Friday, February 18, 2005, 2:00pm

UC Dolphin 306

Present: Alnor, Bickley, Buck, Byus, Canales, Carrol, Causgrove, Friday, Harper, Ivy, Layman, Ledbetter, Melrose, Morvant, Purdy,
Sutton, Waheed, Winston, Wooster, Yellen, Zebda

Absent: Cook, Garcia, Hill, Shepperd

Guests: Dr. Randy Bonnette, Ms. Jacqueline Hamilton, Dr. Paul Orser

I. Call to Order & Introduction of New Senator.

Ivy called the meeting to order at 2:05 pm. She introduced Dr. Kent Byus, the new Senator from the College of Business, and thanked him for stepping in to the empty seat.

II. Guest: Dr. Paul Orser, Associate Vice President for Planning & Institutional Effectiveness (update on parking).

Dr. Orser explained the things the Parking Planning Task Force sought to accomplish this year. First, they wished to describe the current parking situation. This was accomplished during Fall 2004. Second, they wished to examine short term fixes to the parking problem in order to buy time for examination and implementation of longer term fixes. He handed out an aerial photo of campus on which was superimposed their plan for a short term solution. It includes 4,816 additional spaces which represents 28% more parking than was available in 2003-04. Parking fees paid this year are being spent to build these lots. Finally, for the longer term, in order to provide enough money to build a parking lot maintenance fund and to support a bond to build more spaces, parking fees will increase by $2.50 a month next year. This increase should alleviate the need to raise parking fees again the year after. He urged the Senate to complete the Task Force's online survey.

Senators expressed concerns regarding their participation in decisions to bring some entities to campus and move others off campus, the effect of increased parking fees on lower paid University staff, and the custom on other campuses of asking students, faculty, and staff subsidize parking.

III. Approval of the Minutes of the January 21 meeting (attachment).

The minutes from the January Senate meeting were unanimously approved with changes.

IV. Discussion Items.

A. Report from the System Council of Faculty Senates meeting - Friday.

Friday reported that the key points discussed at the meeting were the lack of faculty input into system policy, the TAMU-Kingsville no confidence vote, and changes in health care and ORP contributions. There will be a subcommittee formed to discuss a proposal for guidelines for votes of no confidence. At the meeting, Chancellor McTier agreed to have System CEOs distribute rule changes to System Faculty Senates. He expressed interest in ideas from the Council to reduce administrative overhead in the System. He also promised to investigate salary inversion saying that he realized the potential impact on moral. Friday reported that he was impressed with Chancellor McTier's desire to listen to what the Council had to say on all of the issues they presented to him.

B. Calendar Committee update -- Sutton (attachment).

Sutton explained the Calendar Committee's alternative academic calendars and the parameters the Committee followed in creating them. Senators questioned the reasoning for scheduling the Faculty Meeting as it appears in the alternative calendars. Provost Harper suggested that the Committee consider revising the final exam schedule. Sutton asked that any Senator who wished to comment on the Committee's alternatives please do so by March 16, 2005. The Committee will meet to consider feedback from Senate, Student Government, and Staff Advisory Council on March 17, 2005.

C. Proposed MS in Kinesiology (attachment).

Ivy explained that the proposal before the Senate has been approved by the College of Education. The Provost's Council also approve it contingent on the following changes: (1) the addition of more description of how this program is different from TAMU-Kingsville's program, (2) agreement on which department/colleges' statistics courses will be accepted in the program, and (3) additional distinction between undergraduate and graduate course descriptions that includes a better description of the rigor of the graduate courses.

Senators questioned the calculation of required hours. Morvant, in his capacity as Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, asked about faculty assignments and questioned the addition of a program to the detriment of an existing program. Other Senators questioned their ability to maintain the quality of research, an important aspect of graduate work, given the teaching load being proposed. There ensued a discussion of University Administration's support for new programs and new faculty lines.

There was a motion to turn the discussion item into an action item. The motion was seconded and then approved by a vote of 16 for, 2 against, and 1 abstention.

The proposal was approved by a vote of 10 for, 4 against, and 4 abstentions.

V. Committee Reports.

A. Academic Affairs Committee -- Morvant (status of workload survey; progress on catalog copy; progress on univ. procedure on final exams) (attachments).

Morvant provided Senators with a summary of the Committee's proposed changes to catalog copy for approval and their proposed procedure changes on final exams for discussion.

The Committee recommended that Senate approve their catalog copy changes. Their recommendation was unanimously approved. Morvant pointed out that the only substantial change that the Committee proposes is to section 2.2 which allows student to consult with the dean of students if they have difficulty changing exams. Senators discussed their concerns including the possible effect of shrinking the number of exam days from five to four, the possibility of a guideline for which exam should be changed/moved (the middle exam was suggested), the question of who should mediate arguments over this. The consensus was that the policy should be clearer. Morvant added that Committee felt that there should be a timing requirement so that schedules can be verified and changes made in a timely manner.

