March 2012 Newsletter
In late November 2011, the Executive Committee of the FSC was informed that the Administration was planning to roll out a program termed “NYU Traveler” across the whole University. This program would require all faculty traveling with the expectation of reimbursement from NYU to register their travel plans on line either individually or automatically if they choose to use one of Traveler’s two travel services, American Express or Egencia. The reason for this mandatory registration, according to the administration, was to enhance the safety and security of NYU employees and students.
Pilot programs, first at Stern and then at FAS, met with considerable criticism focusing on concerns about privacy and the time consuming nature of the requirement. As a result, the University’s administration has announced a significant modification to the NYU Traveler: the program is now voluntary for all but faculty and other University employees who accompany undergraduates on NYU-affiliated student trips.
We are confident that the FSC played a role in bringing about the revisions to NYU Traveler; however, we also know that the wave of faculty dissent was an instrumental catalyst for this policy change. Since the announced change, FSC has worked with the administration to ensure that future announcements – and the website describing NYU Traveler – properly reflect the new conditions.
At any given time, the FSC faces a raft of issues and topics that deserve its attention. NYU is not a slow-moving institution. It is clear from this incident that the effectiveness of the FSC depends in large part on strong faculty support.
As always, we ask for your assistance in our effort to improve the operation of FSC and make it a vital instrument for the representation of faculty in University governance. Please continue to use the comment / advice function on the FSC website or simply email your school senator. We will treat all such correspondence as confidential.
TAX ASSISTANCE FOR SAME-SEX COUPLES LEGALLY MARRIED OR IN CIVIL UNIONS
The FSC is delighted to announce that it has encouraged the University to extend tax assistance to legally married same-sex couples or those in a civil union. The plan will begin in 2013 and is modeled after those recently put in place at Columbia and Yale universities. Details of the benefit will be announced shortly by the administration. Read more
NYU 2031 AND FACULTY FORUM
Over the past few months, the FSC has collected concerns from faculty regarding the NYU 2031 plan. At a recent meeting with members of the administration involved in the plan, Senators presented the main issues that have been brought to the FSC’s attention, including effects on retention/recruitment, impact on academic mission, quality of work life, questions about the budget and concerns over the financial planning of the project.
At a forum hosted by FSC on Friday March 9, faculty highlighted these concerns and urged the FSC to support faculty efforts to register their opinion on NYU 2031.
The FSC will undertake a survey of the faculty in the coming weeks. It will also host a second forum on April 20 from 2-4 pm. The FSC also encourages faculty members to send their comments regarding the 2031 plan to the FSC comment form. In addition, we encourage faculty to add this item to the agenda of their department meetings.
MIND IN THE MAKING
Faculty and graduate students are invited to an interactive session with Ellen Galinsky about the skills adults and children need to succeed in the 21st Century. Sponsored by NYU Family Care, the Office of Faculty Resources, and the Faculty Senators Council.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
12:30 – 2:00 pm
Kimmel Center, Room 914
COST OF COURSE MATERIALS
The Teaching Excellence Committee met with students in February to discuss collaborative student/faculty strategies to address the problem of the high cost of course materials for students. Students pay as much as $500-$600 per year for course materials, the greatest cost is for text books. The Committee is researching policies that exist at NYU schools about the cost of course materials and looking into how faculty make decisions about what texts to order and what information they receive on cost, how universities/students are responding to this issue, and how the publishing industry is addressing the changing climate of information technology. Potential solutions were discussed including textbook rental, greater open access online, increasing course materials available in the library, and providing information on comparative cost options for require texts. Read more