News

The New Gen Ed Lottery System, Explained

News

Armed Individuals Sighted in Harvard Square Arraigned

News

Harvard Students Form Coalition Supporting Slave Photo Lawsuit's Demands

News

Police Apprehend Armed Man and Woman in Central Square

News

107 Faculty Called for Review of Tenure Procedures in Letter to Dean Gay

Faculty Establishes Benefits Committee

By Sarah J. Schaffer

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) now has a standing committee on benefits, FAS Dean Jeremy R. Knowles announced Wednesday at the last Faculty Council meeting of the semester.

The establishment of the committee comes after two tense Faculty meetings filled with faculty-administration conflict over staff benefits.

A University task force in November announced significant changes planned for the University's benefits systems. One of the most controversial shifts has been the intended one percent reduction in the University's contribution to faculty pension funds.

Professor of Sociology Peter Marsden will chair the committee.

Other members include McKay Professor of Mechanical Engineering Frederick H. Abernathy, Baird Professor of Science Gary J. Feldman, Professor of Economics N. Gregory Mankjw, Professor of Music Kay K. Shelemay and Assistant Director of the Core Program Elizabeth W. Swain.

"Everyone on the Faculty Council was surely pleased at the fact that Dean Knowles was able to successfully constitute that committee and do it with exceptional people," said Professor of Government Kenneth A. Shepsle, a council member.

According to a resolution passed at December's Faculty meeting, the committee will be an official avenue for communication on FAS benefits.

It will have the responsibility for monitoring conditions affecting faculty, professional and administrative staff benefits in FAS and will provide a review of trends and trade-offs affecting benefits every three to five years.

Abernathy said yesterday that he thought the committee would be helpful, especially given the changes that could occur in the Republican-controlled 104th Congress.

"My own personal view is that it is highly likely that there will be changes in tax structure for Medicare, for Social Security, and it's going to be unlikely that things will remain the same for 20 years," he said.

At November's Faculty meeting. Abernathy presented a report on benefits which he co-wrote with Gund Professor of Economics Richard E. Caves. The report stated that faculty members had not been adequately consulted when the University-wide task force on benefits revised the staff benefits plan.

The standing committee's first meeting will be in the next two weeks, Abernathy said.

"We may be a standing committee, but we're to be a running committee," Abernathy said.

Marsden said yesterday that the committee's agenda will be determined in the first few meetings.

There is no official world yet on whether the members of a University-wide standing benefits committee have been chosen, but Abernathy said he thought it was likely that at least one of them would be a FAS standing committee member who is younger than Abernathy.

Teaching Fellow Training

Also during the council meeting, Dean for Undergraduate Education Lawrence Buell announced that he has received responses from all but four of "40-odd" departments and committees on how they plan to train teaching fellows (TFs), and that those four departments will respond soon.

The deadline for submitting proposals for TF training was December 1.

The plans come after a Faculty Council resolution last spring that mandated clearer guidelines for TF training.

"There was discussion during the council meeting about it, because I think all of us are quite concerned that the experience of undergraduates with TFs not be jeopardized by a lack of training or lack of command of the English language," Shepsle said.

Issues left for the council to decide, according to Secretary to the Faculty Council John B. Fox Jr. '59, and how to provide some guidance for TFs in the area of professional conduct, how to structure orientation programs for TFs and how to deal with TFs who have difficulty communicating in English.

In Other Business

The council briefly discussed the status of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at Harvard, particularly "lengthening the arm between Harvard and the entity that would make payments to MIT," Shepsle said.

Council members do not know whether MIT would accept a check from a group unaffiliated with Harvard to pay Harvard students' ROTC fees, Fox said.

"Absolutely every player that I've heard of is trying to find the center" between the extremes of keeping Harvard ROTC and cutting it entirely, Fox said.

The council was also informed, according to Fox, that faculty members of the Student-Faculty Judiciary Board are about to be selected, and cases may be pending.

That group provides a rarely-used alternative to the Administrative Board, which handles disciplinary matters.

And the department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations has asked to place on the docket for February's Faculty meeting a proposal implementing an A.M. degree in the department. That proposal will likely go on the docket, Fox said

There is no official world yet on whether the members of a University-wide standing benefits committee have been chosen, but Abernathy said he thought it was likely that at least one of them would be a FAS standing committee member who is younger than Abernathy.

Teaching Fellow Training

Also during the council meeting, Dean for Undergraduate Education Lawrence Buell announced that he has received responses from all but four of "40-odd" departments and committees on how they plan to train teaching fellows (TFs), and that those four departments will respond soon.

The deadline for submitting proposals for TF training was December 1.

The plans come after a Faculty Council resolution last spring that mandated clearer guidelines for TF training.

"There was discussion during the council meeting about it, because I think all of us are quite concerned that the experience of undergraduates with TFs not be jeopardized by a lack of training or lack of command of the English language," Shepsle said.

Issues left for the council to decide, according to Secretary to the Faculty Council John B. Fox Jr. '59, and how to provide some guidance for TFs in the area of professional conduct, how to structure orientation programs for TFs and how to deal with TFs who have difficulty communicating in English.

In Other Business

The council briefly discussed the status of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at Harvard, particularly "lengthening the arm between Harvard and the entity that would make payments to MIT," Shepsle said.

Council members do not know whether MIT would accept a check from a group unaffiliated with Harvard to pay Harvard students' ROTC fees, Fox said.

"Absolutely every player that I've heard of is trying to find the center" between the extremes of keeping Harvard ROTC and cutting it entirely, Fox said.

The council was also informed, according to Fox, that faculty members of the Student-Faculty Judiciary Board are about to be selected, and cases may be pending.

That group provides a rarely-used alternative to the Administrative Board, which handles disciplinary matters.

And the department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations has asked to place on the docket for February's Faculty meeting a proposal implementing an A.M. degree in the department. That proposal will likely go on the docket, Fox said

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags