Faculty Senate Minutes
November 11, 2005

Present: Bickley, Buck, Carroll, Causgrove, Cook, Friday, Fugate, Garcia, Hartlaub, Hill, Ivy, Layman, Ledbetter, Melrose, Oliver, Pohan, Talley, Thomas, Willman, Wingfield, Winston, Yellen

Absent: Harper, Waheeduzzaman

Guests: Edward Kownslar, Denise Landry-Hyde, Robert Lovitt, Susan Wolff-Murphy


I. Call to Order
Ivy called the meeting to order at 2:01 p.m., and welcomed our guests and Senators.

II. Guest Speaker: Robert Lovitt, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration
Mr. Robert Lovitt oversees the departments of Financial Services, University Services, Physical Plant, Computer and Media Services, Human Resources, Equal Opportunity and Employee Relations, and the Police Department. In response to Senators’ questions, he had not heard about a state budget surplus due to the increase in oil revenues. He will be reporting to the President regarding the long-range campus Master Plan. His committee has a recommendation for an architect for this year-long planning process. Regarding off campus expansion, he said that the President is committed to keeping academic programs on campus. Parking may have to be moved off campus. The Wellness Center is moving forward, although the first phase will be funded by student fees. They will put a new building next to Moody Field House, and in a later phase, tear down Moody Field House for another building. The student fees will be $75 per semester to pay for this phase, a 10,000 sq. ft. cardio center, with weights, aerobic machines, etc.

Mr. Lovitt said that he had only had a brief conversation with Dr. Chenaux regarding the smoke-free campus issue. His biggest concern is how to control and enforce smoke-free areas. At UT Dallas, where he worked previously, their smoke-free areas generally worked well, with a smoke-free area 25 ft. from the main entrance to any building. It did not work well during inclement weather, however. Resources for signs or furniture will not be a significant expenditure. Senators suggested announcing our intent for smoke-free areas to the faculty as a whole to raise awareness. There was more discussion regarding enforcement and how to accomplish this.

With regard to the budget, Mr. Lovitt said that we had projected a 5% enrollment growth, but we only got a 2% enrollment growth.

In response to Senators’ questions, Mr. Lovitt explained that no money will be taken from academics to pay for athletics. He acknowledged that this happened in the past, but President Killebrew does not want to subsidize athletics with money earmarked for academic programs. The significant facilties costs associated with becoming a member of the Southland Conference will come from auxiliary funding. The baseball/softball teams may play some of their games at Whataburger Field.

Mr. Lovitt is also working on the contract with Camden regarding the housing facilities.

Friday questioned TAMU-CC’s faculty salary adjustments as compared to peer institutions. Our faculty pay is below our peers, and pay raises have not kept up with inflation. Lovitt explained that the staff has the same problem, and any increase comes from the students. Friday pointed out that nonfaculty payroll has grown, in that 54% has gone to staff, 46% to faculty. Lovitt explained that in the most recent budget allocation, almost all new money went to faculty, except that which went to utilities.

Senators asked questions about the Information Technology (IT) audit. Mr. Lovitt has been charged with carrying out the recommendations of the audit. He will be meeting with President Killebrew on email, the firewall, Social Security numbers, and the hiring of a Chief Information Officer (CIO). He has no monetary resources to accomplish this as yet. Garcia asked about putting all colleges behind the firewall. Lovitt said they were implementing a survey of servers to determine which ones need to be behind the firewall. They will then work on the CIO, distance learning and restructuring the IT Council. They are trying to work from a model that A&M College Station uses, and then create rules and procedures from that. All proposed rules come to the faculty via Faculty Senate. Regarding email, Mr. Lovitt explained that the Groupwise system will likely be going away next fall.

A final comment was made on the sanitation problems created by pigeons in outside stairwells, asking Mr. Lovitt to see if anything could be done to improve that situation.

III. Approval of minutes
It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of the October 14, 2005 meeting. Minutes were approved.

IV. Report from the Texas Council of Faculty Senates meeting – Friday
Friday provided a summary of the meeting of the Texas Council of Faculty Senates on October 21. One thing he pointed out was that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (TCEHB) recommends holding off on working toward the 120 hour cap on undergraduate degree plans until they receive more guidance about it.

The representatives from the A&M System Faculty Senates also met. They discussed how the External Review process requested by the Chancellor regarding the suspension of the TAMU-Kingsville Senate, was not as diligent a process as it might have been. Some of the A&M System Faculty Senate representatives wrote a letter to Chancellor McTeer about implementing a process and how it might be better dealt with the next time there is a problem similar to the one that occurred at A&M Kingsville. They sent the letter to McTeer, as they wanted him to have it in time for the next Board of Regents meeting. It was not approved by all Senates in the System. A copy of the letter was provided to Senators at the meeting.

V. Committee Reports
A. Awards/Bylaws/Elections Committee – Buck
The Committee will formally vote to forward Pamela Stokes file as TAMUCC’s nominee for the Piper Award.

