Present: Bantell, Bickley, Buck, Causgrove, Cook, Elwood, Fugate, Hartlaub, King, Lewis, Lucero, Murray, Oliver, Talley, Thomas, Waheeduzzaman, Wheeless, Wingfield, Winston, Yellen.
Absent: Johnson, Pohan, Reuter, Willman.
I. Approval of 9/15/06 minutes
Hartlaub called the meeting to order at 2:01 p.m. when a quorum of Senators was reached. It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes from September 15, 2006. The minutes were approved.
II. New Faculty Orientation Series
Faculty Senate is sponsoring this orientation series for new faculty with the Faculty Renaissance Center. Originally, the series’ components were “Teaching”, “Research”, and “Service”. Last year the “Service” component was changed to “Students”, and this year, a suggestion was made to change the final component of the series to “Engagement,” as this is a major goal of Momentum 2015. These sessions will take place as follows:
• Focus on Teaching, Friday, October 20, 1:00-2:00 p.m., Bay Hall Room 206
• Focus on Research, Friday, October 27, 1:00-2:00 p.m., Bay Hall Room 206
• Focus on Engagement, Friday, November 10th, 1:00-2:00 p.m., Bay Hall Room 206
III. Speaker Report
1. The “Doctoral Comprehensive” goal from Momentum 2015, which was Imperative #5, has been dropped. Wheeless explained that we are not de-emphasizing doctoral programs, but the “doctoral comprehensive” status was very prescriptive in the areas that doctoral programs should be developed. Dropping this imperative will allow TAMUCC to choose areas of emphasis for doctoral programs that make sense for our situation and community.
2. A representative from the Faculty for the Athletic Committee is currently being chosen. King asked what the qualifications for this representative might be, and if there is a term of service. Wheeless said there were no qualifications other than being faculty status, and they were looking for someone who could represent faculty issues on the committee. Wheeless explained that previously, there was no term, but that they would probably make this a 2-4 year commitment.
3. Texas Council of Faculty Senates will be meeting next weekend in Austin. Hartlaub and Cook will attend. As the TAMUCC Senate passed a resolution regarding Cost of Living (COLA) Increases for faculty, they will introduce that issue at the Council. They will present a report on this at the next Senate meeting.
IV. Committee Reports
Faculty Affairs Committee – Lucero gave the report for Yellen. The Committee will look into pay issues in relation to Momentum 2015. They have received the information on salary comparisons. They are not doing cost of living increases (COLA), and the Budget Committee is looking into the awarding of merit pay.
Awards, By-laws, and Elections Committee – Bickley reported that the committee is currently soliciting nominations for the Piper Award, which emphasizes teaching. The criteria is broad, with no limitations as to how long a teacher has been at the University, just that they are a well-rounded instructor who makes a difference in the lives of their students. All College Award Committees have been informed of this award process except for Sci-Tech. That committee is still being formed. The deadline for applications into the Senate office is 2:00 p.m., October 31. That will allow ABE Committee members to rank the nominees and send the suggested nominee to the Provost’s and President’s offices. The deadline to get the University’s nominee into the Piper Foundation is November 22.
Committee on Committees – Thomas reported successful assignment of faculty to various committees so far this year. Murray is working on the 12 month workload issue, Johnson and Thomas are working on graduate vs. undergraduate teaching workload issue, and Willman is working on librarian issues.
Academic Affairs Committee – Causgrove reported that the Committee is
working on several issues:
1. Cheating reports - The Committee is investigating if people actually follow the policy, and what happens to the reports after they are completed by faculty.
2. Grade appeal procedure – The Committee will be meeting with Dave Billeaux, the Assistant V.P. for Academic Affairs, and working on this issue.
3. Withdrawal and change of grades – Causgrove reported that the Academic Affairs Committee from last year requested that withdrawal and change of grades be moved from Student Affairs to Academic Affairs, but it was not approved by the administration. Wheeless explained that this issue of grade changes and medical withdrawal is in the hands of the academic staff, as the request to withdraw for medical reasons goes to the Dean’s Council. Causgrove said that the University Rule does not match the catalog, so they will be addressing that. A Senator asked if there is provision for communication back to the faculty member assigning the original grade. Hartlaub noted that a request for medical withdrawal due to incapacitation occurs about 3 to 4 times per year.
Budget Committee – Bantell reported for Waheeduzzaman. A survey was written and sent to Deans and Department Chairs, asking how they award merit pay. A meeting is scheduled next week to look at the results of that survey.
