T0: Faculty of the College
FROM : Richard Aslin, Vice Provost and Dean
RE: Rationale for the restructuring plan
A clear and consistent message conveyed by the 75 faculty who met individually with Provost Phelps and me last Spring and Summer was that, whatever the final restructuring plan, a comprehensive rationale must be provided to the faculty. This rationale, although unlikely to be agreed upon by all faculty, should clarify the thinking that went into the final restructuring plan and provide a means by which faculty can understand the future role that they will play in the College. The purpose of the present memo is to describe our rationale in detail; it accompanies the letter from the President, the Provost and myself detailing the various interconnected pieces of the Renaissance Plan for the College that was just approved by the Board of Trustees.
The Context for Restructuring
Over the past 17 months of the Jackson administration, we have attempted to convey to the faculty three essential facts: (1) the current balance of revenues and expenditures is unsustainable, (2) increases in revenues alone cannot solve our budgetary problem, and (3) significant cuts are required in programs that by all objective standards are meritorious on some dimensions. The issue is not whether we need to cut programs, but rather which cuts will be least harmful to the institution. The term "least harmful," of course, is a matter of judgment. An overriding focus in our restructuring plan has been to maintain, and if possible enhance, our current strengths, but only if those strengths can be nurtured without sacrificing the balance required of a major research university. By necessity, this focus demands the scaling back of resources to some doctoral programs. It does not imply, however, that those scaled back programs are irrelevant to our undergraduate teaching mission, that faculty in those programs will no longer be expected to maintain high standards of scholarly achievement, or that those programs are generally less "relevant' to a research university. Rather, we must face the fact that the nurturing of some, doctoral programs should be left to institutions other than Rochester. In sum, it was clear to us, particularly given the past five years of budget cuts, that we simply could not sustain the overall mission of the College if all programs were required to submit to a steady erosion of support.
The process of change has occupied our collective energies for several years. The uncertainties, and associated lowering of faculty and staff morale, have taken a toll on us all. We firmly believe it is time to make the difficult decisions that will lead the College forward, to reduce the uncertainties that have faced each and every program in the College, and to rectify our financial problems with a balanced range of programs and a balanced budget. In short. it's time to get on with it.
As outlined in the September memo from the President, the Provost, and myself, we concluded that suspending enrollments in several graduate programs was the only sensible way to selectively downsize the faculty. This conclusion is based on three premises: (1) retaining a number of outstanding Ph.D. programs is essential to our overall-reputation as a first rate research University, (2) across-the-board reductions in faculty size will likely render our strongest PhD programs second rate, and (3) given the considerable amount of faculty time spent on graduate education in departments with PhD programs, and the constraints (in budget and in faculty size) already placed on these departments, any further reductions in faculty size are often incompatible with the presence of a Ph.D. program. Given the necessity of further reducing overall faculty size in the College, we cannot afford to.jeopardize the quality of our undergraduate programs by diverting limited resources to weakened Ph.D, programs. In sum, we must protect our most "important income stream "undergraduate tuition --- not only to deliver a quality education to undergraduates, but also to maintain the quality of our best Ph.D. programs. The planned reductions in faculty size will reduce departmental expenditure by an estimated $3Million (in 1995 dollars). thereby allowing us to better support the remaining graduate program and to better support the delivery of quality instruction to undergraduates. On balance, we viewed this as the best strategy for Rochester to retain its 30-year legacy as a premiere research university and its prior 100-year legacy as a quality liberal arts college.
Of course, we were, concerned whether our stature as a research university would be diminished by a reduction in the number of Ph.D. programs. thereby placing us in a less competitive position among prospective undergraduates (and their parents). However, we judged it important to note that several institutions ranked higher by U.S. News and World Report than the University of Rochester (ranked 29th among national research universities) had fewer numbers of Ph.D. programs as indicated by the recent ranking of Ph.D. Programs from the National Research Council (NRC) report (see Table A). In fact, of the 9 private institutions from the U.S. News "second 15," the mean number of Ph.D. programs is 16 compared to Rochester's current 24. We take this as a clear indication that it is not necessary to have the full complement of Ph.D. programs to attain a national ranking higher than Rochester's as an institution attractive to undergraduates, and that a modest reduction in the number of Ph.D. programs at Rochester will not tender us an oddity in the world of successful research universities. Although one could question the use of the U.S. News rankings of undergraduate programs as a meaningful benchmark, it is obvious from the list in Table A that many first-rate, research institutions are included in the U.S. News top-30. In subsequent references to this top-30 list, we do not wish to support its validity in detail, but merely to employ it as a reasonable cohort with which the University of Rochester can be compared.
