Skip to Content

Nov 6, 2002 Minutes


Approved Senate Minutes
November 6, 2002

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

Senators Absent: Blanda

Liaisons Present: Angirasa, Earl, Flaherty, Hoffman, McGee, Minifie, Shanmugam, Stephenson, Taylor, Williams,

Guests: Brown, Ellis, Habingreither, Henry, Mogab and Reese

The Senate-Liaison meeting was called to order at approximately 4:00 p.m.

Agenda Item [1]  Welcome and Introduction

Chair Renick welcomed the Senate liaisons and reviewed the meeting agenda. Much of the agenda was devoted to a discussion of the Senate’s prioritized objectives. Chair Renick asked that liaisons look for opportunities in the objectives to participate and become more involved in Senate activities other than conducting elections.

Chair Renick also asked for a moment of silence for Professor Lesley Jones, who died in a recent automobile accident on Ranch Road 12.

All meeting participants introduced themselves and the departments they represent.

Agenda Item [2] ? Prioritized Objectives

Each of the 10 Senate objectives was presented and discussed by various Senate members.

Objective (1)-
The Senate will actively and significantly share governance with the University President and Administration and work to align the University Mission Statement, core values, and strategic planning documents with implementation options.

Several Senators are on a faculty committee chaired by Joan Hays to critique the planning processes at SWT. Senators Stone and Sawey indicated that the charge is very narrow and not what was originally expected. Additionally, both the Council of Chairs and the Council of Deans are conducting reviews of the planning process as well. Senator Sawey notes that the work is dull and nothing may be accomplished from the committee’s efforts. An apparent shortfall is the development of meaningful analysis of the cost of newly proposed programs, particularly new Ph.D. programs.

Objective (2)
In the service of faculty ownership of and jurisdiction over the curriculum, the Senate will evaluate the process for reviewing and approving all aspects of University life that impinge upon curriculum. The Senate is committed to developing an accountability model for evaluation and approval of all doctoral programs and to obtain additional tenure-track faculty lines allocated in support of undergraduate education.

The Senate has previously expressed disappointment with the proliferation of new courses and programs at SWT. Currently the Senate only reviews new programs and does not see new course proposals. Course proposals are examined in the University Curriculum Senate Committee. Senator Hindson commented that curriculum belongs to the faculty and that the Senate should review and approve both new program and course proposals before they are approved by Deans and the VPAA. Currently the Senate and members of the University Curriculum Committee are revamping the review and, hopefully, the approval process.

Objective (3)
The Senate will make specific recommendations concerning core faculty professional issues:
-Post tenure review, including policies, procedures and processes;
-Hiring guidelines for faculty recruitment, including hiring patterns, use and abuse of temporary/adjunct faculty members, and allocation of tenure track positions; and
-Faculty salary issues, including such concerns as salary compression, salary equity adjustments, policies and procedures pertaining to performance, merit issues, workload, etc.

Senators James and Frost noted that there is a new post tenure review document that has been written which needs to be pushed forward for consideration and approval. Additionally, the Senate is concerned about the reallocation of faculty lines and workload policies. Workload policies are troubling in that there appears to be no faculty involvement, SWT policies are out of step with both state and other Texas university policies and the implementation of SWT policies appears to be very inequitable across the campus--a problem which may become even more inequitable with the increase in Ph.D. programs.

Senator Stutzman reported that a salary compression study is underway. Data is currently being requested, and the University of Houston modeling technique will be used. Senator Bell-Metereau is preparing a proposal to receive some grant funding from the Texas Association of Faculty Senators to gather data and compression studies completed by various Texas universities.

Objective (4)
The Senate will develop recommendations to increase faculty involvement in the evaluation processes for administrators--chairs, deans, assistant and associate vice presidents and the President--both to ensure accountability of administrators and to assess costs of the administrative infrastructure as a whole.

Senator Stone has completed a draft of questionnaires for Dean and Chair evaluations to be conducted during the 2003 Spring Semester. Further, IDEA survey (conducted last year) data have finally been delivered to the Senate. Comparisons between the Senate survey and IDEA will eventually be made. Senators Sawey, Conroy and Stutzman are also involved in this objective.

Objective (5)
The Senate will monitor University financial management to ensure an alignment of resources--actual expenditures and apportionment of discretionary spending and reserves--with the mission and strategic plans of the university.