V. Revised Chair policy/New Assistant/Associate Dean policy
Hartlaub noted that changes were suggested for the Chair’s policy. The Assistant/Associate Deans policy is very similar. He asked if any recommendations Senate makes for the Chairs policy would also apply to the Assistant/Associate Deans policy? Senators agreed that those changes would apply to both. Hartlaub said that we would like to make a recommendation about these policies today.
Thomas summarized changes made since the last Senate meeting. Section 4 had the most changes, which are shown as comments. The sections changed are ones relating to performance evaluation and leave. With a 12 month appointment, Chairs accrue leave, but may take leave based on the University’s needs. Regarding compensation, the suggested changes allow Deans and Chairs more room to negotiate. If the faculty member leaves the chair position, any amount negotiated for the chair position is no longer granted.
Hartlaub asked if we need to specify a length of term, as some universities set a term length for chairs. With this policy, a term can be negotiated. Wheeless explained that administrative appointees serve at will, and can be removed. However, like the President and the Provost, they also have academic appointments, which cannot be revoked, if tenured.
Lucero applauded the flexibility in the policy, but questioned the last sentence in Section 6: Compensation, which states, “Once a faculty is no longer chair, salary will be renegotiated and can be no greater than other faculty in their respective College of same rank and qualifications,” as being restrictive. Thomas said the intent was to revert to base pay levels. Winston added that the language is similar to System policy, which requires this. After discussion, a suggestion was made to change the language to “…salary will be renegotiated and must be commensurate with the other faculty in their respective College of same rank and qualifications.”
Wingfield asked about a large part of faculty input in the appointment process being taken out. Thomas replied that Section 2.3 was redundant, and Section 2.2 provided for faculty input in the appointment process.
Elwood asked if there was a pool of money for Department Chairs to fund the stipend, or the negotiated salary. Thomas replied that Deans will have to find a way to fund the chairs’ salary, whether they are full professors or associate professors.
Bantell moved to approve the changes to the policy. The motion was seconded, and Lucero added the language for when a chair no longer serves, in Section 6, as a friendly amendment. The motion passed.
Talley asked about the Assistant/Associate Dean’s policy. Hartlaub responded that some Assistant/Associate Deans have teaching assignments, and some do not. However, the policy reads the same as the Chairs policy. He asked if the changes to the Chairs policy will fit with the Assistant/Associate Deans policy? He also asked if there was an objection from a current Assistant/Associate Dean to a 12 month appointment. King asked if someone no longer serves as Assistant/Associate Dean, do they go back to the Department they came from? The answer is yes, and the Department’s budget must make provision for this.
Thomas recommended the same changes to the Assistant/Associate Dean policy as were made to the Chairs policy. Thomas moved to accept the Assistant/Associate Deans policy as long as the language is the same as the Chairs policy. Oliver seconded the motion. Senators took 3 minutes to review the two policies to ensure that they said the same thing.
In the Evaluation section for Assistant/Associate Deans, the policy states they will be evaluated annually by the Dean and every 2 years by the faculty. Waheeduzzaman suggested removing the word, “Annual” from the Heading. It was brought up that the Assistant Dean in the College of Business deals only with students. Faculty members would not feel comfortable evaluating him. King raised a question regarding an external search for an Assistant/Associate Dean. If the Assistant/Associate Dean was hired for a college, but then no longer serves as Assistant/Associate Dean, he/she must return to a Department, then the Department should have more say in hiring such a person. Cook replied that although faculty have administrative positions, they also have line positions. In hiring, the department should have overrepresentation on the hiring committee.
Lucero suggested a change in Section 4.1 to “may be” evaluated on their administrative duties every 2 years, instead of “will be”. Other senators preferred to keep the “will” and then let faculty members opt out of an evaluation if it was not called for. Winston noted that we addressed this issue in another policy regarding the evaluation of administrators. She said that we had language that applied to this situation, where faculty members may not be able to fully evaluate an Assistant/Associate Dean because of their particular job duties. She will look for the language and send it to Senate.
Thomas accepted the friendly amendment regarding taking out “Annual” from the heading of Section 4 and ensuring the correct language that is in Chairs policy also applies to the Assistant/Associate Deans policy. Hartlaub called for a vote, and the motion passed.
VI. University Preparatory High School Program
Dean Hopkins and Provost Wheeless arranged for an informational meeting regarding the University Preparatory High School in Flour Bluff, on Friday, September 29. Hartlaub asked for comments about that meeting. Talley said that the problem was with the decision-making and the planning process. Hopkins said at the informational meeting that committees were being started to continue the planning process.