Expectations and responsibilities
No transition is easy, particularly in academia, where faculty in research universities must come to grips with a world that is no longer expanding and where the balance of teaching and research being carefully reevaluated. In addition to those faculty who will be distressed by the loss or shrinkage of their Ph.D, programs, faculty whose Ph.D. programs are being retained may be disappointed by the absence of significant planned growth in their departmental faculty. This expectation for faculty growth is a natural response to the. across-the-board loss of faculty during the past five years and the message that once selective cuts were made reinvestments would follow.
However, the key feature of the overall plan for improving the balance of revenues and expenditures in the College is a focus on quality that, in turn, leads us to a smaller undergraduate student body. This key feature brings with it a necessary recalibration of expectations for faculty size, even among departments who are not being targeted for suspension of their Ph.D. programs. In short. for the next several years, while we evaluate the revenue enhancements expected from the overall plan, even our best departments will not see the kind of growth in faculty size that they have been expecting based on planning documents submitted to the administration within the past few years.
There are, however, several other very positive outcomes of the overall plan that will become apparent while we await the evaluation of revenues. First, faculty hiring will continue in a steady and predictable manner. There will be no hiring freezes or sudden changes in the allocation of faculty slots tied to short-term fluctuations in the endowment or net tuition revenue. Second, overall faculty raises will return to a reasonable level (comparable to our peer institutions). There will be no salary freezes. Third, departments whose Ph.D. programs are retained will generally have higher graduate stipends and those stipends will grow at a reasonable and steady rate comparable to our peer institutions. Fourth, all faculty will benefit from the significantly higher quality of our undergraduates and their smaller numbers. We expect that the joy of teaching about which many of our senior faculty reminisce, will return as our students become better able to handle the intellectual rigors of a research university. Fifth, we can all expect to see visible signs of enhancements to the infrastructure of the College. including classrooms, the library, computing, and areas of student life. All of these benefits of our overall plan will be tangible and immediate.
Of course, none of these benefits will materialize if the faculty decide, by their disengagement from the institution, that their loyalties lie elsewhere, The central feature of our plan --- the improvement in undergraduate student quality --- cannot be attained without the persistent and positive engagement of the faculty in all departments and programs with prospective and current students. We must be able to call on the faculty to assist the administration and the staff in recruiting the best and the brightest, and, once matriculated, ensuring that they have a quality experience that links them as alumni to our great institution. Failing this, no plan can succeed in the long run.
The logistics of downsizing
Several constituencies will be affected by the changes we outline below, most notably the faculty in departments whose Ph.D. programs are being suspended. Others who will directly or indirectly bear the brunt of these changes include current graduate students, former graduate students, and current staff.
With regard to faculty, we must emphasize that we are not terminating tenure or tenure-track faculty. No tenure contracts will be violated and non-tenured faculty will be evaluated by the same process that has been in place since they were hired. However, instructional duties and expectations will change in some cases, most notably by shifting faculty time in departments whose Ph.D. programs are suspended from a combined undergraduate/graduate population to an exclusively undergraduate one (except as faculty interact with graduate students in other departments and in interdisciplinary programs). Faculty time for research and scholarship is not expected to decline --- and indeed may be enhanced--- in these departments. Some faculty in affected departments may choose to leave the University. Others may opt for early retirement, and we are preparing a one-time incentive program to encourage that form of voluntary attrition for those who are eligible. That program will be outlined in detail once approved by the Board of Trustees in mid December.
For current graduate students, all commitments for financial support will be honored. Courses required to obtain the Ph.D. will be offered, with current or temporary faculty, so that students can complete their degree in a timely fashion. For students who wish to transfer to another institution, we will provide modest financial support to assist in the application process. Generally, we expect all current graduate students in affected departments to have completed their formal coursework and to have exhausted their stipend support within three more years, although completion of the Ph.D. may require additional time.
Current staff will not be affected by these program changes except as these changes result in the need for fewer support-personnel in a given department to administer the Ph.D. program and to provide technical support. Every attempt will be made, at appropriate times in the future, to relocate these staff into other University positions.
Former graduate students, as alumni of the Ph.D. program will naturally be upset with the suspension of admissions in their disciplines. A letter of explanation will be sent to all graduate alumni to reaffirm our commitment to support the undergraduate teaching and research missions of the department and to explain our rationale for downsizing. Emphatically.we are not creating---and will not allow a self-definition of --- departments whose only function is "service" to undergraduate majors in other disciplines. We expect the same quality of research and scholarship in departments without a Ph.D. program and we have built into our budget a modest pool of resources to enhance the opportunities for research and scholarship among faculty who win no longer have access to graduate students. In addition, we will encourage joint appointments and other forms of interaction with faculty from Ph.D. degree-granting programs at Rochester.
