CCSU Faculty Senate

Minutes—December 9, 2013

VAC 105   3:05 PM

Present: Anderson, C.; Arena, J.; Ball, K.; Barr, B.; Bernstein, S.; Bilisoly, R.; Blake, E.; Boscarino, N.; Broadus-Garcia, C.; Cox, S.; D'Amato, K.; Fallon, M.; Fothergill, W.; Hazan, S.; He, F.; Horowitz, S.; Jackson, M.; Johnson, D.; Kean, K.; Kim, Y.; Koplowitz, B.; Kovel, J.; Kurkjian, C.; Larsen, K.; Latour, F.; Lee, S.; Leon, J.; Liard-Muriente, C.; Lim, K.; Love, K.; Martin-Troy, K.; Melnyl, J.; McGuire, M.; O'Connor, J.; Pancsofar, E.; Paolino, J.; Passaro, M.; Phillips, E.; Pozorski, A.; Ragusett, J.; Reasco, A.; Rosenberg, J.; Santoro, K.; Sarisley, E.; Schlickmann, P.; Snyder, J.; Stookey, S.; Sweeney, D.; Tellier, A.; Tully, J.; Wang, W.; Williams, C.

Ex-Officio: Lovitt, C.; Malhas, F.; Pease, S.; Shojai, S.

Parliamentarian: Dimmick, C.

President of the Senate: Cohen, S.

Guests: Stephen Adair (FAC to the BOR); Ivan Gotchev (Mathematical Sciences); Khaled Hammad (Engineering); Audra King (Philosophy); Mary Ann Mahony (AAUP President); Zbigniew Prusak (Engineering); Susan Seider (Graduate Studies Committee); Laura Tordenti (VP Student Affairs)

1. Approval of Minutes, November 25, 2013

2. Announcements

a.  AAUP President (M. A. Mahony)

On Thursday, January 23, the AAUP will host a Meet and Greet with Board of Regents members, CSU faculty, students and alumni. This is part of an effort to get the BOR to know more about us and what we do.

AAUP chapter presidents and Senate presidents will meet with BOR President Gray on Friday.

The first chapter meeting of the Spring semester will be on January 27, at lunchtime, in the Connecticut Room.

Jesse Turner was elected as AAUP council member. Congratulations to him.

b.  SUOAF-AFSCME President (E. Hicks)

No announcements.

c.  SGA (B. Choplick)

No announcements.

d.  FAC to the BOR (S. Adair)

The next FAC meeting is on December 20. BOR President Gray asked to attend, to talk more about ExcelCT.

Terms of new FAC members will begin on January 1.

Due to the loss of Braden Hosch, the TAP has been essentially non-moving.

There are 3 finalists for the position of system provost. The interviews will be soon; FAC members and union leadership have been invited to attend the interviews. The hiring decision will be announced soon.

e.  President of the Faculty Senate (S. Cohen)

The BOR appointed a committee of two (one from SCSU, one from Tunxis) to draft a common (systemwide) calendar, but the draft has not gone anywhere yet.

3. Committee Reports

a.  Graduate Studies Committee (S. Seider)

Motion (Latour/Martin-Troy): To send item 1 to the Committee on Committees for review, and approve the rest of the report.

Approved unanimously

b.  Curriculum Committee (M. Jackson)

Approved unanimously

4. New Business

a.  Discussion of the proposal for the creation of a STEM school (F. Malhas, S. Pease, C. Lovitt)

Provost Lovitt said that the discussion of a possible STEM school has been going on since he came to CCSU (at least). President Miller was reluctant at the beginning, especially if there was dissention about the proposal. However, at some point, he decided that we should go ahead.

At this point, all departments that would be natural fits for the new school support its creation.

The new school would increase opportunities for collaboration and resource generation.

Dean Malhas will soon have a report for Provost Lovitt on the proposed new school.

In the Spring, there will be at least one open forum to allow people to ask questions about the proposal.

