Faculty Senate Minutes
October 14, 2005
Present: Bickley, Buck, Causgrove, Carroll, Cook, Friday, Fugate, Garcia, Harper, Hill, Ivy, Layman, Ledbetter, Melrose, Pohan, Talley, Waheeduzzaman, Willman, Winston, Yellen.
Absent: Hartlaub, Oliver, Thomas
Guest: Ed People, Director, University Services
I. Call to order
A. Ivy called the meeting to order at 2:04 p.m.
B. Ivy introduced the Faculty Senate’s administrative assistant, Christine Silliman. She started work on Monday, October 10, and her office hours will be 9:30 to 2:30, Monday through Thursday. Senators may call her at x5837 for access to the Faculty Senate Conference Room, or to make other arrangements.
II. Guest Speaker, Ed People, Director, University Services
A. Mr. People graciously provided cobbler and coffee for our Faculty Senate meeting.
B. As Director of University Services, Mr. People is in charge of the Bookstore, Food Services, the Post Office and the Print Shop, among other things. He has been in the position for a year, and has worked to improve the communication between the Bookstore and the faculty on textbook adoption and ordering. Due to the publishing business, the ordering process, the registration process, and many other factors, it is difficult to ensure that every student has the books they need on the first day of class. Mr. People requested that the Bookstore and faculty work together to lessen the frustrations of students and faculty during the first days of the semester. If a book is 3 weeks late, it is because the publisher is out of stock. Generally, they can get a book shipped overnight if necessary.
C. Mr. People announced a Faculty/Staff discount for Bookstore and On-Campus Dining. By using your SandDollar card to purchase food, faculty and staff will receive a 10% discount. The 10% discount at the Bookstore does not require you to use the card to pay for items, but you do need to show your SandDollar card to get the discount. The Bookstore discount excludes textbooks, greeting cards and computer software.
D. University Services sponsors a reception each year to recognize the partnership with the faculty in providing services.
E. The University Post Office will not be changing mail-stops because departments have been split. This is a sensitive issue and he welcomes input to help solve this. The problem results when a person whose office is in Driftwood, for example, gets their mail at the Faculty Center. Letterhead, business cards, etc. must be changed when unit numbers change. They may decide to use a building drop and deliver by buildings.
F. Harper explained that Mr. People is very responsive and has improved the food service. One comment was raised about an experience of arriving at the food court at 6:15 p.m. to eat before a night class beginning at 7:00 p.m., and the food was almost all put away, although they were supposed to stay open until 7:00 p.m. Mr. People said that he would check into the problem.
G. This semester the bookstore had most of the required textbooks delivered to the Library on the first day of school. These books are for student use in the Library, not as a substitute for buying textbooks, but as a supplement. We may need to publicize this program to new faculty members who may not know about this service.
H. Mr. People expressed the need for faculty and University Services to work together to better serve the university community. His phone number is x5712, and welcomes communication from faculty to improve University Services.
III. Approval of the Minutes of September 16 Meeting
It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of the September 16, 2005 meeting. The minutes were approved.
IV. Report from the A&M System Council of Faculty Senates Meeting with the Chancellor – Friday
A. There was one representative from each Senate of the A&M system schools, except Kingsville. Friday brought up several issues to the Chancellor of the A&M System:
1. Salary compression – The Chancellor was interested in this issue, as he had been a victim of salary compression in the past. A Cost-of-Living increase (COLA) is forbidden by the Texas Legislature, but salary increases may be merit based. Friday suggested implementing stages within ranks, for example, Professor I, Professor II, Professor III, with reviews and raises, if deserved, every five years.
2. University Calendar – We teach an extra week due to the Higher Education Coordinating Board rules. The Chancellor had no comment regarding this issue.
3. Paid 12 week family leave – the Chancellor could not support this idea as he did not know what the cost of this might be.
4. Increasing the ORP (retirement) contribution from the employer – The Chancellor did not see any funding available for this.
5. Adding “applied experience” to reasons for taking a sabbatical - The Chancellor thought this was a worthwhile idea, and thought it might be valuable to expand its application to the tenure and promotion process as well.
B. West Texas A&M is experiencing a Presidential search, and there was much discussion about what the Chancellor sees as a great University President. Discussion centered around Dr. Gates, University President of TAMU, as faculty and administration are able to work well with him.
V. Committee Reports
A. Faculty Affairs Committee – Garcia
1. Action Item: Faculty Complaint Procedure (attachments)
Garcia reviewed the Complaint Procedure, which is not intended to be used for faculty problems covered elsewhere in the University/System rules. The Committee’s recommendations were:
1. Be more specific in point 1.3 of the Complaint Procedure, to clearly describe situations that the policy covers.
2. Change point 3.2.1(1) to read a person has 30 days from the date of the personal conference with the department chair. It had been 30 days from the incident or beginning of the problem.
3. Add to 3.2 the following statement: “Responses to the formal complaint at all levels should be given as soon as possible, within the 30-day period.”
It was moved and seconded to accept the recommendations. There was much discussion on many fronts. During the discussion, Senators had concerns about the different components of the policy. These concerns led the Chair of the Committee to withdraw the motion and take it back to the committee for further work.
B. Academic Affairs Committee – Waheed
The Committee has met and is still collecting information. The Committee is looking into medical incapacitation and plagiarism.
