Faculty Senate Minutes
September 21st, 2007

Senators present: Anderson, Bickley, Byus, Cammarata, Causgrove, Changchit, Elwood, Griffith, Hartlaub, Johnson, Lucero, Mortimer, Oliver, Reuter, Talley,
Ex officio: Kathy Winston
Guests: Kelli Addison, Eliot Chenaux

The meeting was called to order at 2:03 p.m. by Speaker M. Hartlaub

Approval of minutes - Talley motioned to approve the minutes. This was seconded by Oliver. The minutes were passed.

First Hartlaub introduced and welcomed new senator, Jennifer Anderson. She will be on ABE Committee.

Campus Campaign
Bickley spoke about the importance of everyone contributing to the Campus Campaign. The percentage for each college and library were reported. The University is at a participation rate of 30% right now. Payroll deduction can be used to make it easier to contribute. There were envelops available at the meeting for anyone that did not get one. Giving to the Foundation also will count toward the Campus Campaign. Kelli Addison also spoke about the importance and offered to answer any questions. A senator asked if in-kind gifts were included. Addison wasn’t sure but said she would check.

Guest Speakers
Eliot Chenaux and Angela Walker from Academic Student Affairs gave a presentation to the Faculty Senate. Chenaux indicated that weekly planners were given out to help students organize their work. Then he indicated that the current hot topics in student affairs are academic honesty/cheating and incidents like what occurred at Virginia Tech. There has already been a death on campus this fall and some other students were too over-whelmed to cope with campus life. This is the worst semester he has ever seen. Chenaux asked that faculty document when student incidents of inappropriate conduct occur in the classroom. Regarding academic dishonesty, there is a trend on campuses to move this to student affairs. This helps ensure the use of appropriate processes and procedures. Today’s students are less accepting of the outcomes (such as discipline) given by faculty. Student Affairs is trained to deal with these issues and works with an attorney. Student Affairs wants to remove the procedures from the academic units and instead work with Student Affairs. The new Provost will be involved in any future changes in these procedures. Faculty may recommend removal of a student from a program; however the student has “property rights” which may enable the student to press legal action. Often we may not have the evidence necessary to substantiate a charge of cheating. Student Affairs is trying to improve the process and provide for an appropriate appeals process. One senator pointed out that the faculty may be caught in the middle when our students are sent into schools to be around children. This could occur if a student has been drinking. However it may be very difficult for a faculty member to prove the student was drinking. These types of incidents are part of the code of conduct for students. Chenaux indicated that it is easier if reports have been made by multiple faculty members, because this can provide a clearer picture of the student’s past behavior problems. Cheating problems continue to be more complex as students use cell phones and computers. Dealing with psychologically troubled students is particularly problematic since we don’t have clear rules. We are working on creating these rules. Chenaux indicated that the College of Business has a code of conduct and incident report sheets providing an example that could be used. Chenaux provided a handout to senators to help faculty to deal with cheating. Walker interjected that it is important that all dishonesty reports be sent to Student Affairs so the repeat offenders can be identified. This will also help to increase penalties for repeat offenders. It is important to handle things consistently across the University. A senator asked, if we could call the Student Services office to see if there were prior incidents for a particular student. Walker replied that there is no centralized procedure to do this now, but we hope to be able to do this in the future. We don’t have a policy to deal with this yet. Chenaux would like to have faculty participation to create new processes and procedures to handle these issues.

Speaker Comments
Speaker Hartlaub suggested that if we want to get involved in this issue regarding the procedures for handling dishonesty cases, we can do that, but we should come back to this later. One senator indicated that some faculty members have already been working on this, but there are substantial disagreements.

Provost Search
Dr. Kirby is leaving next Monday and the new Provost is expected to start on Oct. 1st.

SS# attestation form update
Hartlaub met with Irby and Weber and they decided to meet later with the Provost and Lovitt. They wanted to hear what the Faculty Senate thinks about this issue. Hartlaub indicated they don’t seem to understand why the faculty members dislike the form. Hartlaub and Camarratta made a list of their concerns and then met with Kirby again. This issue is still not settled and needs further work.

60th Anniversary Faculty Event – Tuesday, Oct. 16th
The 60th Anniversary celebration kicked off yesterday. Events are planned between now and Homecoming. Hartlaub is on the planning committee. Oct. 16th is an event for faculty and there is a budget of $500. There will be food and drink and a presentation/celebration of the impact that faculty have on the community and in South Texas

Merit Pay Survey – Deans
We did the merit pay survey last year, now we have to decide what we going to do with it. We need to get feedback from the Deans on what they think of it and if they are doing anything different. The Liberal Arts Dean, Dr. Gigliotti instructed all of his Chairs to use the same formula. The other Deans will be interviewed to see what they are doing. Then there may be a next step for Faculty Senate.

Senate representation on the Calendar Committee
Usually the committee meets once a month. We don’t currently have a representative on that committee. We have had some impact in the past on the official calendar. Does anyone want to volunteer for that committee this year? Oliver said she is willing to be the representative this year.