General principles: Factors and their importance
No formula can capture the richness and complexity of a department's contribution to the College. The metrics chosen by the Planning and Evaluation Task Force were useful in pointing out differences among readily comparable disciplines, but, in our judgment, they alone could not be used to determine which programs are most beneficial (or least necessary) to the College. Similarly, the national rankings provided by the recent report of the National Research Council (NRC) were helpful, but they did not contain information since 1992 or information known only internally (such as linkages to other programs or centrality to our undergraduate experience). Thus, no single indicator was used in the decision-making process. However, several global factors played an important role in our decisions about which Ph.D. programs should be suspended. Those factors included:
Note that no specific weighting function can be applied to these factors across all disciplines. Rather, the importance of these factors must be combined with an overall sense of what is best, and most feasible given Limited resources, for the College as a whole. Examples of such contextual decisions are embedded in the summary below, and some relevant statistics are listed in Tables A and B.
Ph.D. programs whose admissions are being suspended:
Graduate admissions to the following Ph.D. programs are being suspended for the entering class of Fall 1996: Chemical Engineering, Comparative Literature, Linguistics, and Mathematics. Targeted faculty sizes in these departments range from modestly smaller to significantly smaller. We want to emphasis that these decisions, although not irrevocable in the long run, represent at minimum a 5-10 year change in the mission of each affected department, since the earliest reevaluation of the budgetary consequences of this overall restructuring plan will not occur until the Fall of 2001.
Chemical Engineering. The situation in the three accredited engineering departments (ChemE, MechE, and EE) is similar in some respects and different in others. Historically, these faculties totaled approximately 30 FTEs until an upsurge in undergraduate enrollments in the early 1980s, coupled with a higher endowment spending rate in the late 1980s, led to the hiring of 14 more faculty. In ChemE, faculty size increased from 7 in 1982 to 12 in 1992, yet the NRC ranking of their graduate program fell by 16 to 40th (43id percentile). As shown in Table B for the top-30 cohort of national research institutions from U.S. News & World Report, 17 have higher ranked ChemE graduate programs, 9 do not offer a Ph.D. in ChemE, and only 3 have poorer ranked graduate programs. It is clear that to bring the Ph.D. program in ChemE to a level comparable to our overall ranking would require a significant investment (e.g., the average size of a top quartile ChemE program is 19 FTES). Given ChemE-'s modest record of success in attracting outside grant funds and their relatively high costs compared to other science and engineering departments, such an investment was not viewed as justifiable.
In our judgment, a reduction in steady-state faculty size from 11 to 6 FTEs (with modest assistance from adjuncts) will enable the ChemE Department to offer a quality ABET-accredited undergraduate B.S. in ChemE and enable linkages for relevant faculty to the interdepartmental Ph.D. program in Materials Science (which is being retained). We are cautiously optimistic about the prospects for enhanced visibility for the interdepartmental Ph.D. program in Materials Science because of other strong faculty in the College. Our NRC ranking of 36.5 in Materials Science (56th percentile) was somewhat disappointing, but a number of reporting errors, and a poorly coordinated effort to bring in key faculty from departments other than its home department (MechE), may have suppressed this ranking. Modest support of the Materials Science Ph.D. program (with participating faculty from ChemE, Chemistry, EE, MechE, Optics, and Physics & Astronomy) will ensure a strong research base for faculty whose departmental Ph.D. program has been suspended.
We do not wish to prejudge which of several models for restructuring the various programs in ChemE is best for Rochester. For example, the B.S. degree in ChemE might be eliminated and replaced with a B.A. in Engineering Science and an M.S. in ChemE. Such a 3-2 program is being discussed seriously at other institutions as a model for graduate education in engineering. Alternatively, an AB ET-accredited B.S. in ChemE- may be retained but in a larger department of Engineering Science that combines faculty from ChemE and MechE. We have asked SEAS Dean Moore to coordinate an extensive internal review of these issues and to provide us with a strategic plan for the Department of ChemE by the summer of 1996.
Comparative Literature. The Ph.D. in CompLit (administered by the Department of Modem Languages and Cultures) was reinitiated in 1986 after a decade-long hiatus and has achieved modest success in recent years. However, it has not yet achieved distinction and is unlikely to do so without further major investments. In fact, in the absence of new faculty hiring in CompLit per se, rather than faculty in national languages and literatures with secondary expertise in CompL!t, faculty affiliated with the program are only marginally capable of sustaining the Ph.D. degree. Rochester's NRC ranking in CompLit is 31 (70th percentile). As shown in Table B, 17 institutions in the. top-30 have higher ranked CompLit graduate programs, 11 do not offer a Ph.D. in CompLit, and only 1 has a poorer ranked graduate program. The previous revitalization of the CompLit Ph.D. has led to significant reallocation of faculty time to courses, some at the graduate level, so that much of basic language instruction is now covered by adjunct faculty. Thus, costs of the Ph.D. program include a significant adjunct teaching budget. In our judgment, much of the intellectual excitement of the CompLit Ph.D. program can be met by already strong ties to the inter-departmental Ph.D. in Visual & Cultural Studies and to the Susan B. Anthony Institute. A reduction in steady-state faculty size from 18 to 15 for the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures will enable the continuation of all current majors and minors, as well as Master's programs in Spanish, French, and German.
