Faculty Senate Minutes
January 19, 2007

Present: Bantell, Buck, Causgrove, Cook, Elwood, Hartlaub, Johnson, King, Lucero, Murray, Oliver, Pohan, Reuter, Talley, Thomas, Waheeduzzaman, Wheeless, Wingfield, Winston, Yellen.

Absent: Bickley, Fugate, Lewis.

I. Approval of 11/10/06 minutes
It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of the November 10 Senate meeting. The minutes were approved as written.

II. Speaker Comments – M. Hartlaub
1. An email from Principal James Crenshaw was distributed to Senators re: the University Prep Steering Committee. There is at least one faculty representative from each college on the committee. Senators should direct concerns from their constituents directly to those committee members.
2. It was discussed last year whether or not to have the Provost attend the Senate meetings. Hartlaub prefers to have the Provost present but feels there is merit in further discussion. At the Texas Council of Faculty Senates meeting in October, there was a conversation which showed that some Senates have their Provosts in attendance and some absolutely would not. Dr. Wheeless will excuse herself for the last 15 minutes of February’s meeting so we can discuss the issue.
3. The Senate will create an ad hoc committee for finals. Do we really need 2½ hour blocks, or would 2 hours be sufficient? There were problems with last fall semester’s Friday night exams (people were locked out, campus police were not notified of exams being held). Johnson asked if we would also consider Reading Day. The committee will also consider senior grades being turned in early. Committee volunteers are: Talley, Johnson, King and Hartlaub.
4. Hartlaub asked whether the Faculty Senate should have a discussion re: proposed expansion to Oso Golf Course. Bantell suggested that we keep a running list of faculty input to present to President Killebrew at the end of the semester (she’d been approached by three faculty members already who seem to want input). King felt that there is too much speculation at this point and that the project is too long-range for the Senate to be involved with at this point. Thomas disagreed and suggested that we get in on the planning as soon as possible. Waheed suggested we get concrete information before getting involved- the faculty has a responsibility to be part of the process, but we need to be fully informed first. Hartlaub said this will be a discussion item for our next meeting. Wheeless said that the President planned to inform the faculty of the expansion plans at the January 5 Convocation, but it was moved back to January 12. The proposal was then leaked to the press and the faculty was not able to be informed first. Wheeless reminded the Senators that there is a commitment to keep the academic core on the island.

III. Committee Reports/Actions

1. Faculty Affairs – Yellen
Yellen reviewed Policy 12.99.99.C2.02 Full-Time Non-Tenure Track Faculty Positions. Section 2.5 will be deleted and the “Suggestion” section will not be included. Major debate surrounded the Instructor portion (specifically, the 15 hour teaching requirement). Talley noted that with the instructor position requiring 15 hours, it may be difficult to recruit quality instructors. Lengthy discussion followed, debating the 15 hour issue. Talley moved to send the Policy back to committee. Reuter seconded. The vote was 9 for, 8 against, with 1 abstention. Discussion continued with the possibility of a change in language. The policy was eventually passed with no changes.

2. Awards/Bylaws/Elections – King
The awards information is going to the college committees and the ABE Committee is looking forward to good candidates. They are also looking at Speaker term limits, including requiring the Speaker to be a voting Senate member.

3. Committee on Committees – Thomas
Thomas asked if the Senate wants a uniform workload document. She stated that it would probably be a two year project. Pohan stated that P&T policy should read that workload and other duties within colleges should be taken into consideration because colleges are so different re: service emphasis, etc. Elwood said that policies are written but not followed re: how faculty will be evaluated each year and that policies need to be reviewed, emphasized and followed. Thomas said that there is no set pattern re: workload. She asked what should be done next and stated that our university is not alone in this.
The Committee on Committees asked education, nurses and librarians to come up with workload issues (they each have specific issues). The committee is stuck without more direction. Nursing: Karen Murray did research on 12-month contracts. No precedent anywhere- it’s a dead issue. Library: Issues- faculty status, pay, status. Rebekah met with them to discuss their issues and to put the ball in their court. They are working on them.
Thomas moved to pass Policy 15.01.01.C1 Externally Funded Grants and Contracts. Buck seconded. The concerns (overload pay) the Faculty Senate had were dealt with at the Provost Council level. Thomas explained that the policy is faculty friendly and better worded. The motion passed.

4. Academic Affairs – Causgrove
Causgrove moved to pass the changes in the Family Nurse Practitioner Curriculum (there were no new changes since last month’s meeting). Bantell seconded. The motion passed.

5. Budget – Waheeduzzaman
The budget survey is almost completed. The Budget Committee’s next meeting is January 29 and the report should be ready for the meeting. The report will be available for the February Faculty Senate meeting, but there will be nothing to vote on.

IV. Other Issues

1. Background Checks for Faculty
The Provost has requested that we discuss this at our next meeting. Please ask your constituents about their thoughts on this issue. A discussion took place which brought up the following issues: Who will do the background checks? To what end? What would the timeline be? Why are we discussing this now? What will be done with this information? Wheeless pointed out that this would be for new hires only and that it has become a national issue.

2. Retention
This has been discussed at the Provost’s Council. Hartlaub suggests that the Faculty Senate may be able to get involved at some point and asks the Senators to please think about it. Yellen mentioned that the Graduate Council is also looking at this issue.

V. Provost’s Comments

1. Our system does not require mid-terms, but they may assist in retention. If a student has a significant grade at mid-term, we may be more likely to retain the student.
2. Faculty should be involved in the withdrawal process, perhaps even requiring the faculty member’s permission to withdraw. Students may be dropping classes for the wrong reasons (they may be under the wrong impression re: a low grade, etc.).
3. It may be a good idea to institute an early alert process: if a student comes to class on the first day and then does not come back, Enrollment Management will try to locate that student.
4. There will be no more faculty convocations on Friday. They will take place on the first Mondays from now on.
5. The Provost called for a straw vote among the Senators, asking who would prefer to turn seniors’ grades in early (keeping it the way it is now) and who would like to be able to turn all grades in at the same time. The majority wanted to be able to turn in all grades at the same time. If all grades are turned in together, graduation would change slightly. If a student is eligible to apply (if they’re taking classes in order to graduate that semester), they will be able to walk at graduation. It is often a momentous occasion for the student and family, so even if they don’t quite finish a class they should be able to walk. This may also give them incentive to finish when they otherwise might not.
6. Wheeless met with the Calendar Committee. Is starting classes on Wednesday giving us more school time? The Provost is asking the committee to meet and work on the schedule with student/faculty convenience in mind.

7. The deans have asked that the Academy Speaks program on April 17 (held in the library) be used for all awards. There will also be a Librarian award this year.

8. The Provost asked that we watch the newspapers as there is talk that there will be no money for a tuition revenue bond. She encouraged everyone, if we see fit, to act/speak out individually about this issue. Wheeless emphasized that in no way are we to use our affiliation with the university in taking action.

VI. The good of the order
Nothing was discussed under this agenda item.

VII. Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 3:59 p.m.

Submitted by Christine Silliman, Assistant to the Faculty Senate