Committee Minutes

School Senate 02/28/2011



New York University

Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development


Monday, February 28, 2011

11:00 a.m. – 12 p.m., Payne Room




Present: Alpert, Astuto, Berg, Borisoff, Carey, Dietrich, Goerdt, Halkitis, Knight, Lu, Moja, Moran, Sadoff, Stage, Torreano, Voelbel, Weaver, Weitzman


1.     Welcome – Fran Stage, School Planning Committee Chair

Approval of Minutes of the Meeting of January 31, 2011

 2.     Report from the Deans – Beth Weitzman, Acting Dean 

  • Faculty Search Committees: Many are actively engaged in approximately 14 faculty searches that are well underway – a couple of offers have been accepted; these have been very positive, exciting experiences.
  • Clinical Faculty Guidelines: Sharon Weinberg is facilitating workshops for clinical faculty members who are preparing for review this year.  They are discussing ideas about updating CVs and preparing personal statements.  Throughout all of this the importance of being as flexible and reflective as possible has become clear.  Clinical faculty members are involved in different types of work and for many a narrative presentation is not the best way to present their work and accomplishments.  Different media and multiple forms need to be encouraged, e.g., links to exhibits that convey important features of their work.  This process has also highlighted the need to review appointments, e.g., some “master teachers” should become “clinical faculty.”
  • Support for Clinical Faculty: Claude Blenman indicated that individual questions and the workshops have raised other questions regarding the form and substance for review.  She is building an FAQ for clinical faculty to capture these questions and experiences.
  • New Academic Initiatives: A new education studies minor – Global and Urban Education – builds on faculty and student interests.
  • Doctoral Admissions: Perry Halkitis reported the amazing characteristics of the acceptances.  Right now Admissions is working on the acceptance letters to meet the March 7th deadline.
  • Budget Planning: Steinhardt administrators are working with central administration and department chairs to develop budgets. The chairs have been asked to identify new initiatives, new resource allocation priorities, resource needs, and strategies for gaining resources.  Steinhardt is developing the best case and gathering the best information needed in order to move forward.

 3.     Reports from the Undergraduate Student Organization (USG) – Mitchell Weaver 

The All-U games are over.  Stern beat us again, but Steinhardt had the best events – came in 2nd place for mascot, 1st place for spirit.  Next year will be even better.  Class wars are over; built lots of community.  The semiformal was a great event.  Elections are beginning soon.  Instead of school-by-school schedules, the process has been streamlined.  All schools will have elections at the same time (which will be earlier for Steinhardt) and they are all on line.  The second annual gala will happen in April. Great excitement in USG!

4.     Report from the University Senate – Terence Moran

At the last faculty meeting, Ted Magder announced the decision to keep the university calendar as is.  During the University Senate discussion, a student asked, “why do we have to change everything for everybody for a small number of students?” 

Two other issues are of concern.  First, a trustee-driven initiative proposes to change the way retirees get their benefits (beginning with new hires and faculty younger than 50).  The University Faculty Senators’ Council asked for a moratorium until the proposal can be studied.  There is no idea where they will go.

The second issue involves ways of incorporating Poly and Abu Dhabi into faculty governance.  Who are the faculty? Do they want to be involved? Did they initiate this or did we?  The University Faculty Senators Council raised Abu Dhabi; Sexton raised Poly.  The students are ahead of the faculty in terms of considering participation in the University Senate.  Students had a conference at “Abu Dhabi House.”  Involving faculty is more difficult.  We don’t know who the faculty is – who’s tenured or tenure track?  Timing?  Some faculty will be visiting on the 10th, but we don’t know who chose them.

[Discussion]  Regarding the change in retiree’s benefits, what is it now and how do they want to change it?  At this point it’s unclear; some issues are related to federal legislation.  Trustees want to have retirees receive a voucher to buy into a variety of option.  But there are lots of unknowns.  The purpose is to save the university money, but serious questions came from faculty from the medical school and the social work school. The central administration presents this to us as if they have nothing to do with it; this is a trustee-driven initiative.  The Administrative Management Council wrote to the Trustees, but the Trustees didn’t respond.  All we’ve asked is wait until we know more.

 5.     Report from the Faculty Council – Fran Stage

Reporting from the Faculty Affairs Committee, Teboho Moja raised the question about Steinhardt’s policy and practice regarding the terms of departmental chairs.  Clarity is needed.  We understand that the appointment of chairs is the prerogative of the dean.  What is the practice and process in appointing chairs, when do they get reviewed, why do they get reviewed.  Professor Pryor reported to the Faculty Council that it seemed that the Department of Art and Art Professions was experiencing something new including the information that chairs were appointed for two three-year terms and faculty were asked for input on department directions through an online survey.  Representatives from some of the other departments reported that changes in department chairs occurred in their departments and there were some processes of getting input from the faculty.  Departments have had different experiences, e.g., some have had frequent turnover of chairs, others have chairs who have been serving for more than 6 years.   In the case of Art & Art Professions, the notice seemed abrupt and provided insufficient time for discussion and for transitioning to a new chair.

[Discussion/Beth Weitzman.] To clarify, the idea of “term limits” is more a philosophy than a policy.  Documents went to chairs discussing chair turnover and the preference for leadership to be shared by multiple members of departments and that faculty should be involved in a review process.  This applies to each of the 11 departments, but in one or 2 cases the departments are small which makes it more difficult.  In practice there are differences in different departments.  In Art & Art Professions, the discussion and planning for turnover are happening right now. The faculty is being asked to identify achievements in in recent years and who might lead the department going forward.   The deans spoke to the chairs involved with review this year and decided on an online survey to provide for confidential feedback.  The process is to meet with people whose names were identified through the survey.

Communication is complex.  The presumption is that there is a kind of communication with the chairs that goes to the department.  Sometimes that doesn’t happen or it does happen but not all the faculty members get the messages.  This discussion has gone on for many months and the three chairs involved had a chance to review the survey items.   To help with the communication and the planning, perhaps in the future the survey could come out sooner.

What if 6 years goes by and no one is willing to take that on the chairpersonship?  That has happened and it could happen again.  The “term limits” are a strategy for ensuring shared leadership.  The philosophy provides a set of guiding principles, not a law.  It represents an aspiration about what leadership and leadership succession could look like. 

 Budget Priorities Survey – Lindsay Wright

The faculty ranking indicated the following top four preferences for discretionary spending: adding faculty; increasing the number of doctoral students; increasing support for faculty research; financial aid for master’s students.  (113 of 262 faculty responded.)  More details will be provided in the future.

Update on Adjunct Contract

The contract was extended for two weeks, so there will be a contract until at least mid-spring break. 


Respectfully submitted,

Terry Astuto, Faculty Secretary