header.gif (2271 bytes)

Science and Technology Home Page

Science and Technology Meetings

DocumentsMeetingsCommission MembersPresident's Home PageYour Comments

Science & Technology Commission
Meeting Minutes
March 28, 1999

Attendees: Anita Jones (chair), Gene Block, Don Brown, Ariel Gomez, Erik Hewlett, Stephanie Johnson, Robert Jones, Dick Merrill, Gary Owens, Karen Parshall, Sally Parsons, Dennis Proffitt, Kevin Sullivan. Ex officio: Pace Moore, Tim Sigmon, Dick Sundberg, Haydn Wadley. Staff: Amy Cronin, Charles Feigenoff, Brian Moriarty, Fariss Samarrai.

Meeting Summary

The Commission heard and discussed a proposal on implementing an Information Science Initiative presented by Dennis Proffitt. The Commission discussed strategies for coming to closure on a series of recommendations.

 Proposal: Implementing an Information Sciences Plan

  1. Proffitt began by pointing to the Sullivan/Brown report of 2/15/00 and its definition of where the University should position itself in the Information Age. Proffitt agreed with Sullivan and Brown’s assertion that the information revolution has only just begun and added that growth in this area will continue to increase exponentially for some time. In his proposal, Proffitt suggested a variety of ways that the University might implement an Information Sciences initiative.
  2. Proffitt recommended creating a new college of Information Science and Technology with a core set of degrees and focal areas that constituted joint research and education with many other elements of the university. Noting a number applications that computational ways of thinking have to a variety of fields, Proffitt argued that any plan undertaken by the University should be cognizant on the impact this area has and will continue to have across disciplines.
  3. The Commission discussed a range of structural ways that such a plan might be put into operation. The following were identified as key elements for this type of undertaking: support for cross-disciplinary research, meeting a range of facilities and resource needs, an increase in undergraduate and graduate level computer courses both in SEAS and in the College of Arts and Sciences, and an increase in the size of the faculty in select areas in order to meet the growth in education and research that has an Information Science component.
  4. A number of hiring strategies were discussed. Key to this discussion was the issue of cross-disciplinary hires and whether it is best to hire new faculty who are responsible to multiple departments or to centralize new faculty resources, promoting cross-disciplinary collaboration by some other method.

Strategies for Coming to Closure

  1. Anita Jones emphasized the need for the Commission to come to agreement on a series of strategic recommendations. The Commission’s vision must become manifest in the choices it makes.
  2. Gene Block suggested that the Commission do further investigation into the University’s strengths in science and technology by gathering further input from colleagues at other institutions. Sally Parsons likewise recommended that the Commission continue to increase its efforts to involve the larger University community in the decision making process.
  3. A number of members emphasized the importance of the Commission’s decision making criteria, noting that the Commission’s decisions will likely impact the University for the next 5 to 20 years. It was decided that further discussion of the Commission’s criteria was needed before proceeding further. This discussion will take place at the next scheduled meeting (Tuesday, April 11).

Discussion Topics

  • Implementing an Information Sciences Plan
  • Strategies for coming to closure

Next Meeting

Tuesday, April 11, 2000, 7:30-9:00 a.m., Newcomb Hall Room 389

  • This meeting will continue the open discussion on a first draft set of recommendations. Again, the issue of selecting focus areas and the process by which we come to closure is of key importance. The list of criteria recently sent to members by electronic mail will be discussed in this context.
DocumentsMeetingsCommission MembersPresident's Home PageYour Comments