Linguistics. The Ph.D. program in Linguistics, which lay dormant for many years, was revitalized in the mid- 1980s with the hiring of several faculty in theoretical linguistics to the former Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (FLLL). As these faculty, and their newly attracted Ph.D. students, forged linkages with strengths in psycholinguistics (in Psychology) and computational linguistics (in Computer Science), the linguistics program attained sufficient strength to warrant status as a separate department in 1993, with a faculty size of 8. Unfortunately, demand for linguistics at the undergraduate level (as indicated by majors and credit hours) failed to materialize, reinforcing a national -trend. We cannot justify the faculty hiring required to support a department whose undergraduate impact is limited (the Linguistics Ph.D. program at Rochester was not evaluated by the 1992-93 NRC survey due to a reporting omission). The Linguistics Department will be retained with a steady-state faculty size of 5, but the current Linguistics Ph.D. program will be suspended. At the graduate level, the Department will forge stronger ties to the interdepartmental Cognitive Science program by linkages with faculty and graduate students in psycholinguistics (in Brain & Cognitive Sciences) and computational linguistics (in Computer Science). At the. undergraduate level, a broader major that links to the symbolic systems track in Cognitive Science should be examined. The current Linguistics minor will be retained. The ASL program at the undergraduate level will become autonomous, with administrative support provided by the Office of Interdepartmental Programs.
Mathematics. Effective teaching of calculus is an essential ingredient of a quality undergraduate educational experience at Rochester, particularly given the large proportion (over 70%) of first year students who enroll in the calculus sequences. Although arguments could be made that graduate students in Math play a key role in calculus instruction, much like the role that graduate students in English play in basic-level writing courses, the dwindling numbers of Math graduate students undercut one rationale for retaining a Ph.D. program in Math. There are other ways to service our need for calculus instruction, including the hiring of non-research (adjunct) faculty and/or the redirection of other qualified faculty from other disciplines.
Coupled with these concerns is a Ph.D. program in Math that is of modest distinction (though certain subgroups of faculty are nationally prominent). Its NRC ranking is 58.5 (42 percentile). As shown in Table B, 25 of the top 30 institutions have higher ranked Math graduate programs, 3 do not offer a Ph.D. in Math, and only 1 has a poorer ranked graduate program. Despite good intentions by several faculty in Math, undergraduate instruction is less than optimal, the best graduate students are going to other programs, and no reasonable investment in the department would push our ranking to a level commensurate with the overall institution.
For these reasons, we do not believe that continuation of the Ph.D. program in Math is justified. Linkages with other departments and programs are minimal, as is grant income (generally true of Math departments). We believe that a refocused department that emphasizes quality calculus instruction (to a smaller undergraduate student body), attention to majors and minors, and individual research excellence, will best serve the overall needs of the College. A reduction in steady-state faculty size over time from 21 to 10 FTEs, with additional non-tenure-track teaching faculty who staff much of the elementary calculus sequences, can achieve these goals.
Two departments --- History and Philosophy --- stand out as combining a strong undergraduate program with a Ph.D. program of relatively high rank and relatively low cost. Two other departments --- Earth & Environmental Sciences and Mechanical Engineering --- were less well ranked yet have considerable strengths, particularly as they bridge to other programs. In all four cases, we could not justify continuation of business as usual, in large part because attaining or continuing national stature of the first rank was unlikely and because financial constraints demanded that we look for additional cost savings beyond the Ph.D. programs that are being suspended. As a result, we have decided to reduce the size of the graduate student classes (and associated College stipend support) in these departments by approximately 50%, with modest decreases in targeted faculty size. Assuming sufficient quality can be achieved, faculty in these four departments may retain a smaller Ph.D. program, perhaps with greater focus, or they may opt to suspend their Ph.D. program and allocate their reduced stipend budget for postdoctoral fellows and/or visiting faculty. Plans should be developed in each department, and submitted to the Dean's Office by June of 1996, outlining how the department intends to improve its Ph.D. program given its reduced size or eliminate it in favor of a different form of support for faculty research and scholarship.