If a decision is made to move forward with the creation of a STEM school, the Senate will be included in the discussion.

Dean Malhas listed what, in his mind, are advantages of the creation of the new school. They include: an integrated culture that encompasses all STEM disciplines under one umbrella; a structure that facilitates interdisciplinary collaborations and use of facilities; the creation of centers of excellence in STEM; a shared vision to promote STEM education; a structure for ensuring a robust STEM outreach agenda; the integration of STEM disciplines under one leadership. Also, the new school will allow CCSU to be a STEM powerhouse, and to have STEM be a distinguishing feature of CCSU (but not at the expense of non-STEM departments). It will also allow for more effective utilization of resources by STEM programs. He sees no disadvantages.

Provost Lovitt said that, although agencies such as NSF use a very inclusive definition of STEM, there is no value in creating a monstrously large school at this point. The proposal would therefore focus on creating a new school that includes all departments currently in the School of Engineering and Technology, plus other departments that have a natural synergy with Engineering.

The State seems interested in supporting STEM, seeing that there is an unmet need (230,000 new STEM jobs are projected by 2018). Business and industry are also interested.

Provost Lovitt believes that the proposed school would be a win-win for the entire institution, and that the promotion of STEM would not be done at the expense of other disciplines.

Dean Malhas said that there might be some expenses involved in the transition to the new structure, but no additional expenses.

Senator Horowitz pointed out that, in reality, the proposal would create two new structures: the STEM school, and the school of those "left behind" in Arts and Sciences. Is there a more positive way to think about those "left behind"? Dean Pease said that we can think of them as a new school of "Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences", but that this name is not final.

Senate President Cohen asked if this proposal was independent of the ExcelCT plan, although there are obviously connections between the two. Answer: Yes.

Senator Tully restated the importance of involving the Senate in these discussions.

AAUP President Mahony asked about the future of teacher education programs, and of faculty who are involved in teacher preparation. Faculty members in departments that would be moving from A&S to the STEM school have expressed a desire to remain in their current departments. Dean Malhas answered that the best solution is for departments to remain intact when they move to the STEM school. STEM education would be a collaborative effort between faculty in different departments.

Also, it is important for tenure-track faculty in affected departments to have the transition done in a way that they can be successful with the tenure process. Provost Lovitt and Dean Malhas agreed.

b.  Approval of the Fall 2013 candidates for graduation (Deans Pease, Shojai, Alfano, Malhas and Fitzgerald)

Approved unanimously

5. Unfinished Business

a.  Further Discussion of the ConnSCU plan

CCSU Suggestions for ConnSCU Strategic Plan

ConnSCU Strategic Plan

CSU Leadership Group response to ConnSCU Strategic Plan

BOR President Gray's response to the CSU Leadership Group's letter

Proposed Senate Response

An e-mail that was sent by Professor David Blitz to all Senators and Alternates was discussed. In his e-mail, he praised the letter, and suggested making two of the statements stronger. Senator Broadus-Garcia said that she prefers the original, "softer" statements.

Senator Arena said that he would remove the language about a "leadership vacuum", while Senator Tully said that he would not. Senate President Cohen said that BOR President Gray and the legislature have both mentioned a leadership vacuum, so we are in a sense quoting him.

Senator Pancsofar worried about the possibility of BOR President Gray not reading the letter, because he could see it as being "long". Senators Latour and Tully pointed out that we could summarize it for him (for example, AAUP President Mahony could discuss it with him at the meeting on Friday).

Senators Anderson and Kovel spoke in support of the removal of the words "when today’s employment-driven emphases have faded".

Motion (Anderson/Sarisley): to strike the words "when today’s employment-driven emphases have faded" from the letter.

Approved, with one senator opposed

Motion: To approve the letter as amended, with typos corrected, and for Senate President Cohen to send it to BOR President Gray.

Approved unanimously

5. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 4:19pm.