Faculty Senate Minutes
April 18, 2008

Attendance: Mary Bantell, Sally Bickley, Kent Byus, Kirk Cammarata, Tim Causgrove, Nikki Changchit, Sue Elwood, Mark Hartlaub, Randall Johnson, Scott Kink, Margaret Lucero, Ian MacDonald, Mary Kay Mortimer, Marvarene Oliver, Greg Reuter, Nancy Rogers, Sharon Talley, Kathy Winston, and Elaine Yellen

New Senators: Louis Katz, Karen Loveland, Ahmed Mahdy, Michael Moody, David Moury, Karen Paciotti, and Elizabeth Sefcik

Ex Officio: Provost Anantha Babbili, Kathy Winston, and Christine Silliman

The meeting was called to order at 2:04 p.m by Speaker Hartlaub

Minutes from the March meeting were approved by voice assent.

Action Items – Academic Affairs Committee (Talley)
Talley recommended that the policies listed on the agenda be postponed until David Billeaux is present at the meeting.

Informational Items (Hartlaub)
NCAA Tournament funds - Senators wanted to know what happened to the funds received from our participation in the NCAA Tournament. A detailed report was given to the Faculty Senate. Hartlaub indicated that the information available suggested that the money was used for travel. Hartlaub wants the Budget Committee to take this issue on next year.
Senate Budget Report – The by-laws require that the Speaker provide a year-end report to the Senate. A copy of this year’s Faculty Senate expenditures was provided to the Senators. He indicated that this year we sent two individuals to the twice a year state-wide meetings. Hartlaub discussed how the available money was spent and indicated that we usually do not spend all of the money.

Speaker Report (Hartlaub)
We should express our displeasure that the Dean’s were not evaluated this year. Some were evaluated last year. Previously, half of the Dean’s were evaluated each year. The evaluations seem to be generally inconsistent within and across Colleges. Orser has indicated that it is not his job to conduct the evaluations. Kathy Winston indicated that she thought that it was not scheduled soon enough this year to be conducted. Apparently Orser was not asked to schedule them. Winston said that we used to do it during faculty meetings but the results were not in as much detail. It is unclear exactly where the evaluations should originate. One senator indicated that this should originate from the Provost’s Office. It is important and Hartlaub said that it needs to be further discussed this summer. Babbili suggested that we look at IDEA software to see if that can be used to evaluate the Deans. It seems to provide balanced and fair results which are also kept anonymous. Babbili would consider it if it is affordable. Hartlaub will also talk with Orser about it. One senator asked if Orser is going to continue to do the evaluations of the Chairs. Kathy Winston indicated that Orser wanted to get out of doing all of these assessments. This issue will have to resolved later.

Hartlaub thanked everyone for all of their hard work. When we came up with a list of topics, we resolved the top three on the list. We were not able to resolve the pay compression issue, but that is a very difficult problem nation-wide. We were able to get assessments in place for some administrators. Some of the problems expressed regarding Cheneux and his office were worked on with a resulting new policy. Some of the problems with International Faculty were also worked on this year. Faculty development leaves will be going forward and that is a major accomplishment for the year. We are still working on the T&P policy and that means we have started an important dialogue on this issue.

Subcommittees:
Academic Affairs (Talley) –
Degree proposal on B.S. in Mechanical Engineering – The committee has had a meeting to improve their understanding of the proposal. This is a first step to start a School of Engineering on campus. There are pledges of two million dollars to support the proposed B.S. degree. It would also work complementarily with the Engineering Science Degree. It should be pointed out that our student population is different than other programs in the state.
Talley moved to approve the proposal and this was seconded by Byus. The proposal was passed by voice assent.
TWU/TAMUCC Ph.D. in Nursing – The proposed Ph.D. in Nursing would be a collaborative program with Texas Women’s University. The degree would be offered through TWU, but it is expected that course will also be offered here live and through TWU videoconference. This will also prepare some of our current faculty members with the opportunity to attain the Ph.D. while staying here.
This proposal has already been approved by the Graduate Council.
Talley moved to approve the proposal and Bantell seconded it. The proposal was passed by voice assent.
A year-end report was provided to the Senators. Talley thanked the committee members and noted that they had a very heavy workload this year.

ABE (Hartlaub)
Change in the Senate By-laws – The ABE committee recommended changes to the By-laws that better represents how we are already filling positions on the Executive Committee.
Hartlaub moved that we accept the proposed changes to the By-laws and this was seconded by Bickley. The proposed changes was passed by voice assent.
A year-end report was provided to the Senators. Although there was no official chair of the committee it functioned largely based upon the schedule laid out previously by Sally Bickley.

Committee on Committees (Johnson)
A list was provided of the positions that had been filled. There are still openings which will need to be filled. The committee is still waiting for recommendations from the Deans, before the remaining positions can be filled. Johnson thanked his committee members for their work this year.
A year-end report was provided to the Senators.

Faculty Affairs (Oliver)
Criminal Background Checks Policy – The proposed changes to The Criminal Background checks policies were attached to the Senator’s packet. The committee is just providing this as information and there is no action required yet. A concern has been expressed that in situations where an individual is promoted but has not yet had a background check done, it will then be required to be performed.
Tenure and Promotion policy – A rough draft of changes has been completed by the committee. The Provost and Deans have seen it and we will get it back for more work next year.
The appraisal instrument for Knull was completed this year and will be put in implemented in the future.

Budget (Waheed not present, Bantell gave the report)
Movement toward developing the Faculty Development Leave procedures and forming the committee to oversee and recommend the Leaves was their primary accomplishment this year. The new committee has met for the first time and hopes to recommend one leave for each college for the first round of Faculty Development Leaves. An equal distribution of leaves across Colleges may or may not be the way it is done in the future. A continuing issue will be how to divide up the leaves between the five Colleges since the Colleges do not have the same number of faculty. Another concern is that some Chairs may refuse to allow people to go on leave by indicating that a specific person is indispensable.

