Posts Tagged ‘provost’

Times Union Slants Story, Doesn’t Quite Get It

May 21st, 2009

In today’s Times Union, author Scott Waldman wrote an article entitled “RPI dumping teacher honored by students.” While perhaps that is how it could be perceived, there’s more to it. The School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences had been hiring professors on essentially “extra” money. When a professor from HASS left RPI, that person’s salary would be returned to the School and could be used for any number of things. What ended up happening most of the time, is that this extra money was used to hire other professors, such as Julie Guttman. This reallocation of “unused” funds occurred year after year. When RPI entered vacancy management as a result of the economic downturn, that money disappeared. The money went elsewhere.

What is terrible is that this wasn’t realized until it was too late. I think it’s too bad that this oversight occurred, and that a more proactive approach to reviewing faculty positions and hiring was not in place. Julie Guttman will be missed. I think that when the students deem a professor “Person of the Year” that that should be taken as a strong vote of support. I would love to hear that the administration had said “we should try harder to keep Prof. Guttman around because clearly she has had an impact on the students,” and as a result of this extra effort, they could renew her contract.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment.  But the ‘Tute has a few months, maybe they’ll figure out a way.

During this past Pizza with the Cabinet, Dr. Palazzo was asked a question which had to do with this, and what stuck out to me was that he said something to the extent of  not being able to believe that one subject matter hinged so critically upon one professor. He felt confident that other faculty would be able to teach as effectively. While this may be the case, undoubtedly it is where Prof. Guttman went above and beyond that made her stick out in students’ minds. I don’t know if that will be replaced as easily.

And as for the TU article? Perhaps the more appropriate title would have been “RPI fails to find a way to keep valued professor.” But that just doesn’t have the same zing to it…

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A Weekend to Remember

April 24th, 2009
She still isn't set to visit us any time soon.

She still isn't set to grace us with her presence any time soon.

So Lady GaGa isn’t coming to campus this weekend (sorry Dr. Palazzo), but Fall Out Boy, Cobra Starship, All Time Low, Metro Station and Hey Monday are! I guess they’ll have to do… Here’s what’s going on the rest of this lopsided weekend.

Friday 4/24

Take a ride downtown on the free Troy Night Out Shuttles, leaving from the Union hourly from 5-9. (fbook)

Check out the local scene. It’s the last Troy Night Out while we’re all still here, so why not head downtown to grab dinner, or check out the EMAC/EART exhibit at the Arts Center in Monument Square. If you have never been to a Troy Night Out, we strongly encourage you to check it out. It is lots of fun, and tonight is your last chance this semester!

Get dancin’ The Official Unofficial TNO Afterparty hosted by goodship is FREE this month! A must do. (fbook)

Not Avenue Q, but still puppets. EMPAC hosts Basil Twist and his show Dogugaeshi at 8pm. The show is influenced by japanese “stage mechanism puppetry.” Johannes says “Eet’s jaust greate”. (empac)

Valkyrie plays in UPAC Cinema in DCC 308 at  7, 9:30, and midnight for the usual $2.50. (imdb)

Let’s hope its just a play. Assassins! is at the playhouse tonight at 8pm and other times this weekend. (players)

Those Idiots again? One of our hilarious improv groups Sheer Idiocy presents their last show of the semester tonight in Mothers starting at 8pm. This comedy will cost you nothing but your time. (fbook)

Air and Fume Hood Exhaust (CII) Favorite event of the weekend by far. (Is this a band?) Hold your breath when you walk by the CII? (rpical)

The rest of the weekend is begging you to check it out…
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A bit about our own subatomic explorer!

April 17th, 2009

The admin team takes on their latest challenge

This next installment of our series “Admin Adventures” focuses on Dr. Jackson and gives us insight into her past. Though not filled with crazy parties, Dr. Jackson’s own history does contain boys and smashing hot rods. If you’re curious to find out more, you won’t find this page on RPI’s site. (Be sure to check out Lia’s Scientist Buzz, it’s a personal favorite.)

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Palazzo’s gaga for GaGa

April 15th, 2009
Palazzo and Gaga sitting in a tree...

Palazzo and GaGa sitting in a tree...

This past week the Student Senate held a Pizza with the Cabinet forum to discuss various goings-on with the students. During this time, many things were discussed, but as the Poly has neglected to mention a critical point, RPI’s premier student-run blog has to step up and fill in the gaps.

At one point, the discussion was centered around EMPAC, and who would be in the lineup for the upcoming year. Dr. Palazzo said something to the extent of ‘We should get Lady GaGa here. I think she’s hot.’ What?! Our esteemed Provost is a Lady GaGa fan?

+5 Dr. Palazzo. +5.

Analysis after the jump.
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It felt like the meeting was a bit short. This post however…

March 6th, 2009
Pretend this man is Dr. Jackson, and the meeting is taking place at EMPAC.

Pretend this man is Dr. Jackson, and the meeting is taking place at EMPAC.

Yesterday morning, Dr. Jackson held the spring Town Hall meeting (webcast here) in the Concert Hall at EMPAC. We saw some new levels of transparency at the meeting, as numbers and stats bombarded the audience for the first portion of the event. Dr. Jackson emphasized moving forward and addressed certain rumors. She mentioned that the RPI is moving away from hiring faculty on a year to year basis. She and the Provost (Robert Palazzo) insisted that anyone pursing a language minor would not be left “high and dry.” They emphasized that it is tenure and tenure-track faculty that are the core of our “academic enterprise.” With this in mind, they are still looking at ways to help RPI students learn foreign languages, and at this time, the best thing to do would be to partner with schools who have faculty there that are “leading scholars” in their fields. Dr. Jackson made sure to assure us that this was not a “put down to anyone who is teaching anything.”  Palazzo said he was up at Skidmore before the Town Hall meeting discussing the possibility of such a partnership with the college.
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Provost Addresses Faculty

January 14th, 2009

The Provost has sent an email out to the faculty inviting them to a forum about RPI’s economic situation. He opens the letter with the following paragraph. (Emphasis ours.)

As we begin a new semester, given the pressures that Rensselaer has faced recently as a result of external economic conditions, it is important for members of the Rensselaer faculty to know that the Institute did not take lightly the decision to reduce its staff. The departing employees were hard-working and their contributions were valuable. But the current economic reality, as every family and every university and business leader knows, requires actions that focus on long-term sustainability and growth – even if it necessitates short-term discomfort. This is the spirit in which Rensselaer acted. While of course we empathize with, and continue to offer support to, every single person that was let go, the university’s leadership team firmly believes our decision was the best course of action.

They’re sticking to their guns on this one. But calling layoffs “short term discomfort”? C’mon! The email also reiterates information about Dr. Jackson’s salary. Her salary is set by the Board of Trustees which meets a couple of times a year.

There is a faculty meeting in a few hours at 3pm. Students are not invited. Because of the suspension of the faculty senate, this meeting is of note as it gathers tenured and tenure track faculty together.

Full email below!

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