At its last meeting of the fall on December 8, the University Senate approved the establishment of a new Arts and Sciences department--of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology. It also heard a favorable report from Faculty Affairs on a request for professorships of practice in the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).


The proposed department, sometimes called "3EB," had already been approved at a plenary meeting of the Arts and Sciences faculty in September, and was endorsed unanimously by the Senate, though the resolution also called for a review in three years to ensure "that the department has a sufficient core of full-time faculty and other resources to support properly the educational programs it is offering."


Sen. Eugene Litwak, chair of Faculty Affairs, said the committee was convinced of SIPA's need for renewable appointments for professors of practice--that is, gifted teachers and distinguished practitioners of professions in international and public affairs who are not candidates for tenure in the University. In reviewing the proposal, Faculty Affairs followed guidelines the Senate established in a 1994 resolution, which sought to balance the need for special appointments of this kind with the need to protect tenure standards and procedures by limiting the fraction of such special appointments in any school to one tenth of its total number of tenured and tenure-track officers of instruction.


The Senate also heard a brief report from External Relations on its rebuttal of a critique from the Academic Consortium on International Trade of deliberations that have provided the basis for anti-sweatshop policies recently adopted by American universities, including Columbia. There were also progress reports from subcommittees inquiring into Columbia's ties with and into salary disparities within and between departments, and between language lecturers and other full-time faculty.


At the request of President Rupp, the Senate observed a moment of silence for Andrea Melendez, a Columbia College sophomore who died in a fall on December 6. In his report, Rupp also announced the appointments of Jonathan Arac as chair of the English Dept. and Gerald Fischback as Vice President for Health Sciences. Rupp also offered to respond to questions about the pause in construction of a new Social Work building that he had announced on November 13, but there were none.