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March 5, 2003 Minutes




Present: Senators Conroy, Sawey, Peeler, Gillis, James, Blanda, Gordon, Frost, Hindson, Bell-Metereau, Brennan, Stutzman

Guests:  University Star student reporter Sally Villarreal, Professor Rudnicki

Vice Chair Blanda called faculty senate to order at 4:03 and reviewed the agenda.

I.      Instructional Technology Committee

Senate began with discussion of the Technology Committee's recommendation, and Vice Chair Blanda stated that the senate should not interfere with the working of the committee.

Senator Conroy pointed out that Dr. Easter, the chair of the committee, brought up the plea concerning a discrepancy.  He was looking for senate help, and this wasn't an issue that the senate initiated.  The chair of the committee recused himself from the discussion, because of a possible conflict of interest regarding one of the proposals.

Senator Sawey had conversations with several people, who were concerned with the issue of advocacy.

Senator Brennan noted that the committee had a process, but they realized that there was a problem with the process.  They have given recommendations, which will stand, but they themselves have noted the need for revision in the future.

Senator Peeler commented that he agreed with Senator Bell-Metereau's argument that the senate shouldn't simply be a rubber stamp on committee decisions.

Senator Blanda observed that these kinds of committees have continual problems, because there is always someone dissatisfied with the process.

Senator Sawey moved to accept the Instructional Technology Committee's recommendation and Senator Hindson seconded the motion, which passed with nine in favor and two abstaining.

Senator Sawey moved and Senator Hindson seconded a recommendation that the committee examine their process and submit their policy for a review to the faculty senate at least a month before the call for proposals.  The motion passed unanimously.

II. Texas Council of Faculty Senates

Senator Frost reported on the meeting of the Texas Council of Faculty Senates.  A representative spoke on AAUP benefits, noting that the Yeshiva decision makes it so that faculty can't engage in collective bargaining.  Nevertheless, where universities are able to get a significant number in agreement on something, with an entity like the faculty senate to represent them, the faculty seems to have greater influence on university administrations.  For example, in keeping with faculty demands, Hofstra has no non-tenure track full-time lines.  Senator Frost asked if the senate wants to have a chapter of the AAUP here.  The University of Houston representative helps schools start up chapters where people are interested.  Senator Frost noted that it only takes seven members to have a chapter.

Session 2 was on salary equity, involving Lamar and Stephen F. Austin presidents, reporting on salary equity initiatives, which include both external equity and internal equity.  They decided to go to sources (CUPA) to get national averages for ranks, by dept.  They said they wanted all faculty at that average.   Instead of 100%, they got 50% adjustments across the university by comparing their salaries with faculty in specific fields from other universities.  They had to pay CUPA for this information and not publish the figures, but Senator Hindson noted that the Chronicle for Higher Education publishes this kind of information.  Senator Hindson asked about the three different faculty organizations on campus and how many faculty are in each organization.  The discussion of bringing an AAUP chapter will be RTA'd in mid-April.

Each university represented at the Texas Council of Faculty Senates made a one-page summary of what was going on at the various institutions represented.  There were some universities with greater faculty senate influence and some paying less attention to the budget cuts; others had cut summer school, etc.  Some of these contrasts come from regional differences in enrollment growth.

Vice Chair Blanda asked if we are comfortable with the wording of the Texas Council of Faculty Senate's resolution on budget cuts and if we would want to endorse this resolution.  Senator Gillis asked what the resolution meant and Senator Brennan said she believed it was a general way to say we don't want the administration to cut faculty lines or salary, or increase work load, and that the administration should make sacrifices as well.

Senator Frost asked if we should request a detail of what they have cut from their budget, and Senator James said that information across the board on cuts would be useful.  Academic affairs is taking less of a hit, in keeping with the president's wish to preserve the academic core of the institution.

This question will be raised at the next PAAG meeting on the 27th of March.

Senator Hindson requested that we put athletics on the agenda to determine what is being cut from this program.

Senator Frost moved that we pass the Texas Council of Faculty Senate resolution with the addendum to request a specific report of where funds are being cut across the university, with a breakout by administration and by college.  The motion passed with nine voting in favor, one against, and one abstention.

Senator Peeler asked if this would have any effect after the fact, and Senator Frost argued that being scrutinized publicly will create a different level of accountability.  Senator Gordon said that if there are discrepancies in how much various colleges have cut, we will at least know about it in considering the future budget cuts.

Several faculty noted that although deans have called for department elections to the budget committees, not all departments have done this yet.

