Minutes of the Faculty Senate
November 21, 2008

Attendance: Jennifer Anderson, Mary Bantell, Bilaye Benibo, Kent Byus, Niki Changchit, Bryant Griffith, Mark Hartlaub, Louis Katz, Karen Loveland, Margaret Lucero, Ian MacDonald, Ahmed Mahdy, Michael Moody, Mary Kay Mortimer, David Moury, Marvarene Oliver; Mark Pfeifer; Nancy Rogers, Elizabeth Sefcik, Sharon Talley

Ex Officio: Provost Anantha Babbili, Robert Nelsen, Christine Silliman

Guests: Andrew Piker, Cindy Hanson; Richard Shepperd

1. Speaker Lucero called the meeting to order at 4:01 PM.

2. The minutes of the October 17, 2008 Faculty Senate meeting were approved as corrected (by voice assent).

3. Speaker’s Report
3.1. Texas Council of Faculty Senates Report (attachment)
3.1.1. Bill in legislature to require schools to accept any designated core courses transferred from elsewhere.
3.1.2. AAUP red book now available in the Senate office.
3.1.3. THECB – two year colleges…push to move students to four-year colleges.
3.1.4. System meeting – copy of questionnaire in packet. Pilot testing will take place at Kingsville, Prairie View and Tarleton. College Station is using an alternative system. Less than one-third of the TAMU faculty opted to participate. Lucero pushed to have resolution passed to let institutions create their own system. She reported that she doesn’t think the TCFS chair will forward the resolution. A senator asked if we are required to use the form or we would be left out of the money. Lucero said this was the Chancellor’s view. A senator asked if we could copy the College Station system. The Provost didn’t believe it would work because the system was too complex for our students. He suggested we adopt a wait and see stance.
3.2. System Teaching Evaluation Update – circulated a copy of the final evaluation form developed by the system office (attachment).
3.3. High School Students on campus Update – Lucero reported on the meeting with Duffy and Nelsen. Some faculty members were added to the advisory council for the Flour Bluff program. Faculty were asked to contact the Dean of Education (Guffey) regarding problems/concerns with FB students. The university is putting together a new committee to address issues related to other high school students attending TAMUCC. Provost Babbili commented that high school programs are necessary for first-generation college students. Gates Foundation is putting a lot of money in scholarships to support such programs. If HS students are exposed to college they are more likely to view it positively and pursue it in the future. A senator commented that it is critical that these students have a good experience and there should have been more planning and consultation with faculty to address concerns and issues. Nelsen commented that both committees will address training and other issues but that the original committee would focus specifically on the FB program. A senator asked about the IB program…Nelsen commented that discussions are underway regarding the structure of that program.
3.4. Core Curriculum voting issue (attachment) – Carlos Huerta requested that senate vote to allow the library representative to the Core Curriculum committee to have voting privileges. A senator expressed concerns about the library representative having tie breaker power and the dilution of the Liberal Arts voice despite the amount of core courses taught by Liberal Arts. A senator requested reason for request and another asked what input the library had to offer. Babbili commented that at most institutions, librarians have faculty status…but not at TAMUCC. Lucero called for the vote by a show of hands. The motion passed (19 for, 0 against, 0 abstentions).
3.5. Athletics Program – Lucero is now attending the Intercollegiate Athletics Council committee meetings as an invited guest. The lines of communication are now open and the committee is providing more information for faculty.
3.6. MGT on campus – the MGT consulting group will be on campus Dec. 10-12 to evaluate what new academic programs we should offer and how we should structure those programs. No meetings with faculty so make sure you share opinions/concerns with deans and chairs. Nelsen commented that the coordinating board has changed its standards; program review and development used to be based on quality but is now based on student demand. MGT is doing a gap survey to identify industry needs not being met.
3.7. Provost’s Council report – the council discussed the following:
3.7.1. The council watched a security video (physical security not information security). The chief of police wants everyone to watch this video that shows faculty how to respond to campus shootings.
3.7.2. “QEP” now named “First Year Islanders” (FYI).
3.7.3. System loss of $800 million (loss of investment interest).
3.8. Faculty Development Leave – application deadline Dec. 1 at 5:00, please share this information with your colleges.
4. Midterms proposal – Robert Nelsen (moved up)
4.1. Retention task force
4.1.1. One recommendation was to have an add/drop form that requires faculty signature. Issues came up related to faculty load and more and the issue was dropped.
4.1.2. The provost’s advisors suggested providing midterm grades.
4.1.2.1. Some studies show positive benefits, some show negative impacts (it’s too late at that point). The task forced discussed the value of midterm grade reports for athletes and the positive impact on student athlete performance.
4.1.2.2. The task force also discussed whether the reports should be used for all students or just those with a low grade. They proposed that all students would be more equitable.
4.1.2.3. Babbili commented that the tutoring center reported that many student who dropped a course were actually passing when they thought they were failing; that they were afraid to approach the faculty. Midterm grades also help students plan and helps the tutoring center work with them to ensure success.
4.1.2.4. Midterm grades would be available on SAIL.
4.1.2.5. A senator asked if midterm grades would be required for all students; Nelsen said undergraduates only and reported that 28% of freshmen are on probation after the first year.
4.1.2.6. A senator expressed concern about classes that mostly contain semester long projects.
4.1.2.7. Another senator suggested a pass/fail option; Nelsen accepted that option as a friendly amendment.
