to see how this matches the financial differences among the schools, and hope to report on that in t he next academic year, and we will also continue to examine the larger issues raised by the FRM model.
During the last two or three years, the University has made extraordinary strides in developing budgetary clarity: in determining real costs, in extending budgetary projections beyond one or two years, in offering realistic models of financial expectatio ns. This Committee applauds that work as a genuine contribution to the well-being of the University. We think, however, that we also need to express some apprehensions: while it is absolutely necessary, in times of financial stringency such as these, for the University to have a clear and precise idea of costs and revenues, there is a risk that the relative clarity of budgetary numbers will encourage dollars to dominate ideas or students as the basic currency of the University. We do not see that this has happened, nor do we believe that the Administration desires to see it happen; but we feel that it is something that can happen insensibly--and should not. In being aware of the price of the various activities of a university, we must remain constantly aw are of their value as well.
James E.G. Zetzel Chairman
Among the routine functions of the Committee are reviews of newly proposed academic programs. During this academic year the committee reviewed and submitted the following proposals for new degree programs to the Senate for approval:
--Dual master's degree in Journalism and Earth and Environmental Sciences
--Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences
--M.A. in Japanese Language Pedagogy
--Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
The Committee also recommended proposals for statutory certificates in Conservation Biology and Environmental Policy.
Another proposal, for a Certificate in European Studies in the School of International and Public Affairs, was withdrawn for revision after a lengthy review and several requests for further clarification.
The programs that were approved indicate a new emphasis on, and in our opinion an emerging area of excellence in, the environmental sciences in the University.
The committee also reviewed and approved one proposal for a departmental name change. A resolution to this effect was approved by the Senate. The Department of Geological Sciences henceforth will be known as the Department of Earth and Environmental Scien ces. This conforms to a general trend towards greater complexity in departmental names. In their focused precision, these more complex names may be rendered obsolete much sooner than the older, generally discipline-based names they replace. We find this t rend regrettable.
The committee met with several invited guests during the year:
- Provost Cole discussed with the committee the rankings of the National Research Council and their interpretations as they pertained to the University's Departments and Programs.
- Registrar Joseph Capobianco presented his annual preview of skeleton academic calendars through the year 2000-2001.
- Provost Cole, Vice President Cohen,and Dean Quigley answered committee members' questions on the Provost's report, "Enhancing the Undergraduate Experience at Columbia College." The committee was generally in agreement with the philosophical basis of the proposed changes but expressed concern about aspects of their implementation. These conclusions were reported at the February 23 meeting of the Senate.
- Professor Anderer met with the committee to discuss concerns about the newly proposed master's degree program in Japanese Language Pedagogy.
- Two students, Thomas Lee and Elbert Garcia, presented views on student requests for an ethnic studies department to the committee. A subcommittee of the Education Committee subsequently reviewed this issue with Elbert Garcia and Jennifer Duran. This was an informational meeting only as no formal program had been submitted.
In addition to these discussions, which took place at scheduled meetings of the committee, a closer cooperation was initiated between representatives of three Senate committees: the Budget Review, Physical Development, and Education committees. After a n initial meeting of the chairs of the Budget Review and Education committees with Mr. Larry Kilduff, Vice President for Facilities Management, a tentative plan was made for representatives of the three committees to meet on an annual basis with Mr. Kildu ff to discuss concerns that involve physical facilities of the University.
In other business, the committee has reviewed a sample combined plan affiliation agreement between SEAS and another undergraduate college. The committee was satisfied that this and similar affiliation agreements that may be made in the future preserve the existing academic integrity of the combined plan and determined that it was not necessary to review similar agreements unless major changes were contemplated in the future.
The committee spent some time in reviewing the Berlin Consortium agreement, which already has been implemented, and other existing study-abroad programs. No action appears necessary for programs in which courses are taught by Columbia faculty. Other courses should be subject to the usual limitations set on transfer credits.
The committee finalized its work on the proposed revisions of standards and procedures for non-degree documents. These revisions were introduced in a resolution that was approved by the senate. In keeping with the spirit of these revisions, the committ ee was notified by the Vice Provost of his provisional approval of two Statement of Attendance programs, which in due course will be reviewed by the committee during the next academic year.
Finally, the committee has continued to monitor the progress on issues that were carried over from the previous year(s):
- The future of the Speech program. Vice-President Cohen has notified the committee that speech courses will be offered in the next year and that adjunct faculty will be hired to teach these courses. While we are encouraged by this decision, we express some concern about the contents of the courses, their enrollment and the role of a popular and efficient member of the present faculty.
- The Teaching Resource Center. The committee has been kept informed about the progress toward the actual establishment of such a Center. We are disappointed that there appears to be a real delay in this important implementation phase and urge the Admi nistration to give this project a greater priority than it presently seems to have.
Chairman Education Committee