Faculty Senate Minutes
September 18, 2009


Attendance: Anderson, Bantell, Benibo, Bhattacharya, Changchit, Davis, Etheridge, Garrett, Hall, Katangur, Katz, Keys, Loveland, Lucero, Mahdy, Mehrubeoglu, Moody, Moury, Paciotti, Pfeifer, Rogers, Sefcik

Ex Officio: Babbali, Billeaux, Silliman, Smart

1. Speaker Lucero called the meeting to order at 2:01 PM.

2. Approval of the April 17, 2009 Senate minutes. Katz moved to approve the minutes as corrected, Bantell seconds, unanimous vote to approve.

3. Selection of Parliamentarian – Karen Paciotti volunteered for the position

4. Speaker’s Report

4.1. High School Students on Campus –

4.1.1. Lucero reported that she has been hearing “rumblings” on campus related to problems with programs that bring high school students to campus. Dean Hernandez and Lucero are working to form a group to provide a clearing house for these issues. The main issues appear to be student preparation for college-level courses and faculty uncertainty regarding how to handle minor students.
4.1.2. Report from Provost’s Council – the record on SACS is now officially closed. We will now begin working on issues identified as needing more work. All required records were submitted on time.
4.1.3. HEF requirements are due.
4.1.4. New university-level committees looking at efficiency in various areas.
4.1.5. College of Arts dean search has 24 candidates’
4.1.6. Increase in enrollment this term: 9622 currently…up to 150 may be “de-registered” for non-payment.
4.1.7. The provost’s council wants to boost summer enrollments this year – Lucero asked Babbili to explain. Babbili noted that formula funding is based on enrollments (total student headcount) during 2010/2011 year. Summer sessions draw students from three sources: current students, freshmen that want to get a head start and CCISD teachers. The main problem this coming summer is that the CCISD school year doesn’t end until one week after our summer classes begin. The provost’s office is forming a small task force to formulate strategies to deal with problems created by the calendar overlap.
4.1.8. HB 2504 – Even before this issue came up, Nelsen was leading us toward having more standardized syllabi. Comments have been forwarded to coordinating board. TCFS meeting will likely discuss this issue at the October meeting.
4.1.9. Destruction of records may become an issue this year.

4.2. Parking issues -- Lucero appreciates all the comments and input she has received about parking issues on campus. She will make sure this information reaches Jody Nelsen. It appears in the future we will need to do two things: (1) build a parking structure, and (2) build parking with a shuttle on the new property.

4.2.1. A senator asked about gated parking. The senator had been told that buying a space didn’t guarantee a slot. Faculty senate will continue to monitor the situation.
4.2.2. Katz noted that parking must be paid for by parking fees (state mandate). Lucero also noted that there is increased pressure for distance education.

4.3. Another senate EC member noted that the new smoking policy is in place and that signs should be posted soon. Bantell noted that this isn’t the first initiative to ban smoking on campus. President is committed to meet with senate exec committee at least once per term.
4.4. Issue Assignments (attachment) – see page 10 in senate packet, Roman numeral 10. Executive committee has assigned the issues as noted on page 12 in the packet. Lucero noted that committees should meet soon to begin working on charge.

5. Learning Assistants for Athletes – Robert Nelsen & Jennifer Baker – Dr. Nelsen’s father suffered a stroke and he was unable to attend the meeting today. Our thoughts are with him and his family. Ms. Baker briefly discussed the services available to student athletes. She noted that her office is charged with retention issues. They have identified “high risk” student athletes due to prior academic difficulties. These students work with learning assistants (graduate students or staff) for a minimum of five hours per week to help them with time management, study skills, and more. Ms. Baker’s office is requesting permission for learning assistants to discuss their students’ performance directly with faculty. She noted that they have four learning assistants working with 12 students. Her office would notify faculty about the identity of the learning assistant. She noted that students in the program sign a FERPA agreement and a Buckley Agreement (NCAA requirement that allows the athletic department to have access to grade information) granting permission for the learning assistants to discuss their grades with others.

5.1. A senator expressed concerns that, as this program starts up, the department needs to make it clear to everyone involved that our (faculty) first responsibility is teaching not helping athletes remain eligible for competition. Baker responded with assurances that the role of the learning assistants (and her office) is not to do the work for the students but to help the student learn how to learn to do the work themselves.
5.2. A senator noted that some faculty would want to have access to the signed agreements before sharing private information with a third party.
5.3. Another senator asked what faculty should do about concerns related to a student not working with a learning assistant. Baker said to refer them to the Center for Athletic Academic Services at extension 5573.
5.4. Another senator recommended that they create a standardized form, similar to the one used by Disability Services, to notify faculty about learning assistants and legal requirements related to FERPA for each student.

6. Deputy Speaker’s Report – Louis Katz

6.1. Calendars – We are obligated to produce calendars three years in advance. CCISD is not required to do that. New mandate required them to move up the start date. Other school districts moved inservice dates to beginning of term to avoid changing calendars. CCISD decided to go with the better solution of keeping them spread out but this caused their calendar to overlap ours resulting in the summer enrollment problem noted earlier. Katz noted that we should think of current calendars as “proposed” and may be subject to change as comments and suggestions continue to be considered. The president’s cabinet will deal with issues and changes. Babbili said that a new task force on this issue will report to the president’s cabinet.