Earth & environmental Sciences. Undergraduate, majors in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences have grown significantly over the past five years; they are now the second largest science major behind biology. Unfortunately, the NRC rankings (73.5 rank; 73rd percentile; see Table B) do not capture the great strides that faculty research the department has made in recent years, including two recent hires (from Stanford/Scripps and CalTech). With a faculty of 8, the department's teaching load is higher than any other science or engineering department, in essence creating a Ph.D. program as an overload. As with many small departments, however, it is difficult to attract the best graduate students and place them in the best positions (though recent placements have been very strong). In the context of a department on an upward trajectory, with large numbers of majors, and in an area that is likely to maintain strong undergraduate interest that can benefit greatly from a small graduate program, we believe E&ES should not have its Ph.D. program suspended at this point. For a 3-year period we will maintain a reduced graduate stipend budget and encourage the faculty in E&ES to evaluate critically whether maintaining a Ph.D. program is the best model to meet their teaching and research missions with a steady-state faculty size of 7 FTEs, pending approval of a strategic plan submitted to the Dean's office by June of 1996.
History. The History Department has a long and illustrious legacy that was borne out by the NRC rankings. It was ranked 27th (24th percentile). As shown in Table B, 17 of the top-30 departments have higher ranked History graduate programs, 4 do not offer a Ph.D, in history, and 8 have poorer ranked graduate programs. At least some of this relatively solid ranking can be attributed to the outstanding reputation of Christopher Lasch. For example, the NRC report provided a measure of non-uniform publication rates, which is an index of the disproportionate impact that a few faculty had on the overall program ranking. This index shows that very few faculty at Rochester contributed equally to the NRC ranking and this information is consistent with the much lower NRC rank (79. 5) for citations per faculty member. In addition to some concerns about whether the NRC rankings reflect past accomplishments, the stipend budget in History is quite large and it is allocated largely to fellowships and not to TA-ships. Thus, we believe that the History Department must decide if it can be even more focused than it is at present (with three sub-areas of Ph.D. coverage). With a reduced stipend budget, the department may decide that it can mount a more focused Ph.D. or that it makes more sense to suspend the Ph.D. program and invigorate the scholarly activity of its faculty with postdocs and/or visiting professors. Thus, for a 3-year period we will reduce the size of the entering class of graduate students and encourage the faculty in History to determine the best model to meet their teaching and research missions with a steady-state faculty size reduced from 19 to 15 FTES, pending approval of a strategic plan submitted to the Dean's office by June of 1996.
Mechanical Engineering. The situation in MechE, although similar both historically and currently, to that in ChemE, also differs in some important respects. Like ChemE., faculty size grew between 1982 and 1992 (from 12 to 17), yet the NRC ranking fell by 16 to 58th (53rd percentile). As shown in Table B, 19 of the top-30 institutions have higher ranked MechE graduate programs, 9 do not offer a Ph.D. in MechE, and only I has a poorer ranked graduate program. It is clear that to bring the Ph.D. program in MechE to a level comparable to our overall ranking would require a significant investment (e.g., the average size of a top quartile MechE program is 38 FTES).
However, there are significant strengths in MechE that lead us to propose a detailed internal analysis of the possibility of retaining the Ph.D. program in MechE. For example, despite an overall quality ranking of 58th and an effectiveness ranking of 88th in the NRC report, mecHe achieved a rank of 8th in citations per faculty member. In addition, while grant funding is modest, there are strong linkages to the Medical School, the Laser Lab, and the Center for Optics Manufacturing. In our judgment these strengths could be maintained without a Ph.D. program in MechE by forging stronger ties to the Department of Physics & Astronomy, the Institute of Optics, the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, and to the interdepartmental Ph.D. program in Materials Science. At present, our preference is for faculty in MechE and other relevant departments to focus their energies on the Ph.D. program in Materials Science, which has greater prospects for achieving a higher national ranking with a smaller investment. However, we do not wish to pre-judge this current preference given the interaction between the MechE and Materials Science programs. What is clear is that we must reduce the steady-state faculty size in MechE from 15 to 10 FTES. This size will enable the MechE Department to offer a quality ABET accredited undergraduate B.S. in MechE, with the possibility of a 3-2 and an M.S. program. The question of retaining the Ph.D. in MechE, or dropping it in favor of concentrating on the Ph.D. in Materials Science, must be evaluated by the relevant faculty. We have asked SEAS Dean Moore to coordinate an extensive internal review of these issues and to provide us with a strategic plan for the Department of MechE by the summer of 1996.
Philosophy. The Philosophy Department, like the History Department, has an illustrious legacy, and currently plays a significant role among non-majors at the undergraduate level, with ties to Religion & Classics, History, Political Science, Linguistics, and Cognitive Science. Its NRC ranking is 33 (46th percentile) . As shown in Table B, 16 of the top-10 institutions have higher ranked Philosophy graduate programs, 4 do not offer a Ph.D. in Philosophy, and have poorer ranked graduate programs. Although these rankings are solid for a small department, we believe that the department is not ranked sufficiently highly to justify further investments. However, the combination of a significant undergraduate credit-hour load and a Ph.D. program of relatively high rank and modest cost led us to the decision to reduce rather than suspend admissions to the Ph.D. program in Philosophy. We believe that a reduction in the steady-state faculty size from 8 to 7 FTEs can provide an outstanding undergraduate program to our students, while allowing a smaller Ph.D. program to flourish. The nature of such a program, and plans to achieve it within these constraints, should be part of a strategic plan submitted to the Dean's office by June of 1996.
