Faculty Senate Minutes
November 18, 2011

Attendance: Allred, Anderson, Bletz, Benibo, Bowden, Chambers, Garrett, Garcia, Katz, Larkin, Louis, Loveland, Lyle, McCollough, Miller, Moody, Picou, Ridley, Spencer, Tejeda-Delgado.

Guests: Billeaux, Graham, Markwood, Meyer

1. Speaker Katz called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m.

2. Approval of Minutes

2.1 The minutes of the September 16, 2011 Faculty Senate meeting were approved as presented. (Ridley moved to approve, Larkin seconded, passed by unanimous voice assent).
2.2 The minutes of the October 14, 2011 Faculty Senate meeting were approved as presented. (Spencer moved to approve, McCollough seconded, passed by unanimous voice assent).

3. Welcome and Introductions

3.1 Provost's Comment

3.1.1. Task forces and working groups (retention, enrollment management, emerging research, beyond the core, doctoral program review, and summer school) are meeting and working on their respective charges.
3.1.2. Several senators commented on the process related to doctoral program development and the role of the task force relative to the graduate council. Markwood noted that the working group task included identifying reporting and approval authority including those issues that would require senate involvement.

3.2. Katz asked if the task force membership was available online. Meyer said he would make sure the membership lists were posted on the Academic Affairs Web site.

3.3. Librarian Status question - because Markwood had to leave early to participate in a conference call, Katz asked him to comment on a later agenda item.

3.3.1. Markwood stated that while librarians do not and cannot have faculty status, they are working on a plan to create promotable status.
3.3.2. A senator asked if library staff has continuing employment status. Markwood stated that library staff was on an annual contract.
3.3.3. Another senator noted that our handbook is not consistent with the system policies regarding libraran status and at-will employment. Markwood asked Meyer to note the issue to review and suggested that a complete handbook review relative to current system policies might be required.

Speaker's Report

4.1. Calendar - Spencer moved to approve the shorter calendar with start date after the fall and spring holidays (Labor Day and MLK Day), Picou seconded.

4.1.1. Several senators noted issues/concerns with the shorter calendar and with the start date after the holidays.
4.1.2. Another senator noted concerns about the importance of MLK day and the impact of starting classes after that holiday.
4.1.3. Spencer called the question.
4.1.4. The original motion to approve the shorter calendar with post-holiday start dates passed (17 for, 1 against, 2 abstentions).

4.2. TCFS Texas Council of Faculty Senates

4.2.1. TACT had a role in the pushback of guns on campus.
4.2.2. System has eliminated duplicate reporting requirements.
4.2.3. Financial aid viewed positively by legislature. There is now a merit component.
4.2.4. Push for Meningitis vaccines. Meyer reported that this is a bit of a challenge for us because of the large number of international students who don't have complete vaccination records. Katz reported that the requirement is also causing problems in poorer areas and may impact us.
4.2.5. THECB is pushing outcome-based funding with legislative support. Last year this type of funding was limited to 10%.
4.2.6. Donna Howard (State Representative from Austin) expressed concerns about a mid-year rescission due to structural deficit. Rainy-day fund was not always called such...it was a surplus fund at one time that has recently been depleted serveral times for emergencies.
4.2.7. We are 50th in the nation in state expenditures per capita. We spent $500 less per K-12 student last year but the rainy day fund is growing again. Businesses will not locate in Texas unless there is an educated workforce.
4.2.8. Lucy Heston (THECB) said that there is a policy in the pipeline that states if your institution is below average in six-year graduation rates, there will be extra requirements before approval of new doctoral programs. Meyer noted that we are not below average.
4.2.9. The system has put out statistics on what other states call "low producing programs". We seem to allow smaller programs than other states. Meyer noted that we should expect an increase in the minimums.
4.2.10. Changes to core curriculum discussed. Should be viewed as a new core instead of revisions to old core. Computer literacy is now a high school component. CB formerly required 37 objectives. This has been condensed to six: (1) Critical thinking skills, (2) Communication skills, (3) Empirical and quantitative skills, (4) Teamwork, (5) Social responsibility, and (6) Personal responsibility. The process for developing the new core is as follows: (1) CB staff develops procedures, (2) Faculty develop core at each institution, (3) Campus plans due in May, (4) Department plans due next year, (5) Complete plans due to CB in November 2013, and (6) New core implement Fall 2014 for entering freshmen. Billeaux provided additional information.

4.2.11. Katz summarized issues presented by each school.
4.2.12. Legislative representatives recommended more "lobbying" by faculty. Several senators noted that care is required to ensure lobbying is done as a private individual and not as an employee of the university.
4.2.13. Spencer noted Chancellor said "when you are looking for efficiencies, look at administration, landscaping, and food service. Do NOT look at faculty teaching or research".
4.2.14. Higher education summit on Nov. 10.

4.3 Summer Salary - Both the flat rate pay scale and the 80% pay cut were taken off the table. Moody noted that the committee agreed with the objective to provide a "fair and competitive salary structure".

4.4 Katz will discuss several issues in a forthcoming letter to faculty.

4.4.1. Tenure Policy
4.4.2. Summer Budget Report
4.4.3. Calendar Results
4.4.4. Overview of TCFS meeting
4.4.5. Core Curriculum changes and links

5. Faculty Fellowship Procedure - Spencer moved to approve, Moody seconded.

5.1. Several senators noted concerns that require input from the Provost.
5.2. Because Markwood had already left the meeting, Spencer moved to table the motion, Moody seconded. The motion carried.

6. Textbook Statement for comment - review for next meeting. Send comments/concerns to Markwood and Katz via email or save for the next meeting.

7. Senate Committee Reports

7.1. Academic Affairs Committee - no report. Meeting on Nov. 28.
7.2. ABE Committee - encourage colleagues to apply for awards.
7.3. Budget Committee - Moody expressed gratitude to Larkin, Picou, and Chambers for extensive work on summer salary issue. Chambers noted that Moody has also done a significant amount of work. Moody commended members of the senate task force for their work on the summer salary issue. Reiterated "fair and competitive salary structure" agreement from the Provost's task force. Moody noted that one secondary goal of the salary discussions was increased input and transparency in budgeting process.
7.4. Committee on Committees - no report.
7.5 Faculty Affairs - Meeting Nov. 29 to review promotion policy changes.

8. Call for University Committee Reports - none

9. Katz adjourned the meeting at 3:40 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Karen A. Loveland, Faculty Senate Secretary