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Carryover Charges for AY2018:

  1.  Investigate whether RIT has the authority to classify travel reimbursement for students and faculty to conferences, or other travel associated with research, as income and therefore taxable, independent of when the request for reimbursement is made.

    This charge is motivated by the University classifying RIT reimbursement of travel if the person is not presenting at the conference as income and asking them to pay income tax on the funds. A top research university recognizes the critical importance of having research students attend conferences, even when they aren’t presenting something.  Also RIT has instituted a policy that if you do not submit your travel expenses within 60 days it will count as income for you personally and charge you income tax. There are many issues with this but the most glaring is whether RIT has the federal authority to declare when funds become income!

  2.  Identify policy, make appropriate changes and propose such amendments with a view to reducing RIT’s reliance on original copies of paper receipts used in travel reimbursements.

    Insisting on original copies of receipts is burdensome on the staff and a waste of time and therefore money. Also, many retailers are moving to fully e-receipts, so clearly those original receipts are not on paper. It is understood that other universities accept scans of receipts without issue. This may be motivated from a fear of being audited but it likely costs more money to be 100% compliant than to pay a minor fine for minor infractions. 

  3.  Identify best practices for hiring research-intensive faculty. Make recommendations as to further action by senate if hiring policy restricts the ability to land top faculty.

    The hiring process for faculty is very rigid. For example, there is an unnecessary requirement to interview every candidate before making any offers. Charge proposer writes, “for strong faculty candidates in computing, offers are accepted about 20% of the time and many candidates are lost to other offers early on”.

  4.  Identify best practices for SPA to respond to the needs of Research Faculty as opposed to the research faculty needing to respond to pre-established accounting preferences.

    Some concerns have been expressed regarding the RIT approach to accounting for NSF grants. Charge proposer states that “the accounting rules for managing NSF funds are more strict at RIT than required by NSF.” He offers the example of how it is standard practice for faculty to be working on their research projects year round and take a month of summer salary that represents their effort on the grant. Yet SPA states their expectation that faculty have to be physically present on campus for a specific month of the summer working on that grant. If NSF does not expect this it is unclear as to why RIT enforces it.  It may be valuable to learn the extent to which the current procedures and mindset in some of the administrative departments is harming research productivity. The charge is written to encourage administrative offices to support the faculty, without adding unnecessary procedural barriers.

  5.  Identify the gaps between current graduate student quality and needed graduate student quality for graduate programs across campus.

    This charge was proposed so as to create awareness of the importance of graduate student quality and potential for high level research. Specifically, the charge proposer recommends a description of the current state given that student quality is a driver for research success at RIT. For which programs is the gap smallest and largest and how can RIT provide resources to enable more successful recruitment of top-level incoming graduate students?  What are the best practices in those departments where the gap is smallest and graduate student research productivity is highest?

  6.  Per policy B05.0, review policies C02.0 and C03.1.

    Policy B05.0 requires that policies be reviewed on a five-year cycle with one of three outcomes: i) The policy is reviewed and affirmed as accurate as written, ii) The policy is revised using the appropriate review and approval process or iii) The policy is recommended for decommissioning (it may no longer be applicable or obsolete).

    C02.0 – Misconduct in Research and Scholarship (shared responsibility with VP for Research, last reviewed 1996)

    C03.1 – Agreement for Commissioning of Educational Materials (shared responsibility with VP for Research and ILI, Last reviewed 2007 to correct department names)

  7. Review policies Misconduct in Research and Scholarship C02.0 (last review (LR) 1996), Agreement for Commissioning of Educational Materials C03.1 (LR 2007), Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects in Research C05.0 (LR 2011), Protocols for Academic Centers D01.6 (LR 2008), according to policy B05.0.

    According to Policy B05.0, Development, Review, Approval, And Promulgation Of University-Level Policies, all policies are reviewed on a 5-year cycle with one of three outcomes:

    1.  
    Reviewed and affirmed – this means the policy was reviewed and there are no changes needed.  The policy history is updated to reflect this determination.

    2.  Reviewed with edits – this means the policy was reviewed and non-substantive edits are needed, i.e., the name of a department needs to be corrected.  The policy history is updated as appropriate.

    3.  
    Reviewed and revised – this means the policy was reviewed and substantive revisions are approved.  The policy is updated as appropriate.

  8.  Consider tactics to strongly advocate for more student fellowships and work with Development to promote the increase in endowment for graduate fellowships.

  9.  Make a recommendation as to how the RSC should be involved in evaluating proposals where the number of proposals submitted from one university is limited (e.g. NSF Major Research Instrumentation).

  10.  Make recommendations for new policy or a default agreement addressing faculty affiliation with a given Center for Research Excellence (CRE) / Major Research Laboratory (MRL). Propose policy which will allow the CRE/MRL to can modify such an agreement as long as it is made transparent to the RIT community.

    See background from Academic Affairs Committees from 2015-16 and 2016-17.

  11. Identify ways to develop and improve the holdings of research materials (books, journals and other materials, print and electronic formats) of the RIT Libraries in order to support the needs of faculty and students as RIT continues to gain in stature as a research university.

    Given RIT’s strategic commitment to improving its research profile and student success, review benchmark data comparing the Wallace Center’s capacities and resource base for supporting this commitment.  Report the review of the data to the Senate during the spring 2017 semester and, if appropriate, make a recommendation.

