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July 10, 1996 Minutes

Present: Bible, Ford, Hays, Horne, Hunter, Parkin-Speer, Pascoe, Sawey,
Simpson, Stimmel, and Winek. Absent: Bourgeois, Caverly, McGee, Weller.

Guests: VPAA Gratz, Dean Willoughby (Graduate School), Louise Phillips
(Registrar), Assoc.VPSA Brigman, Prof. Edgar Laird (Ombudsman), Prof. John
McGee (incoming Ombudsman); Profs. Rebecca Bell-Metereau, Chris Frost, Jeff
Gordon, and Sam Tarsitano; Margaret Vaverek (Library liaison); James
Driscoll (San Marcos Daily Record), Mike Moore.


NORTH AUSTIN INITIATIVE (Gratz, Phillips, and Willoughby)
(Profs. Bell-Metereau and Gordon, and VPAA Gratz)
MINUTES OF 6/11/96

The meeting was called to order at 3:03, chair Bible presiding.

NORTH AUSTIN INITIATIVE (Gratz, Phillips, and Willoughby)

Last year SWT was invited to examine the offering of graduate and
some upper-division undergraduate courses in the Round Rock (Williamson
County) area by Bill Stanford. Over half of SWT's student body commute and
over 25% are from the Williamson and north Travis County areas. A rough
survey by RRISD indicated an interest in graduate education and business
courses and upper-division undergraduate courses. Therefore, SWT offered 8
courses (7 were graduate) in the area this summer as a pilot project.
Initially there was some objection by UT, but Dean Willoughby indicated
that this seems to have been resolved. According to the TX Dept. of
Commerce (you can hit this on the Net, we are told), this north county
region will soon have as many students as Austin proper.

The Fall 1996 courses will include mostly graduate education
courses, plus one undergrad course each in biology, physics, and business.
All local universities will be informed of course offerings by e-mail,
public school teachers will receive flyers on offerings in their paycheck
envelopes, and ads will appear in newspapers. Registration will be August
13th and 20th and textbooks for student purchase will be on hand in mobile

Resources: Bob Goss and Bill Mears have examined the Williamson
County sites for computer availability for our students. Students are
issued library cards for use at all area university libraries for their

Round Rock will be voting in January 1997 as to whether they want
to join the Austin Community College taxing district (students now pay
higher fees by being out of AAC district), set up their own Round Rock
Community College (which will increase taxes but would provide for more
local control, a political issue addressed by the Austin American-Statesman
on 7/2/96), or stay with the status quo. In any case, apparently, SWT will
still be in a position to offer courses--especially graduate ones. If
other universities come in later, it is thought there might be some
advantage by being the "senior" university partner. Multi-Institutional
Teaching Centers (MITCs) are said to be springing up around the country, so
these cooperative off-campus efforts are not exactly unique. If new
community college structures are in the offing, it would be useful to have
input on technological and other areas.

Currently SWT faculty in the Round Rock program are paid $2,500 per
undergrad course and $3,000 per grad course--plus transportation. Courses
can be taught in-load or off-load. Whether pay goes up to regular summer
school levels depends on growth of the program and subsequent cost-benefit

A needs assessment/feasibility study is being done with businesses
and educational facilities in the area. Non-credit workshops are also
being considered.

Other questions: (1) Will grad students know that they have to
take at least one-third of their courses on SWT's campus? Yes, we were
told, they will be informed. (2) Why the urgency to start now when the
feasibility study has not been done? We were asked to join. We will have
a senior status and the first shot at programs we want to offer, input on
facilities, etc.

The Senate thanked the above administrators for sharing information
with us.

(Profs. Bell-Metereau and Gordon, and VPAA Gratz)

(1) The Freshman Year Experience (FYE--a better name than
"Institute," so it is said) will emphasize pedagogy, as opposed to just the
technological how-to that FAC now offers. FYE will offer an opportunity to
connect across disciplines, staff, community (through service activities),
and outside resources. The purpose is to change the climate in the
classroom to one of cooperation/collaberation and student-centeredness. A
Task Force will be selected to guide the program. There will be faculty
support for supplies, travel to conferences, student assistants,
technology, and assessment. The budget allows for $2,500 per faculty
member (24 faculty). Departmental teams can receive up to $10,000. This
support should encourage faculty to join the cross-discipline endeavor.

