Steering Committee meets at Inn

by Kascha B. Semon | 9/30/98 5:00am

The Steering Committee of the General Faculty held its annual meeting yesterday over lunch in the Hanover Inn.

College President James Wright, who presided over the meeting for the first time, having previously attended the meetings for many years as dean of the faculty, asked the committee for suggestions on how to accomplish more during general faculty meetings. He proposed possible re-structuring of the meeting to open issues to discussion.

The committee members agreed, but questioned whether the infrequency and format of the meetings prevent effective discussion. Starting activities which continue outside of the meeting, such as college programs to celebrate the millennium, was also proposed.

The committee approved with little discussion the attendance policies for both the faculty steering committee and general faculty committee.

Committee members, along with invited guests from various other committees, discussed and approved several annual policies and reports compiled by divisions of the committee.

The group moved on to approve the appointment of Engineering Professor Francis Kennedy to the Council on Sponsored Activities for a three-year term.

For the remainder of the meeting, representatives of other groups recounted the activities during the year and presented reports, all of which the committee approved.

The representative for the Council on Benefits described changes made in faculty retirement plans which allow faculty who retire early to pay for benefits in the interim period before they turn 65. Another change allows faculty who have moved or changed institutions to reach earlier retirement.

The next report was presented by the chair of the Council on Sponsored Activities, a group that determines guidelines for individuals or organizations who receive funding, such as research grants, from the college.

Over the year, the committee defined the roles and responsibility of persons who deal with college and externally funded research, and decided that the college should provide consistent training for those involved.

In addition, the group established a subcommittee on the Conflict of Interest Policy to resolve issues arising from the policy which settles conflicts among faculty.

Some committee members questioned the fairness of the funding application process because only a few individuals are informed of changes made after the initial application, but the process was approved nonetheless.

The representative for the Council on Libraries described the issues facing the committee, including the enormous funds needed to purchase new resources, particularly electronic ones.

One new electronic program will cost an initial $315,00 plus an annual fee of $80,000, but the College deemed it necessary in order to offer medical and engineering resources competitive with similar institutions.

The council also raised concerns over the growing cost of prestigious journals containing articles published by faculty, an expense that, ironically, increases with the success of the faculty.

Finally, the Council on Graduate Studies listed a few minor changes made in grading policies for particular graduate classes.

With the Steering Committee's approval, the General Faculty will convene on Monday, Oct. 19 for the report of the president and a discussion of the new College Master Plan, a long term project that guides all the College's decisions.

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