III. Facilities
Senator Frost reported on facilities, noting there was currently no master plan.  There is now a plan to institute a new master plan, to consider such issues as greenery in the middle of campus, less student parking in the middle of campus, incorporating parking and transportation, and integrating with all other initiatives.  Senator Conroy will go to the next facilities meeting in Chris' place on Friday, to address the committee on campus architecture and aesthetic considerations.  After Friday's brainstorming they will start creating a strategic goals document, culminating in the end with the assignment of a new architect to do a new master plan.

Honors and international studies were going into old Art, but then education needed that space while their facilities undergo renovation. There is confusion regarding what is happening, and who is "in charge" of what is happening.

Senator Peeler asked if we could ask Nancy Nusbaum how this change occurred, and for her to give an explanation to Faculty Senate. What is the purpose of the facilities committee and issues subcommittee, if their recommendations are not considered?  He also asked if there has been thought given to analyzing past master plans, what was accomplished, and what was done in contradiction to master plans from the past.

Senator Bell-Metereau commented that one part of an older plan was to move the center of campus to the west.  She suggested that it was a bad idea to move the center of campus away from the center of town, shops in walking distance, etc.  This movement away from downtown was contrary to the practice of most major universities, such as U.C. Berkeley, University of Texas, and others.

Senator Blanda asked about non-SWT entities occupying space on campus, such as the office run by risk management.

Senator Frost noted that many elements from previous plans weren't followed.  March 18th at 1:30 is a presidential open door, which would give faculty an opportunity to address these master plan issues.

IV. Honor code:
Senator Gillis suggested that we could add faculty representatives on this committee to the set of rosters that we appoint, but we should say faculty senate would appoint (rather than being appointed by the deans).

V. School Cancellations
Senator Sawey brought up discussion of timely announcements on weather cancellations, with several senators saying that the university has failed to provide decisions soon enough on several occasions.

VI. Chronic Offender Parking Policy
Senator Peeler reported on the chronic offender parking policy, stipulating that after five tickets, cars will be towed.

Senator Hindson moved that we get rid of the first sentence of the final paragraph including mention of suspension, and Senator James seconded.  Senator Peeler noted that many chronic offenders have permits but don't park in designated areas.  The city says the current chronic offender policy encourages violation in the city.  The motion to accept the chronic offender policy as amended passed with eight in favor and one opposed.

VII. Old Business and new business
Senator Conroy noted that we didn't get a meeting with the chancellor when he was here for the investiture.  Senator Conroy asked if President Trauth said promotions would go forward with accompanying raises.  We will ask for clarification at the March 20th meeting with the President.  Other items for discussion at this meeting or future senate meetings include the following:
  Faculty grievance
  The Board of Regents decision to cut France and German study abroad programs.
  The School closure issue.

Workload RTA'd until next week.

Senator Sawey asked senators to look at the proposed email list and give corrections.

Senator James asked senators to look at workload information and get Associate Vice President Cassidy to support pps change on department and faculty input.

Strategic planning groups should re-convene to get new language into our mission statement, received  February 24.  If some wordsmith wanted to revise, that would be a good idea.  Currently, there is no specific language about shared governance and shared vision.

Next meeting with President Trauth will be Thursday, March 20, 2003, from 10:00 to 11:00.  In order to diversify the group, we should have a list of potential volunteers, and a list of potential questions.  Next meeting we will finalize the issues to be discussed and the participants who will attend.

VII.    Corrections to minutes for February 19th
Senator James asked for additions to the section on how to get implementation of the workload policy to happen across campus.  She requested to add that Cassidy said he would support this workload wording change.

Senator Conroy asked for correction of the spelling of "implementing," and she asked for more detail in the minutes in general.  For example, in the minutes of February 26th, on the last page, item four, the minutes state that Senator Frost and several senators asked if we could change the wording for all three categories.  She said that if she had not been at the meeting she would not know what this meant.  Senator James said she would not read the minutes if they were any longer, and Senator Bell-Metereau explained that Chair Renick had suggested that meeting minutes not go into excessive detail.  The secretary agreed to provide more detailed minutes, if that was the wish of the senate.  No consensus was reached, and no vote was taken on the issue.

Senator Stutzman asked each senator to read and sign the letter on chair and dean evaluation if it looks acceptable.  Senator Sawey requested corrections to the email list.

Faculty Senate adjourned at 6:15.

Approved minutes submitted by Rebecca Bell-Metereau 3/19/03.