Notebook: Faculty Revisits Topics

Tuesday’s meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences began with a major case of deja vu. Two items on the agenda looked especially familiar.

“Didn’t we already do this?” asked Professor James J. McCarthy.

In fact, the faculty already had. A motion to revise the schedule for regular meetings of the Faculty and a motion to create a new Ph.D. program in Education had already been discussed at the previous faculty meeting three weeks earlier.

But in accordance with parliamentary procedure, faculty had to wait until the following meeting—which took place yesterday afternoon—to vote.

McCarthy helped put the process in laymen’s terms.

“If we are to change the rules of the faculty, we must raise this issue at a first meeting, discuss it, then raise it up at a second meeting, discuss it again if necessary, and then vote on it.”

University President Drew G. Faust was so eager to call the long-awaited vote that she almost overlooked meeting protocol herself, forgetting to ask FAS Dean Michael D. Smith for the Faculty Council vote.

She caught herself just in time and gave Smith the floor.

“I have a big job here,” Smith joked.

Another top administrator was a given a chance in the spotlight when Faust announced three new tenure appointments from within the faculty.

University Provost Alan M. Garber ’76 now holds a tenure appointment in the department of economics.


Perhaps due to the repetitive agenda items—or the chilly March weather—Tuesday’s meeting was not very well-attended. Nearly one-third of seats in the room remained vacant.

Those professors who did show up were treated to a slideshow about the ongoing FAS implementation of the University’s new conflict of interest policies and a demonstration of the new online financial conflict of interest reporting tool, to be launched in May.

Theodore C. Bestor, chair of the anthropology department, took to the microphone to clarify whether his primary fiduciary responsibility—over an international non-profit organization­­—would require disclosure under the University’s new financial interest disclosure policies.