In attendance: Senators Bantell, Byus, Cammarata, Causgrove, Changchit, Elwook, Griffith, Hartlaub, Johnson, Kink, Lewis, Lucero, Mortimer, Oliver, Reuter, Talley, Waheeduzzaman, Yellen, and ex officio Kathy Winston and Robert Kirby
Speaker Mark Hartlaub presiding, meeting called to order at 2:20 p.m.
Each senator introduced themselves in order to welcome the new Senators.
Talley moved that the minutes from the 4/20/07 meeting be passed as read, King seconded and the motion passed.
Speaker’s Report – Hartlaub
• Provost search update – The intention of the search committee was to conduct an airport interview of the top eight candidates. However, only seven were able to meet within the required schedule. After Candidate King withdrew from the offered Provost position, the eighth candidate _______ was contacted and interviewed. He recently completed his campus visit. The search committee made there recommendation to President Killebrew. Making an offer to the candidate is the President’s decision and news should be forthcoming.
• International faculty – TAMU visit (8/9/07) – Speaker Hartlaub met with the Director of International Faculty for Texas A & M – College Station. Since we now have 39 international faculty members, Hartlaub sought information on how our University can do a better job of helping these faculty members. There have been numerous complaints from international faculty, indicating that their transition to the University and travel in and out of the country has been unnecessarily difficult. We may need to study these complaints more systematically so that we can determine the reasons for the problems and perhaps improve our University support for international faculty. Reuter suggested that Sam Ramirez from HR should be contacted and involved in this issue. One international faculty member shared his personal story to indicate where University support services have been inadequate. Hartlaub was asked if the TAMU Director was helpful. Hartlaub responded that the Director was less hopeful than he had hoped. Hartlaub indicated that his preference was for Debra Cortinas and HR more generally; act as better advocates for the international faculty. Mortimer suggested that we send it to committee to review the recent records of international faculty to improve our understanding of the problems. Hartlaub indicated that he would meet with Sam Ramirez and possibly other administrators to discuss this issue. Waheed suggested that the creation of an international office be investigated. Changchit suggested that we establish an evaluation system in which faculty could evaluate staff that deal with important faculty services. Noting the many suggestions, Hartlaub confirmed that we as a faculty senate should continue to address this issue in the coming year.
• Visit with the Chancellor – TAMU system faculty senate (8/9/07) – Faculty Senators were invited to meet with the Chancellor while he was on our campus. Those that were able to attend shared their perceptions of this meeting. One of the most important issues raised with the Chancellor involved future sabbaticals. He responded that he was supportive of a “Developmental Leave Policy” rather than sabbaticals. This could involve either half or full funding for a couple of people to reward strong scholars. Further discussion by the senators pointed out that only two leaves per year was not substantial for a University this size. However, at this point it appears there is no money available for developmental leaves.
• Student retention – Recent statistics were provided to the faculty senate regarding our rank order in the state on graduation rates and one year persistence. Since it costs the University a lot to recruit students, poor retention rates can adversely impact us. Dr. Kirby indicated that our retention rate decreased in the last four years. President Killebrew is going to give this issue to the new provost with that these numbers will be improved in the future. This will be a major University effort. Bantell pointed out that retention and persistence rates fro Hispanic/Latino students was lower than the other demographic groups in the report.
• Cheating – Dr. Chenaux wants to talk about the cheating issue with the Faculty Senate at the September meeting. He is hoping that reports of cheating can be handled more systematically.
• Evaluation of chairs, deans and provost – The Faculty Senate voted last year to keep the procedures in place as they were. This issue will also be given to the new provost. It was suggested that the faculty would also like more follow-up information after deans are evaluated. Dr. Kirby suggested that all deans should be evaluated the same year rather than evaluating only part of the deans each year, as has been done in the past. He also noted that he liked the tool that Dr. Orser used for this purpose.
• Faculty Affairs Committee – Chairperson Oliver stated that she is soliciting comments on Policy 12.01.99.C2 before the next meeting.
• ABE Committee – Hartlaub indicated that this committee no longer has a chair and no additional report was given.
• Committee on Committees – Chairperson Johnson reported that the CoC is working on the core curriculum committee and has been receiving emails providing ideas and recommending people to serve as members of the committee. Dr. Kirby suggested that the representation of various departments and colleges on the committee is particularly important and should be carefully determined before proceeding. As a preliminary plan two members from each college were placed on the committee. In addition the 120-hour committee worked during the summer and will be making its recommendations. The system will be asking for a report from each school so that comparisons can be made on their progress. This will give us a better idea about how well we have done in reducing programs to 120 hours. The Make-up of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) is also a concern since in the past it seemed as if not all of the members on that committee were involved or interested in research.
• Academic Affairs Committee – Chairperson Talley reported that the core curriculum issues was moved to the Committee on Committees.
• Budget Committee – Chairperson Waheed reported that as a result of last year’s merit pay survey, money for raises was applied more consistently across University units. A study on merit pay in the Library still needs to be conducted.
• This is a new issue regarding the requirement of faculty to sign a form regarding their handling of student social security numbers. It was reported that many faculty in the Science and Technology College are very disturbed about the wording of this form and requirement of all faculty to sign it. There was a general discussion of this issue. Cammarrata put forth the following motion,
The Faculty Senate is requesting that there be a delay in signing the security form as it now exists until the agreement has been reviewed by a lawyer independent from the University, for implications to the faculty.
A motion was made to extend the meeting at 4:00 p.m. The meeting was extended.
The discussion of the motion continued along with some suggested alternatives. A key point was that the faculty and staff are overly burdened as many records may need to be purged. The motion was passed with a vote of 12 For and 2 Against. Hartlaub indicated that he would take the Faculty Senate’s concerns to the administration.
Issues generated at the Faculty Senate retreat (6/22/07)
A number of new issues were added to the list previously generated at the Faculty Senate retreat. Hartlaub indicated that we will vote on the new issues at the next meeting to determine which ones will receive attention during the year.
Provost Report – Interim Provost Kirby
Dr. Kirby encouraged the Faculty Senate to be proactive and continue to press for faculty concerns. He also wished the Faculty Senate well.
Meeting Adjourned 4:25 p.m.
Submitted by Margaret Lucero, Secretary