Hartlaub noted that the program is now here, and Senate can choose to make recommendations, or ask for ways to involve faculty. Thomas noted that the SciTech faculty who are involved in the Core Curriculum have a concern regarding younger students. Because students will be in their labs, they have legal obligations, and issues with safety and hazardous materials liabilities. They would like to be involved in planning and decision-making. Buck noted that in microbiology and nursing there are age/maturity issues. King noted that a goal of the project is to enhance students’ maturity.
A question was asked regarding the process of dealing with underage students. Faculty at another university were always notified if someone under 18 was in their class. The Office of Student Affairs also has concerns. There will be some students from this program on campus as early as next semester. There needs to be intensive involvement by faculty in order to avert problems. SciTech Senators said their faculty may move to preclude these students from their classes if their concerns are not addressed.
Lucero said that we may want to recommend a policy to deal with minors, having parents sign off, and informing faculty members. Winston says we may have a policy on minors in co-curricular programs. With lab safety, students are required to sign a legal document, and the question was raised if a 16 year old can legally sign this.
Talley mentioned other issues, for example, dual-credit. She would like to know more, and have input. Wheeless said other universities participate in similar programs, we should find out what they do, and come up with some best practices for dealing with under-age students.
Hartlaub said we have 2 issues, one is the legal responsibility, and the other is faculty involvement and planning. We will have students from the 9th grade attending recreational activity classes only, and then junior and seniors attending regular classes. The estimate is about 200 students per year will come to the university from this program.
King moved to discuss any current policy for dealing with underage students, and if there is not a policy, we should create one. The motion was seconded.
Hartlaub was reluctant to assign this topic to a committee. Elwood suggested an ad-hoc committee of interested Senators. Wheeless said she would find any policies that currently exist and forward them to the committee. Thomas suggested have the Executive Committee look at them. King withdrew his motion, and Lucero clarified procedure.
Wheeless said this was a good program, getting students in school who might not otherwise go. It also might serve to put in place some communication among Deans that other College faculty might need to hear.
Talley asked how students are being and will be chosen, and how they will be assigned to Learning Communities? Hartlaub moved that Faculty Senate draft a letter to Dean Hopkins asking for faculty input, especially for those teaching University Preparatory students, in the planning and future development of the program. The motion was seconded.
Cook noted that the letter was a good idea, but faculty is currently stretched to serve students we have now. Will the University Preparatory students add to that load? Pre-nursing students already have a difficult time getting into the science classes they need. A question was asked if there was a committee in place to plan for this. Wheeless said she didn’t know.
Hartlaub will add to the motion, that the purpose of the letter from Senate is to communicate to those in charge of the program about faculty concerns and that faculty be included in the planning and decision-making process. Waheed noted that we should see if it fits the university’s mission. Senate passed the motion.
VII. Revised Policies
15.99.99.C1.01 – Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee – This revision consists solely of a change in terms for the committee members, with current committee members agreeing to the change.
15.01.01.C1.01 – Administration of Research Enhancement Program – The major change in this policy is a change from the Office of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness to the Associate VP Research & Scholarly Activity. Also mention of the four colleges is taken out, since we now have more than four colleges.
14.01.01.C1 - Externally Funded Grants and Contracts - A substantive change is in Section 5.3.1. This provision prevents the situation that arises when faculty are working on a research grant and have teaching assignments, and cannot get the teaching assignments reduced. Any temporary salary supplement must be approved by the Provost ahead of time.
VIII. System Regulations -
31.03.06 – Military Leave and Service (supplement)
31.01.04 – Longevity and Hazardous Duty Pay (revision)
Changes in System regulation for Senators’ information.
IX. Provost’s Comments
Wheeless has been meeting with the Colleges and faculty, she has two more Colleges to meet with. She is listening for concerns and is becoming aware of the accomplishments of the faculty. She has toured all the University facilities, except for Classroom East and West, but she will be visiting those areas soon. She plans to finish those meetings in October, and invite the faculty to come together in November to begin a planning process.
The University’s certified enrollment is up 2.7% in headcount, but only 1% in dollars, possibly due to students taking less credit hours. Del Mar and Coastal Bend College are also seeing decreases. This is our base year for funding for the next two years. The Provost encouraged faculty to assist students in succeeding in their classes, referring them to the Tutoring and Learning Center to improve their skills if needed. We will have a shortfall, as we budgeted for a 3% increase. We will be short about $340,000. Deans and Vice-Presidents are currently deciding with what will be needed to meet this shortfall.
X. The good of the order
Dr. Chopin will be a guest at the next Senate meeting to discuss grant opportunities at the National Institutes of Health. She will discuss possibilities for writing grants in other areas, and Buck suggested Senators might invite other faculty to attend this portion of the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:47 p.m.
Submitted by Sally Bickley, Secretary