University Senate April 23, 1999

 

 

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE

 

ON ENLARGEMENT AND ENHANCEMENT:

 

1998-99

 

The Senate Committee on E&E was created in April 1997, and began meeting in 1997-98. No report was made to the Senate its first year; this, then, is its first report. We have met regularly during the 1998-1999 academic year, discussing a range of issues, most of them concerning the purpose and objectives of this new committee.

The Committee on E&E is saddled with a number of unusual challenges, the greatest of which is that E&E can be said to touch upon virtually every aspect of campus intellectual and social life; the committee, necessarily, has to define its role as precisely as possible, and much of our discussion has centered on this.

We have also had to wrestle with the perception that all problems on campus--e.g., overcrowded classrooms or libraries, computer and modem access, not enough faculty in economics, registration difficulties, etc.--are the result of E&E. Some of them may well be exacerbated by E&E, but many if not most of these predated E&E, and we need to be very clear about which issues are in fact longstanding, which are compounded by E&E, and which are a direct result of E&E. We have asked that all complaints about E&E brought to the attention of this committee be as detailed as possible in order to clarify the role E&E has played.

Perhaps the greatest challenge for this committee is the lack of available data on key aspects of E&E, including, but not limited to data on: enrollment figures and projections for the College, Engineering, and General Studies; past and current figures as well as projections for the number of full-time and adjunct faculty; studies of classroom and electronic classroom use; and current and projected plans for enhancement of dormitories, physical education facilities, libraries, etc. Without this data we are not in any position to evaluate the impact of E&E. Much of this data is now being gathered for other Senate or faculty committees and shared with us. Tracking this over the next decade or so will be critical to the work of this committee.

 

The immediate goal of the E&E committee, then, is to create a database to be shared with other Senate committees--whose areas of concern overlap at many points with ours.

This goes for Enhancement as much as Enlargement; there is simply not enough information available to the Senate, and by extension, the Columbia community, about the many new facilities that are being built, or rebuilt, around us. So far we have reviewed two documents: one, a report on the faculty; the other a table with recent construction projects on campus (the table and an executive summary of the report are appended).

We are grateful to the senior administrators on the committee for beginning to making this information available. That kind of cooperation will be crucial if this committee is to succeed in its long-term goal of identifying trends in E&E. We also need more information on fiscal issues that are central to the prospects of E&E. If Arts and Sciences revenue for E&E is contingent upon tuition revenue (currently roughly 90%), how vulnerable is E&E to the pressures of tuition increases? The original model was based on an assumption of 6 percent annual increases in tuition; clearly that assumption was not sustainable.

 

Perhaps the most crucial question is how much money generated by the expansion of the size of the College will benefit the College. The committee plans to collect the relevant data for this over time.

 

We have made a slower start than we would have liked. But the committee has worked by consensus, and what is critical is defining our role and then ensuring that we meet our goals. This report is a first step.

Respectfully submitted,

James Shapiro

Professor of English

Chair, E&E Committee