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May 2, 2001 Minutes


Senators Present: Reese, Sawey, Peeler, Gillis, Stone, Renick, Blanda, Blevens, Stimmel, Skerpan-Wheeler, Brennan, Ruth Taylor [for Jim Stutzman], Hays

Guests Present: President Supple, Vice President Gratz, Mike Moore, Rick Rodriguez

Meeting called to order at 4:00.  Official Faculty Senate picture taken.

PAAG Concerns:

Academic Honesty Task Force Report - President Supple spoke highly of the report of the committee's work; he thought they did an excellent job.  He has sent it to the current ASG president and will send it to the new members in the Fall in addition copies were sent to the Council of Academic Deans.  He said the task now is to figure out what could be done in the interim period before the recommendations could be implemented.  He cautioned that he does not expect continued work of Academic Honesty Task Force, implementation of recommendations, etc., can be as funded as they were in Colorado.

Chair Hays reported that she had received a suggestions from Vince Luizzi who thought the next step in the process would be a task force on Academic Responsibility.  Students do not always know what their responsibilities are in a class or classroom.  He thought some kind of list of expectations, tied to SWT's core values, could be posted around campus.

General discussion followed.  Supple expressed concerns about the potential problems with such a task force.  He commented that Cathy Fleuriet is working on setting up workshops for faculty to help them with issues of classroom management.  Others, such as Skerpan-Wheeler and Reese, remarked that students often need to be told what is expected
of them or they behave as they did in high school.  Several people recommended including expectations of student behavior on the syllabus.

Name Change - Supple explained that his office had sent an email to all students discussing the name change issue.  They got back several hundred responses.  The first time they polled the students, almost 95% were against the change.  This time the numbers split more evenly.  His office will send out a follow up email tomorrow [5/5] explaining that they appreciate everyone's participation.  They will again go over the issues and assure the students that he is continuing to work on this.

When Sawey mentioned that the president seemed to "have gotten religion" on this issue, Supple said he had.  He was determined that the change was not only a good thing, it was a necessary thing.  This has been reconfirmed to him through various sources, including David Shrimpton, journalist with the Boston Globe who spoke on campus, and the presidents of other Texas universities.

Senators asked about the negative reactions from Sam Houston State. Supple said that they disliked the flagship idea not the name change. San Angelo opposed the move unless "at San Marcos" is attached.  He went on to explain that numerous universities had tried to use "Texas State University" over the years including UNT, Texas Tech and San Angelo.

Blevens wondered if the proposed name wasn't going to continue the problem since it would include "State" in the title.  He believed that "state" carried negative connotations.  Supple asked for other suggestions for names.

Top Down Management - The senate raised this issue after several recent incidents indicated that decisions were being made without consulting the senate or faculty in general.  Supple praised the senate for being vigilant; that is the senate's role.  He then addressed the specific incidents which had concerned the senate.
        - distribution list policy - VP Wyatt is committed to consultation with the senate.
        - evaluations - Supple said that this idea has been discussed for years.  They messed up on the most recent
           iteration by not connecting to earlier talks.
        - travel reimbursements -"We screwed up." The new policy [of direct depositing travel checks] went to his office
          and they thought it was a good idea.  They approved without talking it through.

Speaking of illegal, someone on campus sent email to legislators advocating 6% faculty raise from an SWT computer.  That is illegal. Such messages can only be sent from private computers.
        - grant monies problems - Renick described his problems with monies being removed from his account without his knowledge.  Supple said this was part of a bigger problem.  There needs to be a new PPS about grants and contracts.  There are lots of questions that need addressing.

Sawey recognized that Supple seeks consultation and applauded his desire to continue this practice.  Sawey wondered, however, if all of the minions under Supple shared this outlook.  Supple admitted that while some did, others, especially those with a more corporate-style background, did not.  They are working on educating them.

Grade Change - Sawey queried how long students are able to appeal grades.  He believes this number must correspond to how long faculty are required to keep their records.  Gratz agreed that there should be a policy on that and it should be easy to fix.  He said that they policy should be made to reconcile with the State Records requirement.

Training for New Chairs - Hays explained that the senate had received anecdotal evidence of problems with new chairs who seem to come in unaware of procedures and policies.  They are causing problems for their departments and faculty.  She wondered if there couldn't be more training for them.  Why couldn't they go through something akin to what new faculty have at their disposal?

Gratz liked the suggestions and said he would take them to CAD. Something like this has been in place, but it could be expanded.  Taylor remarked that this might encourage others, who felt intimidated by the job, to apply.

During the discussion of chair training, Senator Stone offered that an early emphasis on assuring that chairs knew how to be collegial was essential.

President Supple indicated that collegiality was not always as important to the administration as other issues. In particular, if the administration wanted a department to make significant changes in its direction, he might appoint someone from another department to serve as chair.  The faculty of the affected department might or might not be informed of the proposed change in direction or the reason for the new chair's presence.

Senator Sawey then suggested that having been on the receiving end of such administrative attempts at departmental redirection via a "covert chair," the administration should take great pains to insure that the chosen person have significant interpersonal and communication skills. President Supple agreed and said a mistake had been made in that case.

Supple said that in the past they have had problems we brought in outside temporary chairs. It has happened four or five times in the last twelve and a half years.

Search Time Lines - Some departments continue to have difficulty getting the necessary authorizations for their searches.  The end result is that they miss the good candidates and have to scramble to get anyone.

Supple said this was unacceptable.  The university's most important job is to hire new faculty.  He remarked that he and Gratz had discussed this issue before.  One result of these discussions was the creation of the Faculty Hiring Committee.  This group, which includes senators Hays and Renick, are investigating ways to streamline the hiring process.

Gratz mentioned that the university had its 11th Piper Professor: Michael Hennessey.


Renick passed out copies of the Patient Satisfaction Survey created by the Insurance Committee.  The results will be included in the summer enrollment packets. Of most interest, perhaps, is the Consumer Accolades Network which lists primary care physicians who were rated highly by their patients.  This list was created by sending out a survey to a random sampling of participants in the various health care plans. With about 40% response, the survey generated an expanded list of 19 physicians.  Renick emphasized that most physicians were highly rated.  Any that were poorly rated will be referred to the appropriate health care plan for peer review.  Their purpose in creating this list is to help faculty and staff make informed decisions. Gillis moved and Sawey seconded to accept the Report of the Insurance Committee.

Minutes of 18 April were approved.

Minutes of 25 April were approved.

Meeting adjourned 6:10 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Mary Brennan