Morvant reported that the Committee's workload survey will be out next week and asked Senators to please encourage their constituents to complete it.

B. Awards/Bylaws/Election Committee -- Melrose (status of awards nominations; progress on bylaws revision; nominations & elections for Senators).

Melrose reported that packets have been received from all 10 nominees. The Committee will work through them as quickly as possible. The Committee has also come up with some suggested changes to the bylaws which they will bring to Senate at the next meeting. Finally, Senate elections will be held during the two weeks after Spring Break. They expect to hold absentee voting on the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of the first week after Spring Break (March 23, 24, and 25) and to hold the election on the Wednesday of the second week after Spring Break, March 30.

C. Budget Committee -- Zebda (letter to system; updates from SPBC meeting) (attachment).

Zebda passed out a proposed bill with which legislators are considering ways to adjust faculty salaries. He reported that at the recent Strategic Planning and Budget Committee meeting parking fees and potential tuition increase were discussed. President Killebrew presented tuition increases as a last resort. There was discussion of the Committee's letter to Chancellor McTier. Several changes were suggested and accepted. When the question was called the vote in favor of approving the letter was unanimous.

A motion to extend the meeting was unanimously approved at 4:04 pm.

Friday brought up the implications of a bill before the legislature that would allow the conversion of sick leave to personal leave. Ivy replied that she had forwarded it to the Faculty Affairs Committee for examination. Zebda asked about the Senate’s desire to propose that parking fees be graduated based on salary. Ivy suggested that the Budget Committee draft a proposal.

D. Committee on Committees -- Ivy (progress on smoking issue; interest survey for univ. committees) (attachment).

Ivy reported that during a meeting with the Environmental Health and Safety Committee, members discovered that student government is also working on the smoking issue. Since the two groups have similar goals, they are going to join forces. The Committee on Committees will suggest that the building superintendent for each building on campus designate a smoking area for their building. Ivy will contact the Staff Advisory Coucil about joining the group of Senate, University Safety Committee and Student Government. She requests that Senators please pass along feedback to her.

Ivy reported concern from faculty from several colleges spurred by the committee interest survey that they have little time and little incentive for committee service. The concern is not a new one. Ivy suggested that Senate take another look at the committee structure because she anticipates that it may become increasingly difficult to fill committee positions. There was some discussion of the reasons that this might be beginning to occur in which Senators presented scenarios from their different colleges.

E. Faculty Affairs Committee -- Cook (childcare report; progress on leave issues).

Caroll reported for Cook. On the child care issue he explained the process the committee used to come to its decision not to conduct a needs survey. On the leave issue, which he explained was stimulated by a former Senator's experience, he reported that the Committee had examined this specific experience and the leave policies in general and had come to the conclusion that the greatest need was for a paid maternity leave policy.

VI. Provost's Report.

In response to the Faculty Affairs Committee's report on leave issues, the Provost stated that maternity leave is covered under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). She suggested that the Committee seek further information from Debra Cortinas. It was pointed out that FMLA leave was unpaid. Ivy asked that the Faculty Affairs Committee also consider paternity leave. The Provost suggested that Ivy use the building contacts that were established for the hurricane plan for the Committee on Committee's smoking plans. She announced that ten semi-finalists for Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration are submitting materials for the Search Committee to use in making a recommendation to Dr. Killebrew.

She reported that a big topic in the legislative session is the 3.2 billion dollars needed to fund public education. On the proposed tuition increase she described the hearing for students that was held, as required, to allow them an opportunity to express their concerns about increases in board authorized tuition. At that hearing, it was explained that an increase ranging from 0 to 15 dollars per semester credit hour would be requested depending on what occurs in the legislative session. Finally, she reported that a consultant for school for performing arts was on campus recently and had laid out a lot of things that need to be considered.

VII. Speaker's Report.

A. Visit to Staff Advisory Council: Buddy system idea.

Ivy attended a recent Staff Advisory Council meeting at which they discussed their buddy system for new employees. She was favorably impressed by the plan and suggests that Senate to explore it and rethink new faculty orientation.

B. Ethics Council response to proposed changes in policy regarding Research Enhancement Committee members submitting proposals (attachment).

The Ethics Council's response to the proposed changes in policy regarding Research Enhancement Committee members submitting proposals supports the Senate position on the issue.

C. Tuition hearing; proposed tuition increase request.

The Provost spoke about this in her report and Ivy had nothing to add.

D. Article on proposed health insurance coverage cuts for state retirees (attachment).

This article was included for informational purposes. It was provided by Janet Banks in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

VIII. Other Business/Announcements/Adjournment.

There was no other business nor were there any announcements.

The meeting adjourned at 4:58 pm.


Respectfully submitted by

Sarah Sutton Faculty
Senate Secretary/Treasurer 2004-05