Science & Technology Commission
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
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
- 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 Browns 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Anita Jones emphasized the need for the Commission to come to agreement on a series of
strategic recommendations. The Commissions vision must become manifest in the
choices it makes.
- Gene Block suggested that the Commission do further investigation into the
Universitys 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.
- A number of members emphasized the importance of the Commissions decision making
criteria, noting that the Commissions decisions will likely impact the University
for the next 5 to 20 years. It was decided that further discussion of the
Commissions criteria was needed before proceeding further. This discussion will take
place at the next scheduled meeting (Tuesday, April 11).
- Implementing an Information Sciences Plan
- Strategies for coming to closure
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.