6.1.1. Lucero suggested that some universities do sometimes hold graduation ceremonies prior to end of classes. Another suggested that having smaller discipline/specific graduation events at the UC might address the problem of scheduling with the American Bank Center and such events might be even more special for parents and students.
6.1.2. Katz suggested that a large number of faculty may not understand the formula funding well enough to understand how issues like this calendar problem affect us. He suggested that all faculty might benefit from receiving information about formula funding from the administration.
6.1.3. Another faculty member suggested that it might be beneficial to make sure our current students know about summer offerings. Another suggested that it might also help to inform new freshmen and transfer students of summer offerings when they receive their acceptance letters.

7. Committees

7.1. Academic Affairs Committee – Niki Changchit summarized the issues assigned to the committee. . The committee has decided to look at quality of students…particularly first year program, ESLI and other groups. They will begin collecting data this month.
7.2. Awards, Bylaws and Elections Committee – Bilaye Benibo – the committee met informally with provost to learn more about choosing effective candidates for system awards.
7.3. Budget Committee- Michael Moody -- The committee will address compensation this year. The committee has studied the bylaws to identify charge of committee. See handout for more issues. The committee is looking for direction regarding the depth of analysis desired. Moody will meet with Bantell to obtain information from last year’s study. Babbili asked if meeting with the CFO of the university and other financial staff would help the committee understand the budget. Moody said yes.
7.4. Committee on committees – Nancy Rogers—

7.4.1. Need a senate grad council representative. Asked if any current senators are already on this committee. No one noted. Lucero noted that she would like to have a member of the Academic Affairs committee to be on the grad council (and the new undergraduate council) to maintain lines of communication.

7.4.1.1. Sherrye Garrett (COE) volunteered for graduate council.
7.4.1.2. Shane Anderson volunteered for undergraduate council.

7.4.2. Problem with notification of faculty related to committee appointments. Working with Cely Smart to make sure faculty are notified by COC about new appointments as soon as confirmed by President’s Council. Problem this year with SACS deadline pushed back discussion to September 14 PC meeting. Asked if committee representatives had been confirmed. Babbili said they were working on it now and that as soon as it was complete, he and Smart would send notification. Smart noted that it was on the agenda for the Sept. 21 PC meeting. Lucero asked that the Provost’ office send a full list of appointments to all faculty.
7.4.3. Noted another possible problem related to COC being omitted from the chain of information for committee vacancies we’re responsible for filling. COC plans to develop a written policy to communicate the role of COC to all constituents to avoid backdoor appointments.
7.4.4. The committee met last week and needs clarification about brainstorming issues assigned to committee.

7.4.4.1. Technology – remote access to desktops.

7.4.4.1.1. One senator noted a problem with “Endnote” access…secret passages to get to information.
7.4.4.1.2. Availability of software: licensing that isn’t being used, no one knows what is available through TAMUCC and no one knows what is available through College Station. Faculty need to know who to contact. The committee might consider recommending the development of a clearing house for software licensing.
7.4.4.1.3. Clarify progress of committee working on WebCT upgrade.
7.4.4.1.4. Infrastructure support – development of a resource that integrates what’s being done elsewhere…provide more information
7.4.4.1.5. Library services – increasing number of databases available off campus. –eliminated from committee charge.

7.5. Faculty Affairs Committee – Mark Pfeifer

7.5.1. System policies (attachments)

7.5.1.1. System Employee Benefits Advisory Committee – Lucero indicated that we did have an election for this position last year but that she has not seen the results. Committee will investigate.
7.5.1.2. Committee was assigned faculty rights issue. Needs clarification. Lucero suggested that the committee meet with Robert Nelsen for clarification about HB 2504 issues. Babbili suggested that after the next CB meeting next week, we should have more direction about these issues.
7.5.1.3. Implication of Turnitin issue. Moody agreed to provide committee with a copy of his white paper on the issue. Doesn’t believe it is appropriate for its use to be mandated, especially for theses and doctoral dissertations. He suggested that the support structure in this university don’t support faculty well enough to prevent problems with accusing students of plagiarism based on turnitin information.

8. Other issues –

8.1. Discussion of faculty-wide listserv. – to set it up, we need a faculty moderator. Katangur volunteered.
8.2. Door software working to provide access to FS conference room. Christine will email when final technical problem is solved to set up cards.

9. Provost Comments –

9.1. New committees/appointments out of PC.

9.1.1. New university “committee on committees” charged with examining all university committees for efficiencies, redundancies, and more.
9.1.2. New Undergraduate council – Billeaux will represent provost’s office.
9.1.3. New technology committee to examine distance education/ online classes and related technology issues.
9.1.4. New student success committee – addresses retention strategies, summer enrollment.
9.1.5. New Veterans Affairs committee – focuses on our duty to serve returning military and their families.

9.2. SACS report is in. – Nelsen and Shapala and Smart deserve much appreciation for their service. SACS report was submitted under the deadline by three days.
9.3. Dean’s search for the College of Liberal Arts progressing.
9.4. Issues the Provost’s office will address this year include workload, time and effort reporting and supplemental pay.
9.5. Cost efficiencies reviews will begin soon – Babbili is chairing committee on instructional efficiencies.
9.6. Provost office has created two task forces:

9.6.1. Distance education -- how to enhance our offerings. Lamar is affecting enrollments in colleges of education across the state. UT Arlington is aggressively pursuing online nursing education. An online MBA is offered by many universities in the state. The committee will look at what we are offering now and identify which classes/programs are natural to be offered online now. Chaired by Nelsen
9.6.2. Summer enrollment – chaired by Billeaux, has asked Lucero to recommend members.

9.7. Babbili stated that he is looking forward to another productive year.

10. Katz moved to adjourn, Benibo seconds. Lucero adjourned the meeting at 4:02 PM