C. Awards/Bylaws/Election Committee – Buck
The Committee received a nomination for Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate Award, from the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience. The nominee was Chloe Yowell, a First Year Seminar leader. They are now accepting nominations for the Piper Award, which is for an outstanding University teacher in Texas. The call for nominations went out a few days ago, and the Committee will vote on the best applicant to put forth. The Committee then sends the application to Provost’s office, and it is sent in from there. Wooster and McClelland are previous Piper winners from our University.
D. Budget Committee – Friday
The Budget Committee has not met, but anticipates a meeting before the end of October.
E. Committee on Committees – Ledbetter
The Committee on Committees has not met, but has scheduled a meeting for October 19. Ledbetter has not been contacted about meeting on the smoking issue at this time.
VI. Provost’s Report
A. The interviews for the Sci-Tech dean search have been completed. There are two candidates they will look at more carefully, with a site visit to their home campus as a possibility. They would like to make the appointment in November, with the new dean coming on board in January, but it may not be possible for someone to start until June.
B. Hurricane drill for Rita. The Administration received 35 comments to a request for feedback regarding the hurricane preparations for Rita. Some of the comments were about the communication, for example, communication was good, but more updates on the help-line and the web-page were needed; the status of Wednesday night classes was unclear, made more difficult by the evacuation orders coming from state officials; another comment was that the campus should have opened up earlier to let people back in.
C. A task force has been set up to look at post-storm concerns, for example, “if we are out of operation for a week, a month, a semester, or a year.” The task force members are listed on the handout provided; no representative from Faculty Senate has been appointed, but they may add one. One member is Greg Garcia from the A&M System, to provide expertise in how the system could help us, if necessary. A suggestion was made to create a separate group to look at academic program issues, such as which programs can continue to function, which ones require more infrastructure before they can resume, etc. Another suggestion was to put someone from the city or from the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) on this task force. Ivy suggested that the Speaker of the Senate might be the appropriate person to appoint to this committee to represent the academic programs.
D. A&M-Corpus Christi will be hosting a Catastrophic Storm Conference, coordinated by Jim Needham, Dean of Outreach, and targeted for this spring. It will help us integrate planning with the community.
E. A handout explaining the implementation of the Momentum 2015 strategic plan was provided, and a publication explaining the strategic plan to those outside the University community was made available for Senators to take.
F. A&M-Corpus Christi has been asked by Karen Murray of the Public Health Department to serve as a point of distribution for inoculation of the population in an emergency such as an avian flu outbreak or a biological terrorist attack. Although the University may not be able to take care of many in the general population, it will be helpful if they inoculate 8,500 students and the 1,000 people who make up the University workforce. This is going through legal and other channels, as it will be a complex procedure.
VI. Speaker’s Report
A. Update on hiring administrative assistant
Christine Silliman was hired as of Monday, October 10, 2005.
B. Recap of New Faculty Orientation, September 30; future sessions (attachment)
Three students came to talk to 7 new faculty members in the session, “Focus on Students.” The next session is “Focus on Teaching,” scheduled for Friday, October 21, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. in the Dolphin Room (UC 306). Robb Jackson, winner of the University Excellence in Teaching Award and Katy Peeples, nominee from the College of Business for that award, will lead the discussion. “Focus on Research” is the final session for New Faculty Orientation, scheduled for Friday, November 18, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. in the Dolphin Room (UC 306).
C. Budget updates (attachments)
Senate budget documents are submitted to Senators for their information. Ivy explained that our operating account rolls over to the next year, and provides the Senate with some flexibility in funding.
D. Updates from Provost’s Council: IT Audit and Change in Mileage reimbursement
Ivy passed out a copy of the complete summary of the IT audit, provided by UTSA. Ivy remarked that one statement in the summary about a needed cultural shift was important to faculty, as we need to balance an open, learning environment with a secure data environment. Garcia is doing a similar study with his graduate students to assess the main assets of the university, without which we cannot provide service. Implications for faculty include the email system, and if maintenance will be an academic or an administrative budgetary cost, etc. Questions were raised about phasing out the use of Social Security Numbers, although there was no information about a timeline for this.
At 4:00 p.m., a motion was approved to extend the meeting.
Ivy asked what the next step would be in implementing some of the suggested changes in the IT audit. Harper explained that it has been distributed to the Combined President’s Council, the Senate, and the IT staff. Mr. Irby is addressing security issues. Mr. Lovitt is dealing with other organizational issues, for example, the Chief Information Officer and email. They are in various stages of implementation. Ivy suggested that Senators who have comments on this report send them to Ivy or Harper. When the IT Council meets Layman will represent Senate on the council, especially in talking about a cultural shift.
A handout was provided which detailed the change in mileage reimbursement for travel.
E. Suspension of TAMU-Kingsville Faculty Senate (attachment)
This topic elicited quite a bit of discussion, with comments from Friday, as a representative of the Faculty Senates of the A&M System, Harper, and Ivy. Handouts were provided with background information and articles from the press regarding the dissolution of the TAMU-Kingsville Faculty Senate. Senators agreed to read through the material, and Ivy will create a timeline of events and facts for Senators. The question of an A&M-Corpus Christi Faculty Senate response, if any, to this development, will be posed at the next Senate meeting.
VII. Other Business, Announcements/Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 4:45 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Sally Bickley, Secretary