March 6, 2007
(Minutes Approved 9/24/07)
Officers present: Kevin Hemker (president), Todd Hufnagel (vice president) Officer absent: Betsy Bryan (Secretary)
1. The meeting was called to order by Prof. Hemker at 3:05PM. A motion was made, seconded, and passed to approve the minutes from the prior meeting (10/9/06) as written.
2. Prof. Hemker introduced Provost Steve Knapp. Provost Knapp began his comments by noting that there are two university wide searches on at present, for provost and for the founding dean of the Carey School. He encouraged nominations from the faculty, whom he indicated are the best source of candidates. The chair of the provost search committee is Dean Michael Clagg of the School of Public Health, while the Carey school search is led by David Nichols, vice dean of the School of Medicine.
Provost Knapp briefly mentioned a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees, and that the current campaign is on target to reach its goal of $3.2 billion by December, 2008.
Provost Knapp discussed the importance of the current legislative session, in which the university has two initiatives. One is to restore the formula for Sellinger aid, which had been cut and then restored under the Ehrlich administration and currently provides income to the university of $25 million annually. The second is money for Gilman Hall; we are asking for two $2 million installments in successive years. Provost Knapp said that he is worried about next year; the state has a structural deficit, and we need to continue to educate the legislature about funding for universities. State funds are leveraged ten times or more by matching from the university, providing great economic benefit to the state.
The bulk of Provost Knapp's comments were a reflection on the state of the university. He said that one of the best things about the university is its unadulterated focus on excellence, which he continually sees demonstrated through the Academic Council process. The Academic Council works very hard, mostly on promotion cases, with a core focus on excellent scholarship. Related to this is the centrality of inquiry to all that goes on at Hopkins; this sets a tone for the institution - knowledge is the focus. Finally, he said that relative freedom from bureaucratic processes is a strength; for instance, no one second guesses decisions made by the Academic Council. This is not necessarily true at other schools, where appointments and other decisions go through multiple levels of review.
Provost Knapp also pointed out that the university faces several challenges. Foremost among these are finances. Hopkins has pushed the envelope on tuition increases, in line with its peer institutions. We need to be sure that families can still afford us; also, the federal government may take an interest in regulating increases. It will be difficult to continue to increase the gap between tuition and family income, even though financial aid increases faster than tuition.
A related issue is pressure on federal research spending, which is being reflected through shortfalls in F&A recovery due to a shift in research sponsorship to corporations and foundations that don't pay the full F&A rate. This is particularly a problem with respect to younger faculty; if F&A recovery is falling and we can't raise tuition, how do we invest in them? The obvious answer is philanthropy, but that is a hard sell.
Another financial issue is the cost of benefits, especially health care. There is no obvious solution. This is not an immediate crisis, but it is putting pressure on budgets.
The second major challenge Provost Knapp described is the difficulty the university has in communicating with itself. There is no governing body for the faculty as a whole; how do deans and administrators communicate critical information? Broadcast emails are only marginally effective. It is not easy to engage the faculty collectively. The Academic Council is so preoccupied with promotions and appointments that it can't think strategically. The only university-wide standing committee is the Faculty Budget Advisory Committee, and it is focused on money issues. Who is thinking about larger issues, such as the path of careers for scholars, the role of part-time instructors, and the mission and aspirations of the university? Provost Knapp said that he is not sure what to do about engaging the faculty collectively.
Q. Prof. Prosperetti (Mechanical Engineering): What is the role of the university in international collaborations?
A. Very strong, with many activities in various areas. But it is frustrating that we're not well recognized for this. Part of the problem is that individual schools and programs are not well connected. There is no strategy as an institution, resulting in limited visibility. One possibility may be to build connections through alumni.
Q. Prof. Prosperetti: The times are such that there should be a new conceptualization of what the university should look like in a connected world.
A. Agree. Part of the problem is this lack of a collective conversation. We haven't found a way to develop a more strategic focus.
Q. Prof. Hemker (Mechanical Engineering): How has the Homewood Campus done in the campaign?
A. Adam Falk (Dean, KSAS): The campaign is bottom up, so that question needs to be asked about individual schools. KSAS had a $250 million goal going into the campaign, but is just now hitting its stride. KSAS will take advantage of an extra year of the campaign to raise the goal to $260. WSE has also increased its goal. The challenge is not so much the number, it's getting the money into "the right buckets."