The Faculty Senate currently does not have a Parliamentarian. We need a volunteer to guide our procedures. Is there a volunteer? Talley said she is willing to be the Parliamentarian this year.

International Faculty issue
Hartlaub is trying to go through the appropriate steps to put pressure on where it needs to be. We are asking for a staff position to handle the international faculty issues. This is currently in Lovitt’s office and it will be discussed with the new Provost.

Other issues
Faculty voted a few years ago to have signage on campus to indicate that firearms are not allowed on campus. This is in the University procedures and Hartlaub is pressing to get the signs posted.

Committee Reports
Academic Affairs Committee – Talley
This Committee is currently involved with faculty grade appeals and also with dishonesty issues.

Since there is no chair yet, there is no official report from that committee. However, it was noted that as the bylaws are currently written the clinical nurses cannot serve on the senate. This will be an issue for ABE to work on this year.

Committee on Committees – Johnson
Johnson indicated that they are checking to see if we are following all of the guidelines for membership on the committees and they are also checking on any current vacancies. They are also discussing how members are chosen for IRB.
Another issue they are working on is the representation on the Core Curriculum Committee. Hartlaub pointed out that this work on the Core Curriculum Committee should also be related to the work of the 120 hour committee.

Faculty Affairs – Oliver
Oliver reported that this committee has not met yet. If we change the tenure policy it will be inconsistent with the promotion policy and possibly others. We also may want to check with the new Provost to hear his views. We don’t have a clean copy to work with yet, but we will still work on this.

Budget Committee –
Waheed was not able to attend, but had indicated there is nothing new to report. The Committee will be working on the merit pay issue. The library has not yet been surveyed, but will be done after the survey is rewritten so that it is more appropriate for the library. It was also noted that Waheed wants to get a document on the health of the University.

Other issues
Social Security Numbers Attestation Form - Cammarata
Administrators are concerned because they have a mandate to get this form signed. Some faculty members are concerned that the university is trying to put their responsibility on to us. They want to make sure that the faculty members know what they are responsible for. Hartlaub is concerned that there has not really been preparation for the faculty as to what procedures they need to follow. Other problems include lack of keys to the file cabinets and inability to encrypt information. It was pointed out that the forms still have University IDs and that is as bad as having the SS#s. Elwood suggested that if we just had the last three digits it would provide the needed information without jeopardizing security. There is still the possible option of getting an attorney but we cannot use faculty funds. A senator suggested that we pass the hat to pay a lawyer if we need a lawyer. Hartlaub indicated we have not gotten to that point yet. Another senator said that we cannot follow FERPA rules yet either. Kirby and Lovitt indicated that they are not trying to make the faculty personally responsible, instead it is the University that is responsible. However the form does not seem consistent with their position. There is more training for faculty coming, but that is backwards, which is part of what is making faculty uncomfortable. The faculty could join TACT or we could check with TFA to use their lawyers. Cammerata suggested that a specialist could be hired by the University to go through all the computers, but the administrators were resistant to doing that indicating it was cost-prohibitive.

Proposed by Cammarata:
Faculty Senate recommends that a University-wide task force, including adequate faculty representation, develop university policy and procedures for handling sensitive information in a safe and efficient manner.
Seconded by Byus
The motion was discussed generally by the Senators. One issue discussed was if the motion restricted representation on the proposed task force to Faculty Senators. Also discussed was whether the faculty representation needed to include all colleges.

The vote by show of hands was:
For - 15 Opposed – 0

The 2007-2008 Faculty Senate Issues:
The issues from 2006-7 were first briefly described by Hartlaub as listed below:
• Transparent Budget
• Merit Pay Survey (started and still in process with speaker follow-up)
• Promotion and Tenure Faculty Research “leave”
P & T (Wheeless worked on it, not complete, Policy in Fac. Affs.)
Faculty Research “leave” in faculty handbook and supported by Chancellor
• Validity of Student Evaluations (in Academic Affairs)
• Workload – still questions about this

Then, the issues for this year were described. Senators were each given dots to place next to the issues they thought were most important. The issues and the votes for each issue are listed below:
• Evaluation of any administrator that touches the faculty (what would be the consequences)
Also evaluation of Deans and Directors
Feedback and eligibility for Research enhancement and transparency
11 votes
• Faculty Dining (for administrators and faculty)
2 votes
• Bookstore problems
And other support services
3 votes
• Smoke-free campus
4 votes
• COLA (Cost of living adjustment)
7 votes
• Salary compression for Assoc. Prof.
8 votes
• Continuing non-tenure track faculty ranks
10 votes
• HR – insurance changes
3 votes
• Recycling
4 votes
• Summer school money
3 votes
• Sabatical/research leaves
10 votes
• Connecting with the A & M System
0 votes
• Workload (nursing faculty)
1 vote
• Tuition for family members
9 votes
• Catalog copy (Undergraduate Curriculum Committee)
0 votes

Respectfully Submitted by Margaret Lucero