April 5, 2006 Minutes
Approved Minutes for 04/05/06Members present:
Chair Stone, Senators Brennan, Conroy, Davidson, Fite, Hazlewood, Hindson, Homeyer, James, McKinney, Montondon, Rao, Shah, Sorensen, Winek
Guests: President Trauth, Provost Moore, AVPAA Bourgeois, AVPAA Cassidy, AVPEM Heintze
Meeting called to order at 4:00.
PAAG: President Trauth first addressed the Senate's questions about the Board of Regents.
Consent Agenda: With regard to question about the Regents' new consent agenda, she explained that the Board's staff goes through all potential motions for a particular meeting and decides which items are to be consent items and which items need to be considered by the full board. Consent items are generally decided in subcommittee meetings so that by the time the full board meets, they are already a done deal. Thus, a board meeting has fewer issues that are undecided before the meeting, which relieves much of the anxiety of having surprises from the Board. Issues that regularly come before our Board of Regents deal with construction. Our campus is large enough that we do a lot of the preparation with architects and construction management on campus and are able to make some of the local construction issue consent items. Smaller institutions in the system don't have the staff to do those things in advance. All in all, the President sees the consent agenda as a good thing.
Location of Board Meetings: Regarding the location of future board meetings, the President sees a tendency of the Board to meet close to Austin although the Board is required by statute to meet occasionally on local campuses. Due to travel restrictions it is getting more difficult to meet on some campuses. This will probably result in more local committees of the Board meeting on our campus. Referring to a question about potential paranoia from other institutions in the system thinking Texas State has the Board in our hip pocket, the President indicated that Texas State is generally the institution that brings innovation and new ideas to the Board, so such paranoia is probably well founded. For example, Instructional Technology at the system level is going to hinge off of what we do locally at Texas State.
Perceptions: Responding to the question of whether proposed agenda items from other universities will be significant to Texas State, the President responded that that usually goes the other way. We are the ones who generally initiate items that will affect other campuses. Currently, course fees are a hot item driven primarily by Texas A&M and UT Austin. We just went though an audit on course fees. We have a sophisticated methodology for increasing course fees that was easy to justify in the audit.
Generally: The President indicated that there is the possibility statewide of some systems being consolidated and the next legislative session will focus on higher education. She also indicated that there is some hope that the Sharp Commission might solve some of the K-12 problems. She is optimistic with regard to Texas State's relationship with our Board of Regents. The Princeton Review reference to Texas State will be a big help. Summarizing, being a big fish in a small pond is good for the time being.
Faculty Handbook: The Provost indicated that it should be ready by the start of the fall semester, 2006. His office is still directing inquiries on the handbook to prior edition posted at http://grosz.math.txstate.edu/~handbook.
Criminal Records Check: Regarding the Senate query about the coming criminal records check to be required of all new employees as of September, 2006, the Provost indicated that the reason was that negligence in taking reasonable caution with new employees could result in lawsuits. There will be an expense. Prior checks on some positions had cost about $4000 per year. It is anticipated that the new policy will cost $15000 per year. Regarding the actual questions that the Senate posed: 1) Who will have access to the records?, 2) What would be a disqualifying offense?, 3) Will the Senate have input on the development of the policies?, there are no answers yet. He indicated that he might ask the Senate to look at some of these issues. The Provost mentioned that other institutions were now doing such records checks. What he hopes will develop is a reasonable approach to the issue. When asked the checks will apply to current faculty, he said no. He went on to relate that the issue is being driven by an actual case where an individual at our institution caused problems and was subsequently terminated. Also, there is a genuine concern about liability.
Presidential Fellow Project: This year there is no identified special project for presidential fellow candidates. It was felt that by identifying a project in advance restricted the applicant pool. After selection, there will be a presidential fellow project, but it will be determined by mutual agreement between the president and the new fellow.
120 hour degree rule: It has been determined that the bill passed by the legislature that an undergraduate degree require 120 hours of credit by Fall, 2008, will have to be addressed. University College Dean Ron Brown will chair a committee to develop a policy statement for Texas State.
Equity/Marketing: There was some discussion with AVPAA Bourgeois about the coming equity cycle. One of the issues is: who is eligible and who is not. The formulas are not different from the last cycle. It will again use the medians of the CUPA data rather than the means. He indicated that all faculty are eligible for the minimal % adjustment unless they are cited for non-performance. He indicated that past merit raises would be one of the parameters this cycle. The administration wants Personnel Committees to think about why there may be disparities in salaries. Performance, time-in-rank, merit or lack of merit should be weighed in the decisions. Lecturers have been singled out in this cycle and the monies allotted to the lecturer rank must be allocated to that rank.
Development Leaves: The Senate reviewed development leave applications of five faculty members: Elaine Eikner, Accounting, Joycelyn Pollock, Criminal Justice, Dennis Dunn, History, Stephen Gordon, EAPS and Russ Hodges, EAPS. The remaining applicants will be considered at the next Senate meeting.
Election Process: The trial senate election for Applied Arts seems to be progressing without incident. The initial memo was circulated allowing candidates to have their names withdrawn from the ballot. Five members used the option. Ballots were available on Monday, and so far, there has been a 50% response rate with no complaints. Business and Science elections will start this week, with ballots next week.
Chair Opinion Survey: The data from the administration survey on chairs is coming. The deans are also talking about posting the written comments.
New Business: An item requested for future consideration: parking issues. Also, it was announced that the Marketing Plan Committee is being formed. The deans have made recommendations for its membership.
Minutes: Minutes for 03/23/06 and 03/29/06 were approved.