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Aug 22, 2007 Minutes

Members present:

Senators Stone, Bond, Davidson, Feakes, Hazlewood, Hindson, McGee, McKinney, Meek, Melzer, Ogletree, Shah, Wilson

Meeting called to order at 4:00.


Creation of a Faculty Development Committee:  At the request of the Senate, Chair Stone has asked Dr. Beth Wuest to provide a written description of the role of the committee and its charge so that the Senate might consider it as a possible faculty committee.


Info Items:  The Senate recommendations on PPS and UPPS revisions.  All in all, Chair Stone thought the exchange of suggestions was pretty successful:

  • PPS 9.03 Academic Affairs Computing Priority Committee Project: The administration has agreed that the composition of the committee be changed to include two faculty members selected by the Faculty Senate and one faculty member selected by the Associate Provost.
  • PPS 5.05 Additional Composition for Additional Duties for Faculty Paid 100 Percent from Sponsored Programs: The administration has agreed that “faulty” member be changed to “faculty” member in item 7.  Additionally, the senate’s request for clarification regarding the step-out salary procedures will result in a more specific statement similar to the step-out salary procedures currently applying to department chairs.
  • PPS 5.04 Start-Up Funds: No decision has been made regarding senate suggestions on the start up funds document.
  • Piper Proposals:  There is some urgency in getting Piper Proposals in.  The complete package needs to be completed by Nov 1.
  • Liaison Meeting:  Senate needs to start thinking of a date for the joint meeting of the Senate and Senate Liaisons.
  • Avent Room:  The President has approved the designation of the Senate meeting room as the Avent Room.  There will be some kind of reception for the formal dedication and presentation of a plaque sometime this fall.


Computing Priority Committee Appointments:  The Senate is recommending Senator Meek, Art & Design, and Ms. Suzanna Doughetry, Physical Therapy, as its appointments the Computing Priority Committee.  It was also noted that the Provost’s Office is recommending the appointment of two former Senators (Dr. Vivek Shah, CISQM, and Dr. Richard Warms, Anthropology) to the committee.  The discussion included the role of the committee and there was mention of whether the Senate should conduct a faculty IT satisfaction survey.


Ombudsman Selection Committee:  The Senate recommended three senators to the President’s Ombudsman Selection Committee: Dr. John McGee, Finance & Eco; Dr. Debra Feakes, Chem & Biochem; and Dr. Ian Davidson, Music.  The naming of a new ombudsman is necessary since Dr. Walter Rudzinski, Chem & Biochem, has recently been named interim chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.


Development of Senate Priorities:  The Senate discussed several topics that might be considered priorities for the coming year.  Some ideas that came forward were:

·         Tenure/Promotion:  All university and college documents reference departmental criteria. Do departmental documents actually exist and, if so, have they been approved at the college and university levels?  The existence and following of approved documents could resolve some of the uncertainty at the various levels of the tenure/promotion process.

·         Start up clause in Faculty contracts: There is a great deal of new faculty anxiety regarding the phrase: “Start Up clause: Start up package of $xxxx.xx. You will be expected to obtain external funding which in turn will generate an amount at least equal to $xxxx.xx in indirect funding during your probationary period.” being put in the contracts of new faculty. What does the statement actually mean?  Rumors abound.  Is the statement really worth the ill will that it is generating?

·         Governance for Departmental programs:  There is some concern about governance for departmental programs, e.g., departmental study abroad programs.  Where is the departmental faculty oversight for such programs? What is the relationship between faculty who run study abroad programs and the Study Abroad Office?

·         Reimbursement for Travel to Round Rock:  A question was raised regarding when faculty members would be reimbursed for travel to and from the RR campus.  Would reimbursements occur as needed or once per semester?  Some clarification seems needed.

·         Transition from Course Fee Funding to M&O Funding:  As the university moves from department funding through course fees to M&O via tuition, will the money actually go to the right place?  Maybe there should be developed some budget transparency at the departmental and college level, with focus on how M&O is being allocated in lieu of the removal of course fee dollars?

·         Graduate Enrollment in Summer School:  Some concern was expressed regarding changes in K-12 start and end times with respect to the university’s summer schedule and how lack of coordination might affect graduate enrollment.  The summer schedule is developed by the Registration and Calendar Coordinating Committee.

·         Library Hours:  There is some concern that as the university develops more and more graduate programs, regular open hours of the Alkek Library are insufficient.


PAAG Agenda Development:  Ideas were discussed for the coming PAAG agenda.  The Chair noted topics from past agendas for the benefit of the new senators.  Topics considered for possible inclusion were:

·         Space issues

·         Merit data

·         Print services for faculty and students

·         Disability issues

·         Departmental governance issues


Drug & Alcohol UPPS 04.04.xx:  A number of issues remain in the current draft of the Drugs, Alcohol, and Performance Altering Substances UPPS 04.04.xx.  An ad hoc committee consisting of Senators McGee, Melzer, and Ogletree will work on a possible senate recommendation.


Minutes:  Minutes for 07/25/07 were approved as amended.