 

***

Background:

As RIT enlarges its academic portfolio, including the addition of more Master’s and Ph.D. programs and the corresponding faculty positions to support those programs, the resources provided by the RIT Libraries lag behind the needs of faculty and students.

Identification of the need for additional space and staffing at the Wallace Center is described in the April 2017 report “Expanding the Core: Renovation and Expansion of The Wallace Center (TWC) at RIT.”

(
https://www.rit.edu/academicaffairs/sites/rit.edu.academicaffairs/files/memos/TWCLibrary_Narrative_Updated_06-08-17.pdf ) Since this report’s purpose was to address physical space needs, an analysis of library materials themselves was not provided. The Information Services Department (interlibrary loan) acquires documents, articles, papers and books that not held by the library for faculty and students. No library will ever maintain on site every resource needed. However, multiple faculty requests repeated for the same resources, increases in Ph.D.  programs requiring in-depth resource coverage of those fields, and major resources required by new programs that are not presently supported here indicate the need for an examination of the library’s current portfolio of resources, its ability to maintain those resources, and an analysis of the financial support needed to raise the level of those resources to reflect the research needs of RIT.  As a secondary point to this charge, faculty input on the enhancement of existing services and collaboration opportunities provided by RIT Libraries, and the identification of desired services not present may be gathered and analyzed. This information will be utilized in the examination of future spaces and staffing needs.

The Director of RIT Libraries will be able to provide information concerning historical materials funding, benchmarking data on the amount of materials dollars per student FTEs, and an analysis of commonly requested resources by RIT faculty. A description of the current state and future trends of publishing and access models can also be provided.  In addition, specific input from program directors and chairs on the library resources required for the success of those disciplines—including accreditation—can be gathered. A survey of faculty may also be conducted to provide more granular feedback. This information will be compared to existing library resources.

 

New Charges for AY2018 -

  1. Review RIT’s decision-making principles and practices regarding Professional Leave, and whether present budget allocations are sufficient to advance RIT’s agenda of improving its standing as a university that supports and rewards research. Collaborate with FAC as primary.  We ask that this review address the following specific aspects:

    i.  A
    ssess and evaluate whether RIT's professional leave budget is resourced sufficiently to achieve its research aspirations.

    ii.  Make explicit and transparent the principles behind any professional leave policy and consider whether these principles would benefit from additional recommendations.

    iii.  
    Assess the patterns of distribution of professional leaves across the colleges in the last five years to determine how these distributions might differ by college and discipline.

    iv.  Consider whether the decision criteria for allocating and distributing professional leaves are based on transparent principles and, if they are not, to recommend those principles.

    v.  
    Recommend an appeals process that allows colleagues who have been denied professional leave to request clarification and reconsideration beyond the initial “explanation” already provided by committee on Professional Development Leave.

    Background:  During the past several years there has been a perception, if not an actual practice, of a growing level of competition for the granting of academic/professional leaves, and an increase in the number of denials of academic/professional leave requests by the University.  A system of competition that results in increasing denials of requests for research-related professional/academic leave, on its surface, is antithetical to RIT’s initiatives towards improve our research portfolio and visibility on a national and international level. If such a system is now being used, faculty need clear and explicit explanations of the rationale for such a system, and the principles and practices used for making such decisions, and should be offered a possibility for an appeal process when requests have been denied.

  2.  Evaluate the pros and cons of RIT adopting an open access policy for scholarly research from RIT faculty and staff. Make a recommendation based on those findings.  Background for this charge: The existence of an Open Access Policy is one the criteria that the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) evaluates.  There are some parties on campus that are interested in adopting such a policy and there are others that have concerns.  I think it makes sense to have AS evaluate the pros and cons and make a determination.

  3.  Identify ways to develop and improve the holdings of research materials (books, journals and other materials, print and electronic formats) of the RIT Libraries in order to support the needs of faculty and students as RIT continues to gain in stature as a research university.

    Rationale: RIT libraries have been reducing holdings such as electronic journals over the last number of years, likely due to budget constraints. One example of the impact is that President Munson has addressed GCCIS about expanding publishing in the area of pedagogy, yet RIT libraries eliminated educational technology journals prior to 2014.  ILL, sometimes referenced as a path requires individual submissions per article (so potentially 10-30 typed submissions per journal issue) and waiting periods for each article.  Interdisciplinary work often requires reading across multiple journals and hundreds of articles and editing submissions to journals requires fast turnaround access to articles.  If we wish to advance in research, we need access to journals and other materials. While holdings in areas such as IEEE and ACM are plentiful, crossover areas are missing such as education, digital humanities, social sciences.  Another example is that research universities typically have access to a variety of “jobbers” such as Taylor and Francis, which we do not have access to at RIT.  I would argue that library holdings are one of the key areas to help us expand our research.

  4.  Create guidelines to promote consistency across RIT in evaluating interdisciplinary scholarship. Consider the following areas:

    i.  Treatment of PI and co-PI status: treat as equivalent on interdisciplinary grants or assign proportional grant credit versus giving all credit to PI and PI’s college.

    ii.  Disregard author ordering on interdisciplinary publications.

    iii.  Recognize interdisciplinary publications as equivalent to disciplinary work.

  5. Propose institute-wide mechanisms to share departmental resources for interdisciplinary research groups.