November 4, 2005 | Great Hall, Levering
Steering committee officers present:
Prof. Hilary Bok (President)
Prof. Todd Hufnagel (Secretary)
Prof. Bok opened the meeting at 3:00 PM by welcoming the faculty and guests. She entertained a motion to approve the minutes from the May 5, 2005. The motion was offered, seconded, and approved.
2. President Brody's remarks
Prof. Bok introduced President William Brody. Prof. Brody began his remarks by commenting that he continues to be perplexed by the low turnout by the faculty for assembly meetings, particularly among the junior faculty. Prof. Brody stated that the University is in good shape. The present fund-raising campaign has reached $1.9 billion of a $2 billion goal, with two years left to go.
President Brody indicated that the University, and higher education more generally, faces two principal challenges. The first of these is financial. The present situation resembles, in some ways, the 1970s, with increasing energy prices, inflation, and interest rates. The prospect for the immediate future is either flat NIH funding or an absolute cut in research dollars. He said that Elias Zerhouni (Director of NIH) stated that university deans and presidents are "in denial" about NIH funding; they are all planning on increasing their research budgets, even though NIH funding will be flat or decreasing. President Brody said that the first casualty is likely to be junior faculty; the University needs to allow for more support of junior faculty.
Although the federal budget outlook is bleak, there is good news in the State of Maryland, whose budget is in surplus this year and is likely to be in good shape for several years to come. President Brody anticipates that JHU will receive its full Sellinger aid funding this year, the same as last. President Brody said that he had met with the Governor's chief of staff who was "singing our praises." The Ehrlich administration has been very supportive and appreciative of late.
The second major challenge, according to Prof. Brody, is a creeping suspicion of higher education, as evidenced by the intelligent design controversy, legislation limiting stem cell research funding, and tuition caps. The University needs to convey to the public the true cost of education, although President Brody did suggest that a tuition cap is just one tool for some opponents to bring universities to bay.
President Brody briefly mentioned the higher security costs at Homewood Campus, and said that he is trying to help the deans cover those expenses.
President Brody went on to briefly describe the major construction projects at Homewood, including the Decker Quad, Charles Commons, and the start of planning for the renovation of Gilman Hall. He mentioned that the University has just received the first $1 million commitment towards the Gilman Hall renovation.
President Brody also mentioned that raising endowment money for endowed professorships and scholarships is a priority which he is working on.
Finally, President Brody mentioned that Ed Skrodzki is bringing a new vision to the security of the Homewood Campus.
President Brody then entertained questions from the faculty.
Q (unidentified professor): Can you expand on the
"new vision for security"?
Q (Prof. Karl Alexander, Sociology): Can you tell us
how the Schools of Engineering and Arts and Sciences are
doing with respect to the campaign?
3. Provost Steven Knapp
Prof. Bok invited Dr. Knapp to make remarks, especially including comments on academic relations with government and specifically with regard to student visa issues and new Department of Commerce regulations.
Dr. Knapp reported that there is good news regarding student visas and issues with foreign nationals more generally. There had been apprehension about that "deemed export" regulations would make conducting research more difficult, such as requiring an export license to use certain export-restricted equipment in the presence of foreign nationals. His deepest concern had been signs of a turn against the "fundamental research exemption" for many university activities.
University officials have been in extensive talks with government officials, including an October 5, 2005 meeting with the Secretary of State. The University is also working with the American Association of Universities and the American Council on Education. These efforts seem to be having an effect; Maggie McIntosh is "getting signals" from the Department of Commerce that new rules to be issued shortly will incorporate many of the proposals from institutions of higher education. In particular, individuals here on student visas will not be treated as foreign nationals for the purposes of conducting research. However, we still need to be vigilant on these issues.
Dr. Knapp went on to say that there is also good news regarding student visas. He read a letter from Nick Arrindell (International Students and Scholars Office), which stated that visa processes have largely returned to their pre-9/11 status. For this year, every Homewood F and J visa application was processed successfully. However, deadlines remain important. The Department of State security review process, which had been taking 4-6 months, is down to about 14 days. Also, the EB2 process for permanent residency has changed; departments should contact Nick Arrindell for more details.
Dr. Knapp concluded by saying that the upper levels of the Bush administration seem more sensitive to the concerns of higher education.
Q (Prof. Jason Eisner, Computer Science): What about
issues regarding foreign students who leave the country to
Dr. Knapp also commented briefly on the status of several University personnel searches. For the KSAS dean, next week they will conclude the first round of interviews (there were eleven first-round candidates). This is in line with the expedited schedule to finish this search in one semester and have the new dean in place early next year. The search for the new directory of the Peabody Institute is not as far along; a committee has been established, and Dr. Knapp anticipates that they will have a replacement identified by April. Another important position is the Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations, as Robert Lindgren recently left to become president and Randolph Macon College.
4. Larry Kilduff, Executive Director of Facilities
Dr. Bok introduced Larry Kilduff for an update on capital projects. Mr. Kilduff in turn introduced Mr. Jim Miller, Senior Director of Design and Construction to make a presentation. Dr. Miller handed out a list of current projects and their status:
a. Bologna Center Renovation and Expansion -
b. Charles Commons - HSA
c. Decker Quadrangle - WSE, HSA & UA
d. Dormitory Access Control - HSA
e. Gilman Hall Renovation - KSAS
f. Homewood Field / Practice Field Resurfacing -
g. Hopkins Nanjing Center - SAIS
h. Jenkins Lab Renovation - KSAS
i. Library Service Center - SL
j. Maryland Hall Classroom Renovations - WSE
k. San Martin Center - UA
l. Seton Building Renovation (SPSBE Education Center) -
SPSBE, JHP & SL
Q (Prof. Howard Egeth, Psychology): Will there be a
bridge across Charles Street to the Charles Commons?
Q (Prof. Egeth): Why are conveniences (post office,
etc) being moved off campus, across Charles Street?
Q (Prof. Steven David, Political Science): With
local communities restricting parking, where are graduate
students to park?
Q (Prof. David): But what about the students?
Q (unidentified professor): How about parking in
what was formerly the intermittent south-bound lane on
Charles Street? Can that be made available to the
Q (Prof. Alan Goldman, Mathematical Sciences): Where
will services currently offered by the post office in
Gilman, such as registered mail, be provided?
Q (Prof. Goldman): Will the rooms in the Charles
Common project have internet access?
Q (Prof. Alan Shapiro, Archaeology): Is renovation
of Villa Spelman being considered?
5. Other business
Prof. Bok opened the floor to general discussion and questions.
Q (Prof. Goldman): Is there any update on issues
regarding cheating on the GRE and TOEFL exams in the
People's Republic of China?
Q (Prof. Richard Conn Henry, Physics and Astronomy):
Expressed disappointment at the flu vaccine shortage, and
expressed a hope that he would like to see better
performance on avian flu.
Q (Prof. Bruce Barnett, Physics and Astronomy): Is
the University doing anything to help victims of Hurricane
GO TO HOMEWOOD SCHOOLS FACULTY ASSEMBLY HOME PAGE
GO TO HOMEWOOD SCHOOLS ACADEMIC COUNCIL HOME PAGE
GO TO JHUNIVERSE
© 2005 The Johns Hopkins University.
Baltimore, Maryland. All rights reserved.