Provost Comments – Dr. Babbili
Dr. Babbili applauded Mark’s leadership. We had some tense issues when Babbili first got here. He was pleased that we could overcome barriers and hopes to continue to communicate with the Faculty Senate on important issues. The
Mechanical Engineering and Nursing proposals are going forward. There has been a lot of support from state legislators and there will be a major push from South Texas legislators to create an Engineering School. He also applauded Kathy Winston and expressed how thankful he has been to have her help. The next two years SACS will be dominant issue. 2010 is when the visit from the SACS people will occur. He also talked briefly about the proposed mission statement. We agreed last meeting that we would have a gathering after our last Senate meeting, but it did not come together. He still wants to do something to show his support and gratitude for the Faculty Senate. A Closing the Gaps meeting is planned with Del Mar. In the future there will be a joint admission process and a new matriculation policy to make entry seamless for students.

Hartlaub indicated that part of the reason for our success this year is due to the support of Dr. Babbili. Hartlaub also indicated the importance of the Faculty Senate receiving issues early rather than at the last minute.

Action Items Reintroduced:
Grade Appeals Policy (Action item) Talley
This policy has been revised to bring our policy in line with our current practices. It attempts to reduce the number of frivolous appeals.
Talley proposed that we approve the revised policy and Scott seconded it.
It was passed by voice assent.

Academic Misconduct new policy (action item) Talley,
Billeaux was present to discuss the new policy. Due to SACS accreditation we can no longer handle these issues under the Grade Appeal Policy as has been done in the past. Billeaux indicated that previous cases had been handled as grade appeals. However, a student going through this process got a lawyer and it was then realized that the grade appeals process was not the best way to handle this type of issue. Billeaux has been trying to work with Student Affairs and the faculty on this issue. The new policy will provide a primary role for faculty in controlling the cases while Student Affairs houses the cases and records, etc. Talley moved that we approve the new policy and Byus seconded it.
A senator asked if there any training provided to prevent these cases. Billeaux agreed that we may need to provide more training, but it is beyond the scope of the policy. He indicated that he poled that more aggressive work will be done to prevent these types of cases. If the Faculty Senate wants to look at this issue further, Billeaux indicated that he would be happy to work with us on it. We also need to have campus conversations with faculty on how to prevent academic dishonesty. Hartlaub indicated that he thinks it would be a good idea for us to work on this further. The FRC has had some conversations addressing this. It was asked how information on this new policy will be disseminated. Billeaux indicated that it should be discussed at the Fall Faculty Meeting. One of the concerns discussed, was that there is not much involvement by the Department Chairs and Deans. Billeaux indicated that since these cases previously went to Student Affairs we tried to model the policy based upon this. It is also similar to the Grade Appeal Policy. He polled the Chairs on this issue and about half of them indicated they wanted to be involved and half did not want to be involved. We could put them in the chain by having the Chair sign off on it before it goes to Student Affairs. That would give them a chance to intervene if they wanted to, but would not require that the do more than sign the form.
Bantell proposed an amendment to the policy so that the chair receives the incident report and is asked to provide a signature of acknowledgement before the report goes forward, however lack of a signature will not stop the process. Mortimer seconded this amendment.
The vote on the amendment was:
For – 4 Opposed – 14
The vote on the policy was as follows:
For – 18 Opposed – 0
The proposal passed

Library Merit Pay - The Library was not surveyed because the questions used for the College were not appropriate for the Library. Hartlaub sent Chris Shupala the Merit Pay survey, but she indicated that she has not had a chance to go through it. Hartlaub is going to follow up on this.

Mission Statement - The proposed mission statement was sent out to all faculty and a small, mixed response was received.

A motion was passed to extend the meeting

Some individuals indicated that they did not feel this was much of a values statement. Hartlaub checked with knowledgeable faculty and they indicated that it is reasonable for a mission statement. A guest at the meeting indicated that he felt that the “Hispanic-serving Institution” designation disenfranchised others. The Provost indicated that he inherited this issue. There was a feeling coming out of the Momentum 2015 that we had moved beyond the old mission statement. The Provost’s Council approved it and it is going to Student Government. The reason that the Hispanic-serving Institution is in there is because this is a federal designation. The distinction opens us up for federal grants for example. Other individuals indicated various negative comments about the new statement. One senator asked if the designation in the mission statement was necessary for us to obtain federal funding for HSIs. No, the Provost indicated that it acknowledges that we own this designation. A senator asked if there is an urgency to have this approved. The Provost indicated that it is important to have the Mission Statement in place at least two years before the SACS visit. It was asked if the current mission statement provided specific things that are needed for the SACS visit. Hartlaub indicated that we can endorse it, not endorse it, or wait until next year to deal with it.
Johnson proposed that we take a vote on postponing this discussion and King seconded it.
The senators voted to table further discussion on this issue.

Hartlaub gave certificates to the out-going Senators.

The out-going Senators left and the new senators were invited into the inner circle.

The new senators introduced themselves.

Election of officers proceeded:
One nomination for Speaker – Margaret Lucero was approved by voice assent
No nominations for Deputy Speaker – Sharon Talley was nominated from the floor and approved by voice assent
No nominations for Secretary – Volunteer Karen Loveland volunteered and was approved by voice assent

Creation of Senate Committees:
Senators were invited to sign up for the subcommittee of their choice.
Chairs were selected as well as the Executive Committee members

A retreat was planned for the last Friday before the week that classes were to begin in the Fall semester.

The meeting was adjourned 4:59 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Margaret Lucero