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Oct 24, 2001 Minutes


Approved Senate Minutes

October 24, 2001

Senators Present: All

Guests:  Susan Day (Council of Chairs), Matthew Swartz, Margaret Vaverek, Mike Moore (pot stirrer)

Meeting was called to order at 4:00 pm.

Chair Renick reminded Senators that the Oct. 31st meeting would be our annual joint meeting with the Senate departmental liaisons.  The meeting will be in Alkek 105-106. Senators are expected to contact liaisons in their colleges to encourage participation.   Items on the agenda for this meeting include handing out Faculty Handbooks to be delivered to new faculty, introducing the current Senate goals and eliciting liaison participation on the goal teams, discussing the upcoming VPAA/Presidential evaluation process, and reviewing the Senate committee structure.  There will also be a ìround tableî to allow Liaisons to bring up governance issues and concerns.

Senator McKinney presented her preliminary efforts to put the nine Senate goals into a common form that would allow us to monitor progress on the various goals and to determine which tasks might be assigned to ad hoc or standing Senate committees.  The Senate was pleased with her efforts and there will be continued inclusions.
 Senator Stone presented a list of questions to be answered by the Budget Committee as part of Goal #3.  These questions are as follows:
 1.  In FY96 vs. FY01 how many ìadministrativeî class employees in FTE were directly funded by grants?
 2.  In FY96 vs. FY01 how many ìadministrativeî class employees in FTE were funded by non-grant sources?
 3.  In FY96 vs. FY01 how many ìprofessionalî class employees in FTE were directly funded by grants?
 4.  In FY96 vs. FY01 how many ìprofessionalî class employees in FTE were funded by non-grant sources.
 5.  Break the above material down by division and college.
 6.  In FY96 vs. FY01 ìadministrativeî class employees funded from non-external grant sources represented what
      percent of the total university non-external grant salary dollars?
 7.  In FY96 vs. FY01 ìprofessionalî class employees funded from non-external grant sources represented what percent
      of the total university salary non-external grant salary dollars?

This is an attempt to get a handle on how soft dollars are spent and how the ranks of the quasi-administrators have grown through this process.  Stone moved and Gillis seconded a motion to forward these questions to the Senate Budget Committee.  The motion passed unanimously.  Senators Stone, Sawey, and Carns will sit as ex officio members of the committee as this work progresses.

Senator Stimmel commented that he had just attended a presentation from the facilities committee that indicates that the University has enormous amounts of deferred maintenance and very few dollars to do it with.  The new athletic complex is over budget.  In other words, our building program is extremely under funded.  We are not surprised but we are not comforted!

Senator Sawey alerted the Senate to the fact that the Deans have been asked to begin to conserve funds during the spring semester so that a full summer schedule can be offered.  With limited funds available for summer courses this is a counting semester and the Coordinating Board will start counting with the mini sessions.  Gee, I guess we can just hire more adjuncts and stuff 10 extra students in each class.  Some Colleges do have reserve funds established for this contingency but most do not.  A more organized way of planning for summer appears to be a likely topic for the next PAAG meeting.

As a result of additional discussion about budgeting Senator Peeler, who is spearheading Goal #6, salary compression, suggested forming an ad hoc committee to develop some very specific questions to ask Gorden Thyberg about salary compression.  Senators Peeler and Stutzman, using a study from the University of Houston on this topic, will study its application to SWT and recommend possible ad hoc committee members at the next meeting.

Senator Hindson, team member for Goal #8, wanted to be sure that there were Faculty Senate representatives on the Athletic Advisory Committee, as we work to monitor the ever popular attempt to shift to Division IA football.  He was assured that we do have that representation.

Chair Renick handed out a suggested revision to the Post Tenure Review Policy, which had been prepared by Ken Margerison in consultation with TFA.  The Senate members are to study it and be prepared to comment on it in the near future.  Oh, man! Homework? RTAíd.

After a brief break for sustenance Senator Sawey reintroduced the topic of salary adjustments for Assistant and Associate Vice Presidents.  He had gathered additional numbers of salary adjustments for this group of people that seemed to be well over the 4% raises that others received.  In fact, these adjustments were based on recommendations from the PC as stated in a memo from Michael Abbott to Gordon Thyberg.  The text of that memo, dated 8-28-2001, is as follows:
 ìGorden, PC recommended and the President approved that the salaries of Associate Vice Presidents reflect at least 75% of their supervisorís salary and the salaries of Assistant Vice Presidents reflect at least 65% of their supervisorís salary.  PC also recommended and the President approved adjustment of deanís salaries to reflect median salaries reported by CUPA.î
 As we commented last week, some of these adjustments were in the neighborhood of $20,000 and were as many as 46 steps.  Has anyone around here heard of a 46 step raise?  It must be like winning the lottery!  This did cause the Senate to wonder how many of those staff people who are not yet paid at 75% of the base pay for comparable institutions might have been brought to that level with the $120,000 dollars that were used to make up these administrative salary adjustments.  Inquiring minds want to know!
Chair Renick informed the Senate that the evaluation instruments for the VPAA and the President have been sent to Drs. Supple and Gratz for their comment.  Once they have had the opportunity to comment the surveys will be delivered to departments for dissemination.  Once they have been returned the results will be made available to all faculty as well as other constituencies as it seems appropriate.  Drs. Supple and Gratz will also be given the results as potential formative information.  The Senate is hoping for a robust return!

Probable agenda items for the joint CAD/Senate meeting (Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 1:30 pm) will include: staff salaries, use of graduate assistants for generating SCH, possible changes in developmental leave policies, summer budgets, consistent payment for mini session teaching.

 Mike Moore handed out a commentary on SWT football as mentioned in a Sports Network story attributed to Tony Moss.  It was not flattering.  It suggested that no one seems to give the same story about the size of the stadium and that there have been unflattering comments about the conference that we are currently in.  The Senate collectively wondered if SWT would ever actually make this move.  Oh, well.  Sigh!  Let the games begin and may the lambs win.  Baaaa!  Perhaps a short course in diplomacy and a little time to get the stories together could be helpful.  Tongue holding 1101?

Minutes from CAD of 10-9-01 suggested that Dr. Gratz has been visiting with the Council of Chairs about governance models.  This included conversations about considering such a change based on the timing of hiring a new president.  It suddenly looks as though the Council of Chairs will be represented very fully as a council as well as through their deans at the College Council meetings.  Senators are interested to know how this will affect faculty representation in governance.  This will be a PAAG agenda item, you can bet.  A status report on the cost of Ph.D. programs will also be a PAAG agenda item.

Members of the Senate failed to see how a course entitled GEOGRAPHY OF TERRORISM could logically be derived from GEO 4310, Regional Field Studies.  The whole idea seemed faintly opportunistic.  Perhaps they are using the same advertising consultants used by the athletic department?  The Senate expressed dismay!

The minutes for Oct. 17, 2001, were approved as read.

Meeting was adjourned at 6:06 pm.

Undauntedly submitted by Joan Hays