Twelve other Ph.D. programs are being retained --- Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Electrical Engineering, English, Materials Science, Optics, Physics & Astronomy, Political Science, Psychology (now separate departments of Brain & Cognitive Sciences and Clinical & Social Sciences in Psychology), and Visual & Cultural Studies. One additional Ph.D. program (Biostatistics/Statistics) is being gradually phased out of the College and into the Medical School.
As summarized earlier, it is important to note that with an undergraduate student body reduced in the steady-state by 20% (an entering class size of 900), we must all recalibrate our expectations for growth in faculty size. Neither the demand for instruction at the undergraduate level nor the immediate financial resources associated with a smaller student body allow for additional faculty hiring at this point. To achieve our financial goals, we have targeted a reduction in faculty size from 343 to 306, almost exclusively in departments whose Ph.D. programs are being suspended or refocused. Any growth in faculty size in departments whose Ph.D. programs are not being suspended or refocused must come from further declines in other departments. In the interests of disciplinary balance and program viability, we do not believe that a faculty size below 300 is viable. Further growth in faculty size is not achievable, unless revenue enhancements actually reach hoped-for results. If so, we can consider faculty growth at that time. Given the risk and pain of faculty downsizing, however, it would be irresponsible to add faculty positions based solely on that hope.
Biology. The Biology Department has a strong research faculty and the largest number of science majors. Although the NRC rankings did not single out the Biology Department because faculty from the River Campus and the Medical School were combined by subfield into four Ph.D. disciplines, an aggregate ranking of the Biology Department's Ph.D. program was estimated to be in the 32nd percentile. In Table B, data derived from combining the relative rankings of the biological sciences Ph.D. programs listed in each subfield indicate that Rochester is ranked approximately 20th in the cohort of top-30 institutions. All of these top-30 institutions have at least one Ph.D. program in the biological sciences, and 29 of the 30 have two. Given Rochester's strong undergraduate niche for pre-med students, and the need for graduate students to serve as TA's and as RA's for nearly $3 million/year in extramural grants, it is imperative that the Ph.D. program in Biology be maintained and strengthened. Additional strength must come from collaborations with the Medical School, an issue that we are exploring in detail with the new Vice President and Vice Provost for Health Affairs.
Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology. The former Psychology Department has been formally divided into a natural science department (Brain and Cognitive Sciences) and a social science department (Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology). The combined department, on all metrics of quality and instruction (including grant income, majors,and credit hours),was very strong. Its NRC rank was 3lst (17th percentile). As shown in Table B, 15 of the top-30 institutions have higher ranked Psychology graduate programs, 2 do not offer a Ph.D. in Psychology, and 12 have poorer ranked graduate programs. With the advent of the BCS Department, approval for a new Ph.D. program, combining three former Ph.D. degrees in Psychology, will be applied for with the State of N.Y. Two other Ph.D. degrees in Psychology will be administered by the CSSP Department. The undergraduate major in Psychology will be administered jointly by the two departments.
Chemistry. By all objective standards, the Chemistry Department is very strong, though its number of majors is rather modest. Grant income is very high and a large number of non-majors are served by several highly subscribed introductory courses and laboratories. The large size of its graduate program is driven, in part, by the high demand for TA's in undergraduate chemistry labs. Its NRC rank is 31.5 (19th percentile). As shown in Table B, 16 of the top-30 institutions have higher ranked Chemistry graduate programs and 13 have poorer ranked graduate programs. Despite the relatively high cost of a chemistry department, this is an investment that is worth maintaining, particularly given the strong market for Ph.D.s in Chemistry.
Computer Science. The Computer Science Department is already a niche program both in breadth of coverage and overall faculty size. It has some of the most talented graduate students in the College and, with its new undergraduate major, an opportunity to create a new intellectual focus for undergraduates. Its NRC ranking is 3Oth (28th-percentile), and publications/faculty was ranked 5th. As shown in Table B, 16 institutions have higher ranked Computer Science graduate programs, 5 do not offer a Ph,D. in Computer Science, and 8 have poorer ranked graduate programs. Given the high quality of its faculty and graduate students, its linkages to Electrical Engineering, and its projected attractiveness to talented undergraduates, support for the Computer Science program is well justified.
Economics. The Economics Department is the 2nd highest ranked Ph.D. program in the College, with an NRC rank of 14 (13th percentile). It routinely has some of the most talented graduate students in the College, an excellent placement record at major research universities, and a large number of undergraduate credit hours and majors. As shown in Table B, 12 top-30 institutions have higher ranked Economics graduate programs, 5 do not offer a Ph.D. in Economics, and 12 have poorer ranked graduate programs. Despite higher than average operating costs, this is a program that we believe should be nurtured.