4.1.2.8. Several senators expressed concern that students would view midterm grades as a guarantee of a final grade. Nelsen clarified that midterm grades could not be used in a grade appeal. A senator commented that we have a “sensitive” population that may be afraid to approach professors. From QEP perspective, if the proposal helps retain only one student it is worthwhile.
4.1.2.9. Nelsen requested a vote of support. Lucero requested vote by show or hands. The motion passed (16 for, 2 against, 1 abstention).
4.2. Six drop legislation – allows students to drop no more than six classes across their academic career. Questions were raised about implementation. Nelsen said that the third drop would trigger an email reminder about the rule, the fourth drop would result in a mandatory meeting, and the sixth drop would result in another mandatory meeting. Implementation begins in spring 2000, undergraduate students only. QEP committee is working to identify heavy drop courses to provide more tutoring assistance. A senator suggested working on wording to enhance clarity. Another senator expressed concerns about special circumstances. Faculty asked to provide suggestions to Billeaux.
5. Richard Shepperd – Employee benefits presentation – At the most recent meeting of the System Employee Benefits Advisory Committee, the committee discussed flyers for two new types of optional benefits: Critical Illness Insurance and Cancer insurance. The committee requested input on new benefits we would like to have available at the system level.
6. On-going Security concerns – Lucero stated that this is not the meeting to exhaustively discuss this issue. Babbili provided background the prompted the issue. Most recent issue happened when student Googled his/her social security number on course roster. While cleaning up the Web servers, another student reported a social security number on the Web. By this time, IT had found significant amounts of sensitive data on Web servers. Registrar is ultimately responsible for security breaches and discovered we didn’t have any resources to assist faculty in identifying sensitive information. The university has identified ways of scanning and cleaning systems of sensitive information. The Friday deadline was used to create a sense of urgency. Senators offered suggestions and comments: more communication, more proactive, more good practices training, request to rescind the faculty letter. Babbili suggested letter to CFP and Provost, with copy to President with recommendations for improving process.
7. Open comments regarding the current budget issues and travel – Senate has already started receiving letters from faculty concerned about the possible loss of travel funds, especially the potential elimination of international travel. A senator expressed concern about justification (benefit to students and tax payers) even when travel funded by external grant. Senators requested more information about reasons for issue and a rationale for singling out international travel. Babbili reiterated that this is a requirement set by the Chancellor and that he is going to require justification for all travel requests. He is requiring a paragraph with all travel requests justifying the benefits to the institution, students and taxpayers. A senator suggested development of a scoring rubric to help us evaluate travel requests.
8. Committees
8.1. Academic Affairs Committee – Mark Hartlaub
8.1.1. At last meeting, AAC said it would have a survey related to course compensation and workload equality at this meeting…will be postponed until the next meeting.
8.1.2. Philosophy degree proposal (attachments) – Hartlaub moved we accept…Talley moved to extend debated, Hartlaub seconded…Talley seconded original motion. Hartlaub mentioned no new faculty lines attached to proposal. Voted by show of hands. The motion to approve the Philosophy degree passed (19 for, 0 against, 0 abstentions).
8.2. ABE Committee – Jennifer Anderson
8.2.1. Update on awards – made recommendation to provost for a Piper Award candidate.
8.2.2. The committee will post minutes on the Senate Web site.
8.2.3. Update on technology issue – …see handout about meeting with Erby.
8.3. Committee on Committees – Nancy Rogers
8.3.1. Survey – requesting input on survey designed by committee to investigate support services that influence faculty. Senators suggested addition of food services, and career services. Please provide feedback to Nancy by Dec. 1. The committee will send the survey to faculty early next semester.
8.4. Faculty Affairs Committee – Marvarene Oliver
8.4.1. Revision of Required Employee Training – action item (attachment) – Oliver move that we accept this policy revision, MacDonald seconded. Motion passed by a show of hands (18 for, 0 against, 1 abstention).
8.4.2. Policies – first reading (attachments) – have already been approved by system, we have the opportunity to comment. Significant changes include:
8.4.2.1. 12.01 (academic freedom) -- look at firing…pg. 35. sections 8.23 .24 and .25. Please review closely and provide feedback to committee.
8.4.2.2. 12.02 (guidelines for tenure)…mandates 3rd or 4th year review…adds additional guidelines for granting tenure…requires action to non-renew faculty during 4th year review.
8.4.2.3. 12.06 (post tenure review) -- changes include happening every year, review of syllabus, and addition of quality criteria.
8.4.2.4. 12.07 (professional faculty) … many changes to previous language including emphasis on terminal degree. Please get input from colleagues in each college.
8.4.2.5. 24.01 (risk management)…changes to insurance for faculty. (see page 13 of senate handout).
8.4.2.6. 2.05 2.06 2.07 changes filter requests through chancellor giving him more power.
8.4.2.7. Safety Chief working on crosswalks, parking enforcements, exploring solutions to crosswalk violations. Chief prefers education instead of punitive approach. Currently completing requirements related to disability walkways.
8.5. Budget Committee- Mary Bantell
8.5.1. Up-date on pay and benefit issues – completed Faculty Candidate Benefits Summary includes major issues (notifying candidates that first pay date is Oct. 1., requirement to pay for medical insurance for first three months, and information about optional benefits and leave benefits also included). Cindy is going to put this on the HR Web site and we recommended that they distribute to deans for new candidates.
8.5.2. Salary compression…working on spreadsheet to analyze salary comparison data.

9. Other issues -- none

10. Provost Comments – no comments.

11. Lucero adjourned the meeting at 4:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted
Karen Loveland