monitors University-wide governance and the governance process in the several schools; considers the impact of policies that affect faculty governance; conducts regular periodic reviews of the NYU Faculty Handbook

Co-Chairs: Jim Uleman & Mitchell Kane
Members: Awam Amkpa (fall), Adam Becker, Thomas Drysdale (spring), Michael Garabedian, Warren Jelinek, Jim Martin (spring), Victoria Stanhope (fall)

N/C-FSC Representatives: Fred Carl & Ezra Sacks

Report from the Committee Co-Chairs: January 2015


Fall, 2014: accomplishments

  • Revisions of the Faculty Handbook
    • Meetings with members of the administration (Diane Yu, Deputy President; Bonnie Brier, Secretary and General Council; Linda Mills, VC, Office of the Provost; Kate Fleming, Deputy Provost) and a subset of the GC began in March 2013.
    • The initial purpose was to work out ways to amend the Handbook (not previously specified in the Handbook) and incorporate the Principles of Shared Governance (recommended by the T-FSC). These were approved by the Board of Trustees (March 14, 2014) and incorporated into the Handbook Forward. These meetings took place 3/12/13, 4/30/13, 5/21/13, 11/5/13, 12/3/13, 1/22/14, and 2/10/14.
    • The Faculty Handbook revisions continued, most importantly to accommodate the creation of a C-FSC (Contract Faculty Senate Council). This work has been with Carol Morrow (Senior Associate Provost and Chief of Staff to the Provost) and occasionally also Charles Bertolami (Dean of Dentistry) and Peter Gonzalez (Assistant Provost for Academic Appointments), on 2/20/14, 8/5/14, 8/19/14, and 12/9/14. One major accomplishment is that past versions of the FH have been put online and archived, so that they can easily be consulted by members of NYU. On Nov. 6, 2014, several other recommendations were adopted by the T-FSC.
    • One recommendation charges the administration with producing and maintaining an organizational chart of NYU that includes links to web pages that list the names of the people involved, and goes from the Board of Trustees at the top down to the level of departments and programs within schools, including the portals and study-away centers, and goes down to major offices, divisions, and standing and ad hoc committees within the administration and governance structure. This should make it easier for everyone (including the newly enfranchised contract faculty) to understand NYU structure. The administration has agreed to undertake this large task.
    • Another recommendation concerns an introductory note in the Handbook that says the T-FSC and C-FSC have reviewed the Handbook. The T-FSC recommended that this be amended to say “reviewed and endorsed” the Handbook, because anyone can “review” the Handbook but endorsement (or adoption) is pivotal. It is unclear whether the administration will accept this recommendation. If it does not, this failure of shared governance will be noted on the T-FSC website and perhaps in the Handbook.
  • Revision of the T-FSC Rules of Procedure
    • At its Dec. 11, 2014 meeting, the T-FSC adopted changes in its procedures intended to give more continuity to its leadership. This was done by a) advancing the elections of officers by two months so that newly elected officers can “learn on the job” by shadowing their counterparts before their terms begin, and b) having immediate past officers (not just past chairs) serve for one year without vote on the succeeding Executive Committee. Although not incorporated into the Rules of Procedure, the T-FSC Executive Committee also began the practice of appointing committee co-chairs with staggered terms, to increase continuity.
  • Response to the changes in tenure at the School of Medicine, which we have not yet reviewed.
    • The Governance Committee has been discussing this situation since before I joined it in the fall of 2011. As an aid to our wider discussion of these issues at the 12/11/14 T-FSC meeting, I  circulated a file containing relevant past FSC resolutions.
    • Unfortunately I omitted an important resolution approved by the FSC on Jan. 22, 1998:
      “The Faculty Council affirms that tenure at NYU is a declaration of mutual trust and commitment between New York University and its teaching faculty who have a proven record of productive scholarly work, teaching ability, recognition among their peers and dedication to academic career. The Senate resolution dated May 10, 1979, concerning the rights of tenured faculty in the instance of program termination or reorganization, states that in the event that financial exigency has been declared by the Trustees, the obligation of the University shall be limited to the obligation adopted as part of the program on the University under financial exigency. Therefore, tenure entitles all active faculty to the right of employment, including full salary except under conditions of cause or financial exigency. Reduction of the salary of tenured faculty without cause or exigency constitutes violation of their tenure rights.”