Electrical Engineering. The Department of Electrical Engineering has the potential of linking with other science and applied science departments and becoming a major player in the engineering disciplines. Its NRC rank is 46.5 on quality (37th percentile), 19th on citations/faculty, and its grant income, is comparable to Optics (and substantially higher than ChemE or MechE). As shown in Table B, 18 top-30 institutions have higher ranked EE, graduate programs, 8 do not offer a Ph.D. in EE, and 3 have poorer ranked graduate programs. In contrast to the growth of faculty size in the 1980s in ChemE- and MechE, the increase of 5 faculty in EE during this decade improved their NRC rank by 8. We believe that the modest investment needed to maintain a viable Ph.D. program in EE is essential to our overall reputation in the physical sciences and engineering, and that important and exciting linkages can occur given our current strengths in Computer Science and in the Medical School.
English. The Department of English not only has severe outstanding faculty (as revealed by Guggenheims and other awards), but graduate students in English play an important role in the teaching of freshmen writing. The NRC ranking is not as high as some other departments (rank 46 and 36th percentile), but we believe it is essential to maintain a strong presence in English as a central discipline in the humanities. As shown in Table B., 20 top-30 institutions have higher ranked English graduate programs, 4 do not offer a Ph.D. in English, and 5 have poorer ranked graduate programs. We believe that despite our plan to retain the Ph.D. in English, it is advisable to reduce the steady-state faculty size slightly (from 25 to 22) and to downsize the number of graduate students (in part to reflect the smaller class size of 900), while increasing their individual stipend levels.
Materials Science. By tradition, the Ph.D. in Materials Science, has been largely a part of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. However, Materials Science is an interdisciplinary program with faculty expertise in MechE, ChemE, EE, Optics, Chemistry, and Physics & Astronomy. The program was ranked 36.5 (56th percentile) and, as summarized earlier, can achieve a considerably higher ranking with very little, additional investment. We plan a consolidation of this Ph.D. program within the College to capitalize on the expertise both within and outside of MechE.
Optics. The Institute of Optics is an outstanding example of a signat ure department that has attained national prominence by focusing on a limited subdiscipline. Grant income and national ranking are excellent, as are graduate student quality and placement (though majors have declined over the past decade). The NRC report included optics in the much broader physics category; yet it still was ranked a solid 25th (17th percentile). Our clear strength in Optics should be enhanced by closer ties to related departments and programs in the physical sciences and medicine.
Physics and Astronomy. The Department of Physics and Astronomy, like the Department of Chemistry, is very strong on all dimensions except their modest number of majors. We believe that Rochester can retain its strength in physics even while, shrinking the department's steady-state faculty size slightly (from 29 to 26). The department's NRC ranking of 26.5 (18th percentile) is very strong in a highly competitive discipline. As shown in Table B, 15 top-30 institutions have higher ranked Physics graduate programs, 2 do not offer a Ph.D. in Physics, and 12 have poorer ranked graduate programs. We believe, that Rochester's reputation in the physical sciences requires a strong Physics Department, and that closer ties with Optics, the Laser Lab, Chemistry, and the Ph.D. program in Materials Science will maintain our strong national presence in Physics and related disciplines.
Political Science. The Political Science Department received Rochester's highest quality ranking in the NRC report (rank 11,11 th percentile), and was even higher ranked in effectiveness and citations/faculty. Like Optics, Political Science at Rochester has achieved national stature by a distinctive focus, despite a relatively small faculty size. Its balanced contribution to the College includes a large presence among undergraduates and a small but high quality graduate population, which has achieved a superior rezord of job placements. As shown in-Table B, only 8 of the top-30 institutions have higher ranked Political Science graduate programs, 4 do not offer a Ph.D. in Political Science, and 17 have poorer ranked graduate programs. Higher graduate stipends will allow Political Science at Rochester to retain and enhance its outstanding national reputation.
Visual and Cultural Studies. Despite its relative youth (so new that it was not ranked by the NRC), the Ph.D. program in Visual and Cultural Studies has become a model for similar innovative programs at other high quality institutions. Graduate students in VCS complement the teaching needs of the undergraduate program in Studio Arts, and recent degree recipients have obtained outstanding job placements. Retaining a small but distinguished Ph.D. program in the humanities, particularly one that bridges with English, Film Studies, and Women's Studies, will provide a balance to the College that we judge to be essential at a research university. As with and other Ph.D programs retained in the humanities, increases in individual graduate student stipends will enable VCS to attract the very best graduate students.