B. Budget Committee
Friday reported that the Budget Committee met and will put together items for Senate discussion. They are working on the idea of Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for faculty. Thomas reported that COLA is not forbidden in the Texas State Statutes, as had been thought. It is an appropriations bill issue. She has asked some of her contacts to assist in researching this to find out how to approach the issue.

C. Faculty Affairs – Garcia
1. Action Item: Faculty Complaint Procedure
Garcia summarized the points listed in the Committee’s recommendation. It was moved and seconded to accept the Committee’s recommendation. Senators discussed the recommendations. A friendly amendment was proposed to add another point: “ In all places, in absence of a department chair, the complainant goes to the direct supervisor.” It was suggested that this change needs to be reflected throughout the Faculty Handbook. Another friendly amendment was put forth to add the word “formally” to line 1 in 3.2.1(1); this changes the wording to “…30 days a person has to ‘formally’ complain”. This amendment was withdrawn after discussion. A third suggestion was to end 3.1.1(2) with “100 days from the initial incident,” to avoid awkward language. This suggestion was withdrawn. The Senate approved the recommendations as amended.

D. Academic Affairs Committee – Waheeduzzaman
1. Discussion Item: Academic Honesty
Talley presented the committee’s recommendation, to add a phrase “at the discretion of” faculty members to the catalog, in the 3rd paragraph of the section on Academic Honesty. The catalog states that any appeal regarding academic honesty will be treated as a grade appeal. Information from the Provost and the Assistant Provost presented a different legal interpretation, in that in an academic honesty case, the burden of proof is on the faculty member to prove academic dishonesty. The timing factor is more critical, as a grade appeal may only be submitted after the semester is over. Winston explained that the administration is developing some steps to cover issues like these, as there is no defined process to deal with academic dishonesty in Academic Affairs. Senators discussed various aspects of this issue. One suggestion was to add “fabrication” to the list of dishonest acts. Another issue was the statement in the catalog that faculty members must file a record for each case of academic dishonesty. This is not listed in the Faculty Handbook or the Student Handbook.
2. Discussion Item: Medical Incapacitation & Withdrawal
The Committee recommends dividing this section into 2 sections. For medical incapacitation during the semester, the Committee recommended no change, and a student would drop classes in the regular manner. If the request to withdraw due to medical incapacitation occurs after the end of the semester, the request should go through the Provost’s office. The Committee did not know how refunds or financial aid were treated in those cases. Senators discussed various aspects of this procedure. Winston stated that Funk-Baxter, from the Finance and Administration Office requested that the phrase “supercedes State and Federal laws” be retained.

A motion was made and seconded to extend the meeting beyond 4:00 p.m.

E. Committee on Committees – Ledbetter
The Committee on Committees met on October 19, 2005. They have 3 items to accomplish. One is to continue to work toward designated smoking areas on campus. A second is the 12-month contract. Ledbetter asked Senators to submit to her programs that currently run on a 12-month basis from each college. Once that information is gathered, they will move forward with this issue. The third item is the assignment of committee appointments, which occurs during the spring semester.

VI. Provost’s Report
The Provost is out of town, but she did send a report that the Sci-Tech Dean search is still ongoing. She also reported that she is asking for nominations for an interim chair for the CAMS department, and will begin the appointment process for that position soon.

VII. Speaker’s Report
A. New Senate rosters were passed out, using the old email addresses that did not bounce back. Oliver’s first name is misspelled on her correct address, which has created more problems.
B. The final New Faculty Orientation session is scheduled for Friday, November 18 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The focus is on research, with Dr. Vanessa Jackson speaking about creative alternatives to research. A representative from the Office of Research will be there, with Eugune Billiot and Denise Landry-Hyde from the Faculty Renaissance Center acting as hosts. Bickley will attend as representative from Faculty Senate.
C. An update on the TAMU-Kingsville Faculty Senate situation, discussed earlier in Friday’s report, was provided.
D. TALK2ME – All faculty received an email about this new clearinghouse to help direct anyone to the proper office.
E. Suggestion Box – Silliman, Secretary for the Faculty Senate, has created a Suggestion Box for faculty to use to put forward suggestions. Ivy will send out an email announcing this. Every issue will be addressed, even if it means that Senate cannot handle the issue, but will refer the issue to the correct office. Silliman is also updating the Faculty Senate web page, with Senate agendas and minutes.


III. Other Business/Announcements/Adjournment
1. Layman requested discussion of the IT Council. This discussion was done off the record.
2. Ledbetter brought a point of priviledge. She moved that the Faculty Senate extend greetings and gratitude on this Veteran’s Day, to all members of the TAMUCC family who have served and are serving our nation in the Armed Forces. This was seconded and approved.
3. Ivy explained that the December Senate meeting is scheduled for December 9, during Finals. It was moved and seconded to cancel the December Senate meeting. Senate approved this motion.
4. The meeting was adjourned at 4:25 p.m.