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Dec 5, 2001 Minutes



Approved Senate Minutes

December 5, 2001

Senators Present: Brennan, Hindson, Hays, Stimmel, Stone, Peeler, Renick, Gillis, Stutzman, Blevens, Sawey, Blanda, McKinney
Senators absent: Carns

Guests:  Jerry Supple, Robert Gratz, Micky Henry, Matthew Swartz, Steve Holland (Council of Chairs Rep.), Bob Smallwood, Terry Aguirre, Mike Moore

Meeting was called to order at 4:00 pm in the Regents' Room by chair Renick.

Dr. Supple, as part of the PAAG agenda, reported on the recent Board of Regents' Meeting.  (It was to have been in San Angelo but because of the inclement weather was held in Austin since Regents were already there for "new regent training sessions".  The Board was able to accomplish the tasks before it in record time.  We did not speculate on why this occurred.)
     The request for an increase in Graduate Tuition was approved.
     The proposal for a Ph.D. in Geographic Science Information Systems was Approved.
     The Regents expressed strong support for a campus in Round Rock.
     The proposed university name change seems to have Regental (Is this a word?) support as well as support from a number of other institutions.  There was little discussion within the TSUS about the issue.  Strategies for presenting the issue to the Texas legislature are being developed.  There is no turning back now.
     The proposal for becoming a Division IA school in football was shelved.  The quality of advertising for games was also apparently mentioned.
     Max Warshauer was noted as having been awarded the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Star Award for Closing the Gap.  He was one of Five selected from 88 nominees.  (He will be receiving a Presidential  Award in Washington, D.C., early next week, as well).  Go Max!

Dr. Supple also reported that the Political and economic climate will be very different in the next legislative session.  We will probably need to tighten up our belts YET AGAIN!  However, our growth cap is realistic and we need the MITC campus.  We need to look at the number of Ph.D. programs we can realistically support without depleting the reserves to a dangerous level. (Did I  hear a Sawey sigh at this point?)  All of this suggests that raises will be small in the next couple of years.  Gee! No more 46 step increases for awhile?  Dr. Supple mentioned that we do have a high student to faculty ratio, which is considered a sign of efficiency.  But we are funded at $115.00 per student credit hour and that is next to the lowest in the state.  (Legislative step child status for the 7th largest University in the state?)  There is a great deal of frustration at the Coordinating Board because of the apparent immutability of the formula funding.  If we, through the development of a few excellent doctoral programs, raise our Carnegie standing and our status through USNews and World Report the enhanced prestige may be helpful.  Dr. Supple noted that the Coordinating Board seems much more amenable to Ph.D. proposals coming from swTSU because of the success of the current Geography programs as well as the excellent quality of the newer proposals.  He mentioned that the Presidential Fellow Bob McLean will be spending much of his time determining exactly how much these Ph.D. programs are costing and how much they are generating so that cost effectiveness can be determined.  We need to see how reserves are being depleted and replenished.  Stay tuned to this dial.

The question of the large raises for higher level staff as opposed to the rest of the staff was raised.  After much talk of complex issues and the fact that higher level staff people were VERY under paid at this university it all boiled down to being a "judgment call". Dr. Supple agreed that salaries for the "middle"management staff were also low.  There is some amount of money still to be expended.  Hope springs eternal!

Summer Budget was mentioned.  There is a $1,100,000.27 shortfall (give or take a few bucks) for summer school.  This is, however, based on conservative estimates.  There is guarded optimism that this will be made up.  Chairs have been cautioned to keep summer school offerings in a realistic range.  There are a number of other escalating costs that also compete for the money that will be generated by summer registration.

Commencement issues were discussed.  The Senate wondered if having faculty serve as ushers actually depleted the ranks of faculty in the procession to the point that it looked under attended?  It was also mentioned that faculty have great difficulty finding parking. It was suggested that parking in lot R10, behind JCK, would probably be easiest.  One senator suggested that a map indicating what the traffic pattern would be might be sent to faculty so they know where they can and cannot turn when approaching Strahan.

After a short commercial break Bob Smallwood presented five changes in the process of making administrative course changes that had been proposed by an erudite advisory team. These recommended changes are as follows:
     1.  Eliminate the requirement for department chairs to justify the reasons for an administrative course change between the 4th and 12th class day.
     2.  Extend the official schedule change period from the first three class days to the first four class days.
     3.  Begin the late-late registration period, which currently begins on the third class day, on the first class day.
     4.  The department chair MAY delegate the authority to approve administrative course changes for those administrative course changes processed before the12th  class day.  (Notice that the chair has the option here.)
     5.  Prepare an SDLC Service Request to automate the administrative course change process so that department staff would have the OPTION between the 4th and 12th class days to enter the administrative change at the department level.

After some vigorous discussion all of these proposals were endorsed.  Dr. Smallwood was somewhat disappointed because he didn't have to use all of his more subtle arguments to persuade us.  Senator Hays expressed strong support for #5 because it would save students an extra walking trip to deliver paper to another office.  We want this to be a user friendly University!

The Senate presidential and VPAA evaluation forms are coming in.  We seem to be getting a good return.  There will be some discussion about how to process the comments that are being appended to the evaluations.  Some are long.   Be sure to send yours in!

Senator McKinney was concerned about a rumor that the Child Development Center was closing.  After a little research the Senate was assured that the Child Development Center, which is administered through the Family and Consumer Science Department, will remain open.  It is the Early Childhood Program, sponsored by the College of Education, that will be closing.  This lamentable event is due to renovations , change in certification requirements and field based requirements.

Senator Brennan informed the Senate that Ken Margerison was willing to replace her temporarily while she takes a brief time off to deliver her first baby.  The Senate was glad to appoint Dr. Margerison as her replacement.

There had been a suggestion from a faculty member that the Senate create a "war chest"to help faculty members fight legal battles against the university administration.  It was noted that this was not an appropriate activity for the Senate.  The local chapter of TFA or some other political or professional group might be a more appropriate place for such a "war chest"to be developed.

The next PAAG meeting will be Jan 16th.  which will also be the Senate's first meeting of 2002.  It was suggested that we allow the President and VPAA to set at least part of that agenda.  Here we are, playing good cop, bad cop again.

In previous minutes there had been a concern raised by a liaison that graduate students must take 9 hours of graduate work, even when they only had thesis work to do.  Dr. Willoughby responded to that concern by assuring the local minutes taker that graduate students who have completed all required hours except the thesis need only sign up for the thesis course.  The Senate hopes to have Dr. Willoughby in to visit with us in 2002.

The meeting adjourned at 6:15 pm.

Minutes adamantly submitted by Joan Hays