Handouts indicated that there would be in-service workshops
(Freshman Learning Workshops) or roundtables at regular intervals, focus
groups, and testing (with control groups). Eventually participants will be
expected to run a workshop or discussion for faculty in their departments
to share ideas generated by the group's experience.

If the proposal is approved, outside funding will be sought from
foundations, etc. interested in furthering such projects. The budget
includes: $60,000 for faculty, as stated above, and $20,000 for breakfast
meetings and outside consultants, if any, etc. At this point, no
administrative costs are incurred.

Questions were asked regarding: (1) Proof of need of another
program, when we have Freshman Seminar and dept. and individual faculty
efforts in this direction. Answer: No hard data on campus, but literature
suggests posibilities in this area. Cross-dept. teams have been effective
elsewhere and here (based on subjective data). While the emphasis is on
freshmen, the collaborative/cooperative endeavor expects to ripple into
other courses. (2) This seems like a mandate FAC needs to be filling.
Answer: FAC concentrates on how-to technology, not on cross-discipline
pedagogy. FYE would use FAC for how-to but the project goes beyond that.

Those interested should contact Prof. Bell-Metereau ASAP and
preferably before 9/30/96.

(2) Freshman Synergy: (Profs. Gordon and Bell-Metereau)

Two handouts: First was a brochure for non-declared freshman
printed out-of-pocket by Prof. Gordon. The second was a more detailed
proposal for the "pilot project toward the integration of the freshman
curriculum. . . to help students link together the domains of knowledge."
Thematic links will be chosen, e.g. threats to the environment,
transformations of the family, etc. Faculty from four required course
areas (philosophy, literature, fine arts, and Freshman Seminar) volunteered
to agree on a common theme for at least part of their freshman courses.
The theme selected for the 90-student (undeclared majors) project in Fall
1996 was "search for personal identity." Students who volunteer to
participate will enroll in one of several blocks of these courses.
Assessment of the project will include the use of a matched control group
not in the block plan.

In discussion it was pointed out that eventually faculty from other
disciplines may want to participate in the block-common theme plan.
Senator Winek noted that technology had much influence on all the themes
put forward as examples and could be a useful addition to the Liberal Arts
perspective. Another senator suggested that "artificial intelligence"
would make an interesting topic for many disciplines to contemplate. It
was also suggested that in the future freshmen with declared majors might
want to participate.

No budget is being requested.


Prof. Tarsitano has filed a grievance which will be examined by the
Grievance Committee when it is reconstituted in the fall. After that
process is completed, he would like the Faculty Senate to consider the
process by which information filters up to the top of the administration
for final decision. For example, after the negative decision on his and
Prof. Tilton's NASA/JOVE grant (overturning the Grievance Committee's
affirmative findings last year), Prof. Tarsitano obtained a 6-page report
which went to the President from someone lower in the hierarchy, that
contained "inaccuracies and falsehoods." He obtained the report through
the Freedom of Information Act and had been unaware of its existence until
after the final decision had been made. He read excerpts from that
document and countered them with statements from the original proposal,
supporting letters, etc. In essence he is asking "why faculty are not in
the loop when such documents are going forward" and is requesting that "a
mechanism of responsibility be put in place for open and fair dealing with
faculty by administration at all levels."

The Senate requested Chair Bible to ask SWT Attorney Fly to join
with VPAA Gratz (who has the tapes of the 7-hour Grievance Committee
hearings and presumably copies of all documents) and Prof. Tarsitano, and
ultimately Pres. Supple, to work something out with all the data on the


Prof. Stimmel is excusing himself from the Grievance Committee, now
that he is on the Senate. Appointments for his and other replacements will
be made later this month at the next Faculty Senate meeting.



MINUTES OF 6/11/96

The minutes were accepted, with Dean Juarez's subsequent memo
regarding the Radiation Therapy program as an addendum for


(1) The question of final exams for classes will be discussed
further at a later meeting.

(2) The next meeting of the Senate will be July 31st from
4:00-6:00 in the Health Professions building (because they have
air-conditioning after 4:00 p.m.).

Meeting adjourned at 5:25 p.m.

Ramona Ford