Committee Minutes

School Senate 03/28/2011


New York University

Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development


Monday, March 28, 2011

11:00 a.m. – 12 p.m., Payne Room




Present: Wesbrooks (Chair), Astuto, Alpert, Blenman, Borisoff, Carey, Dietrich, Fisherkeller, Goerdt, Hammack, Knight, Lu, Rosenberg, Sadoff, Torreano, Weitzman, Wesbrooks, Wright

 1.    Welcome – Bill Wesbrooks, Chair

Minutes of the Meeting of February 28, 2011, approved with one abstention.

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

Graduation Activities – Pat Carey:  Invitations to graduation events were mailed to 759 undergraduates, 1582 MA graduates, and 120 doctoral graduates.  The dance education students will perform and fabulous distinguished alums will be recognized.  These are very big productions and there is student and faculty representation from all departments.  The Beacon Theater is a small space, so we can’t offer many extra tickets - 3 for the Baccalaureate, 2 for the Valedictory.  Few venues are available for such large gatherings.  The Beacon Theater is beautiful and the Baccalaureate and the Valedictory will be wonderful.  The Doctoral Convocation will be in Kimmel.  Because it is smaller, there will be more tickets available.  A reception will follow the Convocation.

Online Course Student Feedback Forms – Beth Weitzman & Lindsay Wright: Sharon Weinberg & Fran Stage agreed to co-chair an advisory committee to review the pilot experience and make implementation recommendations.  The survey will open on April 18 and closed on May 9th.   It will be especially important to work with the experiences of students and faculty in the pilot.  Participation is important. 

 Capital Planning Update – Robert Knight: Administration & Finance is leaving Pless and moving to new offices on Mercer (near Coles) – 7th floor of the Noho Building, which has a front door on Broadway.  This is an initial step in the capital plan.  This early step is necessary to begin work in Pless Hall (6th floor), which ultimately will be occupational therapy.  Crews will start first on asbestos abatement – one of the many stepping-stones.  A big part of the renovation is to connect our building to the cogeneration plan, adding chilled water, taking the steam shop out of commission in the East Building.  This will affect Loeb Theater but yield better space and addressing ADA compliance, egress, etc.  Also, the planning is trying to help some of the departments have more contiguous office space.   The work will be scheduled to minimize disruptions; some times work will be occurring on 2 or 3 floors at a time. The buildings need to be refitted for HPAC; existing systems will remain as a back up.   This is a complex undertaking.  An enormous amount of work is needed that won’t beautify or make our work better, but it is necessary for renovating the infrastructure.  In terms of cost approximately $39million addresses mainly infrastructure, $39 million addresses compliance, and $39 million will improve the quality of the space.  We have approval for Phase 1: Pless, East, and then the Education Building.  Fundraising is underway.  Negotiations are in process with LTL (the architectural firm that did test fits) for designing the new departmental spaces.  LTL is good at both the technical aspects and the creative dimensions of design necessary to reflect the character of the departments and links with Steinhardt.

Budget – Robert Knight & Beth Weitzman: This is a challenging time.  Parameters of how the University deals with budgeting are changing (e.g., “balance of trade”, tuition, etc.)  Faculty recruitment & retention are high priorities.   Meetings are occurring with department chairs to figure out specific departmental needs.  Steinhardt deans are working with senior administration regarding the budget.  Our priorities mesh nicely with University priorities, which could be beneficial throughout the process.

Global Initiatives – Erich Dietrich: The VP of South Africa visited and got to hear about our work in South Africa (Teboho Moja, Sally Guttmacher, Larry Aber).

The undergraduate minor in global education has been approved.  After a few revisions the joint MA in teaching Spanish (shared between Steinhardt & CAS) has been approved.  Shondel Nero worked on this. 

Working Group on Fieldwork – Erich Dietrich: A group with representatives from all departments has been convened with subcommittees, e.g., fieldwork abroad for public health, international.

 3.    Reports from the Student Organizations

Graduate Student Organization (GS0) – Victoria Sung

GSO sponsored the first ever career day in response to the professional development needs of the graduate students.  About 40 students from various departments participated.  Elections are open; all positions are open.  The Star Awards will be presented to faculty and students who have helped students at the end of the year dinner on April 28th.  At the end of the semester GSO will be co-sponsoring a day of relaxation (yoga, free massages, movies).

 Undergraduate Student Organization (USG) – Mitchell Weaver

USG and GSO participated in the day of service on Saturday on campus (e.g., making surgery dolls and craft kits) and off campus (e.g., working in a soup kitchen).  The Second Annual Gala will recognize faculty and students who go “above and beyond” for students.  A student run committee (8 students) will review the nominations. The “Tip to Tip Walk” on April 30th will raise money for “Donors Choose” charity.  This year elections will be run centrally across all the schools at the same time and online.  USG is also working on changes, e.g., a smaller eboard, and new schedule for meetings.  Finally, the senior legacy is the  “1831 fund” (named for the NYU founding date).  Every graduating student will donate $18.31 for a financial aid fund at Steinhardt.

4.     Report from the University Senators – Floyd Hammack

 First, the University Faculty Senators are interested in finding ways of integrating the faculty from Abu Dhabi and Poly into the University Faculty Senators Council.  Poly faculty members have begun to join the meetings; integrating faculty at NYU AD will be more difficult.   Second, the trustees adopted a change in retiree medical benefits that will affect current faculty under 50 and new faculty.  The FSC passed a resolution regarding some of the components of the process.  The technical reality is that the University is obligated to set aside money now to cover future liabilities (a big $#) does not feel there’s any way to put controls on expenditures.  At the same time, FSC is trying to maintain faculty participation in decision processes.  Also, the discussion is continuing regarding the adoption of a new policy at the medical school regarding PhD faculty salaries, i.e., that research faculty has to bring in a fraction of their salary.  This is a continuing struggle because this means that the circumstances under which faculty were retained have been changed in regard to basic contract feature; the issues are about process rather than the idea of the change in salary obligations.   Finally, the global expansion continues to be a concern – now NYU Shanghai.  It is hard to underestimate how much time has gone into the global initiatives and what the push to global has a cost at the square, especially in terms of time and attention.  NYU Shanghai will involve quite different realities – a local student population, a much more of a national focus, and tuition driven budget.

[Discussion: Erich Dietrich said that NYU Shanghai will begin to fund itself and be its own university.  Beth Weitzman indicated that planning for NYU Shanghai is trying to find the right balance between being conceived of as an elite Chinese university and a broader set of criteria for admission, between being stellar within the Chinese system and also within an NYU vision of stellar education in terms of admissions criteria, academic freedom, educational/institutional style.  Also, the Chinese government has different perspective on setting tuition than NYU.

 5.    Report from the Faculty Council – Bill Wesbrooks

  • Doctoral Committee Formation: The Faculty Council is gathering feedback from the faculty regarding the recommendation of the Doctoral Affairs Committee on the timing of the appointment of the doctoral committee chair and members.  That will be discussed at the next meeting.
  • Election: The Steinhardt faculty election will occur later in April and nominations are being sought now for vacant position.
  • Expository Writing Courses: The Undergraduate Affairs Committee is considering issues with student writing skills and the Expository Writing course. 
  • University Institute of Public Health: Concerns have been raised regarding the Institute of Public Health and implications for Steinhardt faculty, e.g., at the end of the day, who do they work for; what is the admissions process for dual degrees?
  • Online Course Feedback Process: Concerns about implementation of the online Course Feedback form include opportunities for broad-based discussion and policy decisions regarding purposes and appropriate use of the information.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry A. Astuto, Faculty Secretary