Spring, 2015, pending agenda items

  • Resolving and monitoring pending Faculty Handbook issues. See # 1 above.
  • Clarifying whether Alternate Senators are paired with Senators or serve in a pool of alternates.
  • Implementing adopted Best Practices for School Elections (March 13, 2014)
    This calls for posting reported practices and other information online so that faculty in each school can compare them with actual practices and “best practices.”
  • Amending our Rules of Procedure as needed, to deal with the creation of the N/C-FSC (Full-Time Non-Tenure/Contract Faculty Senators Council).
  • Other governance issues, as they may arise.

Meeting dates

Fall Term:
Sept. 11, Thursday, 2014 – Governance Committee (GC) meeting
Oct. 29, Wednesday, 2014 – Governance Committee meeting
Dec. 9, Tuesday, 2014 – subcommittee of GC meeting with Carol Morrow et al. on Faculty Handbook

Spring Term (tentatively)
Feb. 4, Wednesday, 2015
Mar. 2, Monday, 2015
Apr. 6, Monday, 2015

Resolution regarding Officer Elections
  • At the December 11, 2014 meeting, the Council approved the following resolution:
  • IT IS RESOLVED: That the T-Faculty Senators Council approved changes to the Rules of Procedure, which advance the elections of officers by two months, and have immediate past officers serve for a year without vote on the succeeding Executive Committee (EC). Furthermore, if a Senator is elected to the EC in his/her third year, his/her term on the FSC would be automatically extended by one year and the school election normally scheduled for that Senator’s seat will be postponed for one year. In no event, however, may a Senator’s term be extended by more than two years under this provision.

Resolution regarding Officer Elections (December 11, 2014)

Recommendations regarding Faculty Handbook
  • The Governance Committee reviewed the Faculty Handbook, Draft September 11, 2014, version 5, and with approval by the Council, recommended the following changes:
    • On the first page, insert “and endorsed” into the first paragraph under the titles. It used to say the Handbook was reviewed and adopted by the FSC, but Bonnie Brier (Senior VP, General Counsel and Secretary in the Office of the President) objected that only the Board of Trustees can “adopt” this document. So “endorsed” is offered to clarify the results of our review.
    • On p. 11 under ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION (15th page of document), the FSC-GC recommends that an organizational chart of NYU should be linked to this section. We recommend that Carol Morrow undertake this task. The chart should include links to web pages that list the names of the people involved, and go from the Board of Trustees at the top down to the level of departments and programs within schools, include the portals and study-away centers, and go down to major offices, divisions, and standing and ad hoc committees within the administration and governance structure.
    • On p. 16 (20th page in the document), the entire section on Principles of Joint Shared Governance should be moved to the next page, to follow the section on “The Full-Time Non-Tenure Track/Contract Faculty” and precede the section on “The Deans Council.”
    • On p. 24 (28th page in the document), delete “as a matter of academic courtesy” to make this less optional. This requires a change in the Bylaw 86 too.
    • On p. 28 (32nd page in the document), the change in wording softens this recommendation for faculty on self-identification in the media from “should clearly” to “may want to.” This is based on a recent Administrative Law Judge ruling in a case involving the NLRB. The ruling said that on social media an employee is not required to make a disclaimer that he/she does not speak for the company, but only for him/herself, when identifying as an employee of said company. If the current text applies to “Other Faculty” including the unionized adjunct faculty, as this section’s heading implies, it violates that ruling and NLRB policy. This general area of the law is in flux.
    • On p. 35 (39th page in the document) under Housing for Faculty, “About equal…” is changed to “The next highest priority is given to existing faculty,” to clarify the priorities.

Recommendation regarding Faculty Handbook (November 6, 2014)