3. Mr. Jim Miller (Senior Director of Design and Construction) spoke about capital improvements. Mr. Miller provided updates on the following projects:
a. NBPH (Nursing-Bioethics-Public Health) building. Schematic design is complete, with construction to begin 10/08 and occupancy by 5/10.
b. Gilman Hall renovation. Schematic design is complete. Construction will begin either 6/07 or 6/08 (to be decided) with occupancy starting in June/September 2010.
c. Decker Quadrangle. Computational Sciences building to be completed 7/07; the garage and visitor center will be completed in 9/07.
d. Charles Commons. Opened 9/06 to good reviews. Part of the credit union will move there, with construction to start soon.
e. Fresh Foods Cafe (formerly Terrace Court) opened 9/06.
f. Charles Street Market (formerly Wolman Station) opened 2/07.
g. ADA Quad Access Project. Shaffer Hall completed 10/06; Krieger Hall will be completed 4/07.
h. ADA elevator upgrades. Shriver Hall 5/07-8/07; Maryland Hall and Levering to follow.
i. Education Building (formerly Seton). Occupied Spring, 2006.
In addition, Mr. Miller mentioned two international programs. In Bologna, expanded and renovated space was dedicated two weeks ago, providing space for 180 students. The facility in Nanjing has tripled its size, including flexible meeting space. The new space is already occupied, with formal dedication to take place in June.
Q. Unidentified professor: What about the Olmstead condominium project?
A. That is a private development project; he hears that it may become apartments rather than condos due to changes in the housing market. This necessitated a change to the upper levels, delaying construction.
Q. Unidentified professor: I have heard of problems with the fit and finish of Charles Commons.
A. We are still working on the punch list. The whole project was delayed at the start, so it was finished without time to check everything out thoroughly before students moved in. Some residents had to move out temporarily due to a plumbing mishap.
Q. Unidentified professor: Given the problems there, are we to believe you when you say that things are going well on other projects?
A. Paula Burger (Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education): The problems mentioned were due to human error. We are doing follow up and tracking, but overall the building works well.
A. Jim Miller: There were a small number of problems in a big project; some errors are inevitable.
Q. Prof. Hemker: What will happen to the old Carnegie Institution building and the new office building on San Martin?
A. We studied using the Carnegie building for classroom space to handle surge due to Gilman renovation, but it is too costly. Dunning will be used instead. KSAS is looking at using this building for undergraduate lab space. The office building on San Martin may soon house some people from the development office.
4. Paula Burger (Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education) started her remarksby noting that the Great Hall is also on her "hit list" of spaces to be renovated. There is a large meeting hall in Charles Commons that faculty can use for meetings, with assistance from a meetings management service.
Dean Burger said that dining programs are central to building campus community. There has been lots of change this year, spearheaded by Dave Furhman. It is still a work in progress, but we have the elements in place to provide quality of service comparable or exceeding that of our peer institutions.
Dean Burger introduced Mr. Dave Furhman (Director of Dining Programs) for additional remarks. He talked about the state of the dining facilities a year ago, as being outmoded. The driving force for change was the CUE recommendations and the need to build community. There have been lots of changes, including the renovated Terrace Court, which provides an emphasis on fresh, seasonal foods, and the Charles Street Market, with provides several retail options including an Einstein Bagels and a full-service deli. The biggest change is the addition of Nolans at Charles Commons, which is worthy of the faculty but underutilized due to the Charles Street "divide." There is a private dining room there which can be reserved for meetings or meals.
Q. Prof. Hemker: What is Nolan's?
A. Mr. Miller: It is a retail dining establishment, with several stations including a deli, salads, brick oven pizza, pasta, and a grill. In the evenings there is a rotating "international favorites" station and a dessert station. It is congenial location, which Mr. Miller encouraged the faculty to use. To get there, enter Charles Commons from 33rd Steet, just before the entrance to Barnes and Noble; it is on the second floor.
A. Dean Burger: Faculty members are not taking advantage of this, but it needs to sustain a lunch time business or it will not be financially viable.
Q. Prof. Bruce Barnett (Physics and Astronomy): There used to be programs designed to encourage faculty to share meals with students. Do these still exist?
A. Dean Burger: Yes, Dean Boswell will reimburse faculty for dining with students.
Q. Unidentified professor: Is this a dining option for students?
Dean Burger went on to say that the Charles Market is nice and almost as convenient as the library.
Mr. Furhman closed by saying that all of this still is a work in progress, with more changes to come. We are striving for continual improvement, for instance in customer service. We are also working to improve the culinary aspects, for instance by using fresh, seasonal foods and sustainable/responsible options (e.g dolphin safe tuna, free range eggs, no veal). He asked for feedback from the faculty. He is developing a deeper partnership with Residential Life. There is a plan for a healthy eating campaign next year, along with a pilot recycling program.
Prof. Hemker summarized the comments from the faculty as follows: There is a need for better marketing to make faculty aware of the options; service at Levering is not good (cashiers were eliminated, making for longer lines); the food didn't change that much; the faculty perception is that dining on campus IS Levering.
Dean Burger asked whether it was acceptable to use the HFA imprimatur on email communications to faculty; this was viewed as acceptable by the assembly.
Prof. Hufnagel suggested that Mr. Furhman visit faculty meetings in person; An unidentified professor (I think this was Jack Rugh) suggested a profusion of paper flyers. Prof. Hemker also suggested reaching the faculty through their department administrators.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 PM.
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