Senator Hindson reported that this objective is on hold until the mission and strategic plans have been revised and are in place.

Objective (6)
The Senate will monitor proposed reallocations of faculty full-time equivalents (FTEs) based on student credit hours (SCH) and make recommendations concerning the alignment of proposed reallocations with the University’s mission statement, core values and strategic goals.

Senator Bell-Metereau has talked with both Chairs and Deans regarding FTE reallocation based on SCHs. She reported that “nobody seems to know anything” regarding this issue. The Senate will have to be reactive as to what will occur. Senator Brennan commented that faculty do not understand or appreciate FTE/SCH discussions very well.

Objective (7)
The Senate will seek action on needs identified in the 2001-2002 report on University facilities and infrastructure.

Senator Peeler reported on two presentations given by Nancy Nusbaum on University facilities. Last year she provided an update on deferred maintenance: an alarming $120 million amount being addressed at a rate of $5-10 million per year. This year she reported on current and planned new construction. Senator Peeler’s concern is: “Can the Senate and faculty do anything to help?” The facility decisions are made by a little known Facilities Issues Subcommittee where faculty have little voice. Ms. Nusbaum has agreed to add another faculty member to this committee. Senator Frost has agreed to serve. He comments that there are lots of meetings and hopes to build a theme of construction and arrangement of academic facilities. He comments, “Why are Police and Parking in the center of the academic community?”

Senator Bell-Metereau noted that environmental issues (e.g., green space) need to be considered. Further, moving departments from building to building reduces continuity and does not allow the University to build tradition with various stakeholders.

The Chancellor of the Texas State University System is the ultimate decision-maker regarding facility issues. Chair Renick stated that the Chancellor may meet with the Senate in February when he attends President Trauth’s investiture.

Objective (8)
The Senate will monitor athletic programs--including financing, academic standards, retention of scholarships, and player injuries--and ensure that said programs align with the highest purposes of SWT.

Senator Hindson reported that this objective is on hold pending what will occur in IA football. A possible IA plus division may emerge. Then SWT might possibly play teams like North Texas, Rice, SMU, Houston, etc.

Objective (9)
The Senate will advocate for and initiate action on a University Policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Senator Sawey noted that the University, not Texas State University System, PPS on discrimination has been revised to include sexual orientation. This issue has come up before, and the Board of Regents did not support it for the TSUS. However, at Senate insistence, former President Supple did initiate the change during his lame duck period. The Senate unanimously approved the revised PPS, and it should be approved by the President’s Cabinet soon.

Objective (10)
The Senate will continue to develop and refine a communication process that will identify faculty concerns, communicate them carefully to the Administration, and monitor action on those concerns. [Although the range of topics is unlimited, we cite for purpose of illustration the issue of academic honesty.]

The purpose of this objective is to help keep the faculty informed about what the Senate is doing, solicit faculty opinions, get the faculty involved and interact accordingly. Senator Brennan noted that faculty to not know what the Senate does, they don’t read the minutes, etc. The Senate wants to send e-mails to keep faculty informed and solicit comments. Additionally, both Senators and liaisons need to follow up on any comments or suggestions made by faculty.

Technology problems were discussed by Senators James and Sawey regarding communication with faculty including continually updated databases, asking Information Technology for permission, subscription issues and not all faculty have e-mail access. Liaisons and Senators would be active contact points.

A brief discussion by Chair Renick and Senator Gillis regarding academic honesty occurred. A student referendum vote on a modified honor code has been delayed. An honor code report will be given at the University Council meeting next week. Senator Gillis indicated that the modified honor code would provide information to students and have students sign their names to indicate that they have not cheated. Students would also be responsible for adjudication. She asked that faculty encourage students to vote (either yes or no) when the referendum occurs.

Agenda Item 3 ? Around the Table for Liaison Issues and Discussion


Parking ? Liaison Stephenson noted that faculty are teaching more evening classes and need parking spaces. The opening of all spaces after 3 p.m. is not working well for faculty. Is it possible to have more gated lots? Police are always parked illegally. One Senator’s forecast is that the faculty parking issue is going to get ugly unless the appropriate folk start listening. Fee increases and reduced space availability for the folk teaching here is simply unacceptable.

Communication ? Liaison Taylor noted that the Senate needs to be responsive to faculty e-mails (Objective 10).

 Liaison Flaherty noted that e-mails are very easy to delete--particularly since most faculty are currently overwhelmed by them each day.

