School of Art Faculty Meeting

📅 November 13, 2012    👤
📑 Page history
📝 Suggest an edit

faculty Meeting History

Peter Cooper Suite November 13 9:30-10:30am

Present: Dean Saskia Bos, Steven Lam, Judith Bernstein, All Full Time Faculty, All Prop Time Faculty, Pam Lins & Mike Vahrenwald representing adjunct faculty, Kristi Cavataro, Jenny Eagleton, Won Cha representing students

We review minutes from May 15th faculty meeting. Some language is changed for clarification and a vote is passed in favor of the amended minutes.

#Announcements from Dean Bos

Saskia re-reads aloud the initial charge (letter) given to her (and the other deans) from President Bharucha on August 22 which asks the deans of each school to each prepare proposals for revenue generating programs that will meet a specific dollar-amount goal. The letter talked about “building support” amongst faculty members and “continuing excellence”. The targets each school is asked to reach are (note: not new info):

Engineering: $6 Million (3 million in the next 5 years, the remaining half in 3-5 years following)

Art: $3.6 Million (1.3 million in the next 5 years, the remaining half in 3-5 years following)

Architecture: $2.4 Million (1.2 million in the next 5 years, the remaining half in 3-5 years following)

Also, the letter said the development office has been given a target of raising $130 million over 10 years and Continuing Education / Public Programs have been given a target of $143 million between 2014-2024.

#Saskia goes over the updated schedule due to hurricane sandy:

November 26/27 (Jamshed had written to Saskia at one point that the date was the 26th, a Monday, but it seems possible/probable that this was an error and the date is in fact the 27th, a Tuesday ) - Faculty vote to recommend the proposals from the “Steering Committee” / Due to Jamshed

December 5th - Presentation of these proposals to the Board of Trustees

Sometime TBA in January - The Board Votes

#Saskia Talks about the Steering Committee (group that has been formed to answer Jamshed’s charge)

–They have met 8 or 9 times, broken into smaller working groups

–The goal is to create programs we would be good at, that could compliment the current program.

–Everything is being done in order to keep undergraduate education at Cooper tuition free

#Saskia opens it up to conversation

–asks anyone to give an impression of what the Steering Committee is like / doing. This conversation takes up the majority of the meeting time. Most faculty are given opportunity to speak. Things that are said:

–We are coming up with lots of ideas that will fit in with what we have going on now.

–There is an emphasis on designing programs that stick to the beliefs and mission of the school.

–We submit our ideas to CDG who generate numbers. We don’t always agree with the numbers. We think they are stupid. CDG is “a very expensive calculator”

–Jenny asks faculty to describe the programs they are designing.

–The faculty starts to describe some of the programs, such as the certificate program, which would be a studio program that might appeal to people who already have or almost have a degree, but does not go into detail about all of them due to time, and because we (the students) have already received a written outline of the programs. Someone asks us if, because we have seen the overview of the programs, we have any specific questions about them.

–I ask if faculty really believe that they can design programs which stick to the mission & beliefs of the school when the programs they are designing are first & foremost being established in order to generate revenue. I express a concern from students that we don’t understand why they are working on these programs that we suspect many of them do not support.

Faculty responses:

–It is a very difficult situation. Partly the degree to which the programs are excellent is not as important that they are separate from the current undergrad program.

–I have a concern that if we create excellent, and financially successful programs and they have the Cooper Union name on them, it could eclipse everything we’ve been fighting for in saving undergrad tuition.

–I’m only doing this because I feel intimidated into it

–I’m afraid of losing my job.

Walid asks me/jenny/won to speak more about the way students are feeling.

Me: We thing there’s a frustration that the conversation has turned from being about “free education” to being about “free undergrad education”. We feel frustrated that our faculty are being forced into a position to do work that we disagree with. We don’t want to feel frustrated with you though, we feel more frustrated with the people/systems that have forced you into this position.

More faculty comments:

–“Our responsibility to the school is different than your responsibility to the school”

–It is very helpful for us to hear these things from students though, this conversation is important

–There is a history of this–programs financially supporting others–here and at other institutions. E.g. summer residency program since 2007.

–We really feel in a crisis, we don’t want the school to close

– do you have a sense of what the conversation is like between engineering/architecture students and their faculty? (Won/Jenny/I don’t feel qualified to answer or don’t know.)

–We’re missing a union between the 3 schools; they’re not in conference / conversation

–We can’t move forward in any radical way without support from the other schools

–We (the faculty) have the same frustration that you (students) do

–We’ve been working our asses off to make good programs

–But once we turn them in, its out of our hands

–This is an opportunity to defend our program

Won: I feel like I’ve been the only messenger between students and faculty. Students want to hear this from you. Sometimes students don’t want to believe the things they are hearing from me. Students respect you. We should have this conversation with the larger student body.


– Remember that different faculty are protected differently. Some have tenure, some don’t.

–That some people are part-time only complicates the dissemination of information

– There are excellent programs out there that charge tuition. Sometimes excellence and tuition are not a reciprocal relationship.

Someone: Can we move onto the next agenda item?


We need to vote on some items. First we confirm that we have the right numbers of full-time faculty, non-full time faculty and students voting, as per contract/committee rules.

First item to vote on: Slate of Standing Committees for the next 3 years (except for students, who change each year) This determines who is on:

1) Academic Standards Committee

2) Administrative Committee

3) Admissions committee

4) Curriculum committee

5) Senate

6) Secretary of the Faculty

7) Parliamentarian

8) Library Committee

9) Representative to the Faculty of Humanities / Social Sciences

10) Rep to Curriculum committee of Humanities / Social Sciences

11) Rep to Menschel Fellows Committee)

We pass the proposed slate.

Second items to vote on:

A motion passed by the Administrative Committee that “A student must be in good academic standing to be eligible to serve as a student representative to the Faculty and its standing committees” (Voted on, passed)

A motion passed by the Administrative Committee that “The Administrative Committee reaffirms the ruling of the Academic Standards Committee that students must have completed Foundation Year requirements, and be in good academic standing in order to be eligible to work for the Saturday or Outreach program.” (Voted on, passed)

A third item was supposed to be presented for a vote:

The Language for Approval of the Faculty regarding new program proposals:

“In the following pages you will find proposals that address the issues of academic excellence and distinctive vision to sustain the School of Art at the Cooper Union.”

But it was agreed that we are not yet ready to vote on this language.

Someone makes a motion to adjourn the meeting, someone seconds, we all agree. End of meeting.