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Feb 22, 2006 Minutes

Faculty Senate Minutes 02/22/06

Members present:

Chair Stone, Senators Brennan, Conroy, Fite, Hazlewood, Hindson, Homeyer, James, McKinney, Montondon, Rao, Shah, Warms, Winek

  Guests: AVPAA Bourgeois and AVPIT Nielsen

  Meeting called to order at 4:00.


Senior Lecturer: VPAA Bourgeois met with the Senate to discuss the new position of Senior Lecturer.While an official policy will probably not be in place until next fall, the creation of the new position is an effort to identify all adjunct faculty at the University and to classify them as either a Lecturer or a Senior Lecturer.The title of Instructor will no longer be used. The Senior Lecturer designation would go to non-tenure track faculty who have been here for a while.A Senior Lecturer would have a three-year appointment renewable annually based on performance, and while the position is primarily a teaching appointment, it might now have some expanded service and scholarship duties.There is no anticipated salary change with the appointment although the position will be specifically considered in the equity cycle this year.(See Equity, below)�� The new title will now allow some departments to offer adjuncts full-time appointments.Other departments might consolidate some of their adjunct appointments into a Senior Lectureship or tenure-track appointments.


Equity Cycle: The equity cycle will be done at the same time as merit/performance actions this year, but VPAA Bourgeois made it very clear that equity is not merit.Equity adjustments are not to be used to raise salaries that are low due to non-meritorious performance. Faculty hired within the last three years will not be considered for equity adjustments.A portion of the equity dollars will be set aside for the senior lecturer rank. This is to counteract the past actions of some departments where equity adjustments at the lecturer rank were used to raise salaries of other ranks. The administration does not want that to happen in this cycle.


Graduate Assistant Class Load:An e-mail from the graduate dean, Dean Willoughby, has indicated that there will no longer be waivers to the required 9 hours load for instructional assistants and teaching assistants.In the past, there has been some flexibility in the load requirement for ta�s and ra�s in their last semester, but the e-mail seems to indicate that that will no longer be the case.VPAA Bourgeois indicated that a memo from Dean Willoughby did not have the same language, indicating that waivers could still exist, but would be decided on a case-by-case basis. He will consult with Dean Willoughby to resolve what the policy actually is.


PAAG Agenda:There was a brief discussion of possible agenda items for the 03/08/06 PAAG meeting with President Trauth.It was decided that one issue for the agenda would be the course load for new hires.Other issues will be considered by e-mail before the meeting.


No Senate Meeting:There will be no Senate meeting 03/01/06.


ITS:AVPIT Nielsen met with the Senate to discuss several questions:

1.        Were any faculty consulted before the decision was made to delete SPSS and SAS from the VMS system? He indicated that there had been an initial mailing in September with follow-up in February that received minimal responses.The Campus Information Resource Advisory Council (CIRAC) also discussed the item in November. Due to the cost of the VMS version of SPSS and the virtual end-of-life of the VMS system, it had to go.SPSS and SAS will be available to faculty via the new Lab Software Program which will make all Tier I and Tier II software available for all university labs.

2.        Part of the IT software documentation process was the proposal to provide upgrades to the current editions of lab software like SPSS. When will the upgrades occur? The process is ongoing with deans, chairs and department lab managers.Tier I and Tier II software will be made available to all labs with no cost to departments.

3.        When will the IT division support the upgrade to newer versions of productivity software like MS Office 12? IT will evaluate the new version during the first 3-6 months after the production release with regard to its impact on other applications and to identify potential support requirement arising from the rollout.If there are substantive problems, the rollout will be delayed.MS Office 12 is a very special case.There are concerns with its user interface, incompatibilities with prior versions, and interoperability with other applications complicated by the release of the new operating system, Vista.

4.        In the conversion to the new exchange system the faculty are encountering a number of functionality issues. Were any faculty consulted as to their needs before the system was adopted? IT compared systems and decided that Exchange was the more stable, usable system. There was communication with deans, chairs, faculty, staff and student organizations over an 18-month period. The College of Business was brought in at a very early stage and the Department of Geography served as a pilot group. Dr. Nielsen solicited and received comments on unanswered issues, which he will take back to the project manager. These items ranged to updating address books to group mailing lists.

5.        It is our understanding that Blackboard is being replaced by a new software package. What is the new package and were any faculty consulted in the selection   of the new software? Nielsen indicated that we are migrating to a better product, Sakai/TRACS (Teaching, Research and Collaboration System). He went through a long list of capabilities and improvements over the current system.

6.        When do we anticipate going to a broader application of wireless technology on  the Texas State campus, for example, regional towers instead of building by building? It is here! There are wireless locations in more than twenty locations.

7.        When will the Senate receive its new web page? As he was talking about the items above, a technician constructed a template for what should be the new Senate web page. He will work with Senator Shah to bring the new page into actual being.