Biostatistics/Statistics. The Ph.D. program in Statistics has been jointly staffed with the Department of Biostatistics, and several faculty have joint appointments in the Medical School. Recent deliberations with the Medical School have resulted in the movement of 3 partial FTEs from the College to the Medical School and an explicit agreement that over the next five years the primary responsibility for the Ph.D. program will shift to the Department of Biostatistics. Current faculty in the Department of Statistics will continue to play an important role in the Ph.D. program, but any departing Statistics faculty in the College will be replaced by faculty in the social science departments who have expertise in statistics. As a result, the Statistics major may be eliminated (but with the retention of the minor) over the next five years. Primary budget support for the Ph.D. will shift from the College to the Medical School. This shift in responsibility for the Ph.D. program from the College to the Medical School is the result of the Medical School's commitment to high quality statistical consulting, which they believe can only come from faculty who are attracted to a department with a Ph.D. program. From the perspective of the College, we believe that the investment is too great to bring the Statistics Department into the. highest rank. Its current NRC rank is 32 (49th percentile). As shown in Table B, 11 top-30 institutions have higher ranked Statistics graduate programs, 15 do not offer a Ph.D. in Statistics, and 3 have poorer ranked graduate programs.
The configuration of Ph.D. programs remaining fully in the College is as follows:
Humanities English Philosophy (reduced/focused) Visual & Cultural Studies Social Sciences Clinical & Social Sciences in Psychology Economics History (reduced/focused) Political Science Sciences Biology Brain & cognitive Sciences Chemistry Computer Science Earth & Environmental Sciences-(reduced/focused) Physics & Astronomy Engineering Electrical Engineering Materials Science Mechanical Engineering (reduced/focused) Optics
We believe that this configuration of Ph.D. programs, with some additional Master's programs, will maintain Rochester as a very strong Carnegie I Research University, with a more focused mission at the graduate level and more resources at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. As shown in Table A, the remaining 20 Ph.D. programs in the College (translated into 17 on the preceding page because of the multiple biological s cience classifications used in the NRC report) keep Rochester significantly above the mean of 16 for the "2nd-15" -institutions from the U.S. News & World Report list of private national research universities. In short, we will not be an "outlier" on the dimension of breadth of Ph.D. programs among a cohort of national research universities with whom we compete for undergraduates. Estimated cost savings (in 1995 dollars) once the steady-state scenario is achieved are approximately $3 million. Coupled with expenditure reductions in administrative costs, some reallocation of resources among the -Schools and the College, and anticipated growth in tuition revenues through a focus on undergraduate quality, the Renaissance Plan will reduce the structural unbalance in the College and put us on a path of excellence in our research and teaching missions.
We fully recognize the pain involved in these decisions. But to delay or assume that our financial problems will simply go away is foolhardy and unacceptable; doing so will only make the necessary readjustments worse and may also permanently lower the University's quality and reputation. We could not expect the faculty collectively to make these difficult decisions, nor do we expect that each of you will agree with them. But we cannot attain our vision of a stronger College --- which we believe to be achievable and exciting --- without the active, cooperation of the faculty. We need to get on with the task of moving the College forward, and we intend to do everything within our power to accomplish the restructuring in an orderly and timely manner.
Number of Ph.D. programs offered by the top-30 national research Universities as ranked by the '96 U.S. News & World Report.
I. Harvard 25 2. Princeton 27 3. Yale 25 4. Stanford 34 5. MiT 19 6. Duke 28 7. CalTech 16 8. Dartmouth 9 9. Brown 25 10. Hopkins 30 11. Chicago 25 12. Penn 31 13. Cornell 31 14. Northwestern 27 15. Columbia 28 16. Rice 21 17. Emory 13 18. Notre Dame 21 19. Virginia 29 20. Wash U 25 21. Georgetown 11 22. Vanderbilt 23 23. Carnegie-Mellon 15 24. Michigan 34 25. Tufts 7 26. UC Berkeley 34 27. North Carolina 28 28. UCLA 32 29. Rochester 24 30. Brandeis 12
Relative rankings of Rochester's Ph.D. programs.
Ph.D. Discipline UR rank re:Table A NRC quality (%ile) Biology 20 of 30 32 Chemical Engineering 18 of 21 43 Chemistry 17 of 30 19 Comparative Lit. 18 of 19 70 Computer Science 17 of 25 28 Earth &- Environ. Sci. 19 of 21 73 Economics 13 of 25 13 Electrical Engineering 19 of 22 37 English 21 of 26 36 History 18 of 26 24 Linguistics Not ranked Materials Science 16 of 18 56 Mathematics 26 of 27 42 Mechanical Eng. 20 of 21 53 Optics Special category 17 in Physics Philosophy 17 of 26 46 Physics & Astronomy 16 of 28 18 Political Science 9 of 26 11 Psychology 16 of 28 17 Statistics/BiostatiCs 12 of 15 49 Visual & Cultural Studies Not ranked