Salary Compression ? Liaison Flaherty noted that the issue is not only compression but inversion as well. This point is well known to the compression study committee.

 Liaison McGee noted that public school teachers are making more than some SWT faculty members in certain disciplines.

Workload Policies? Liaison McGee asked why SWT’s policy was not the State’s policy. He suggested that the Senate continue to pursue this issue. President Trauth in the last PAAG meeting indicated that she thought this was a nonissue. Obviously many faculty members recognize that there is a problem with both the SWT policy and administrative implementation of the policy.

Travel? Senator Conroy asked if faculty were experiencing problems with the travel office and reimbursements. Student travel seems to be given a more difficult time than faculty travel.

Facilities? Liaison Williams indicated that in addition to maintenance, housekeeping seems to be a problem too.

Library? Liaison Earl asked if it were possible to obtain Science and Social Services abstracts in our library.

Academic Program Reviews? Liaison Minifie indicated that Chairs are reluctant to share financial data for program reviews and make changes to the report drafts by faculty that are not justified. This issue relates to Objective 1 and indicates that administrations are not willing to commit to working with faculty. Senator Bell-Metereau noted that at many universities across the state, the President and Vice President attend all Faculty Senate meetings to stay abreast of faculty concerns and issues.

Faculty Handbook Change ? Discussion regarding the fact that the Faculty Handbook was often not followed by administration was voiced. Further, it was pointed out that several changes need to be made to the handbook regarding post tenure review, elections, graduation attendance, etc. Chair Renick indicated that it may be that attendance at only one graduation ceremony will be required. Further Kathy Fite, chair of the handbook committee is on the agenda to visit the Senate in the near future.

A break occurred from about 5:10 to 5:20 p.m.

Agenda Item [4] - Curriculum Committee Recommendations

Chair Renick welcomed Roy Martin, Chair of the University Curriculum Committee and guests interested in new program proposals. The following proposals were considered and approved by the Curriculum Committee on October 18, 2002:

1. Add a Latin American Business concentration under the Master of Business Administration.
2. Add a Master of Education major in Educational Technology.
3. Change the Science requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degrees.
4. Change the Master of Arts major in Spanish.
5. Delete the Master of Arts in Teaching major in Spanish.
6. Change the Master of Science in Health Professions major in Health Professions-Healthcare Human Resources to a Master of Science major in Healthcare Human Resources.

The Latin American Business Program was approved with no opposition.

The Master of Education in Educational Technology was approved: 7 for, 2 opposed and 3 abstentions.

The addition of Physical Geography as a science requirement for the Bachelor of Arts degrees was approved: 8 for, 3 opposed and 0 abstentions.

The change of the Master of Arts major in Spanish was approved: 11 for, 0 opposed and 1 abstention.

Deletion of the Master of Arts teaching major in Spanish was approved: 11 for, 0 opposed and 1 abstention.

The Master of Science in Health Care Human Resources was approved: 9 for, 1 opposed and 2 abstentions.

After the discussion of curriculum proposals, the Senate continued following the day’s agenda by considering Old Business.

Agenda Item [5]  Old Business

Due to time constraints Junk Mail and External Grants were RTA’d. The Texas Council of Faculty Senate issue was related to Senator Bell-Metereau’s grant proposal regarding salary compression studies. This was mentioned above. Chair Renick mentioned again that the chancellor may visit the Senate in February.

Agenda Item [6] New Business

Development leaves will be reviewed over two Senate meetings. Senators must be present at both meetings to vote on faculty proposals.
Workload and faculty line-reallocation will be added to the PAAG agenda.
Kathy Fite will be present to discuss the change process for the Faculty Handbook.
The Senate will have opportunities to meet with President Trauth on November 21st for 30 minutes and on December 12th for one hour. Not all Senators will be present for these meetings.
The Chair of the Faculty Senate is involved in the investiture ceremonies for the new President.
Joan Hays has volunteered to be the mace bearer on Saturday for December’s Graduation Ceremonies. Senator Bell-Metereau will serve on Friday for Fine Arts and Liberal Arts.
With minor changes, the minutes of October 30, 2002 were approved.
Senator Peeler requested that the Senate go into Executive Session to discuss the applicants for Ombudsman.
Finally, Senator Bell-Metereau has volunteered to be the minute taker. Hallelujah!!

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 6:17 p.m.