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Oct 10, 2007 Minutes

Members present:

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

Guests: Provost Perry Moore; Assoc. Provost Gene Bourgeois; Man. Jacqueline Slaughter, Bookstore; Asst. Man. Douglas Tatsch, Bookstore; Dr. Pat Cassidy, Chem & Biochem; Dr. Charles Bousman, Anthropology; Dr. Alberto Giordano, Geography; Scott Thomas, University Star

Meeting called to order at 4:00.


PAAG:  Provost Moore and Assoc. Provost Bourgeois were in attendance.  President Trauth was unable to attend.  Discussion:

·         Drug & Alcohol UPPS 4.01.xx Draft:  Chair Stone related the history of the Senate’s review of the draft UPPS.  The division of Human Resources has presented the draft UPPS as primarily a management tool while the Senate’s stance is that drug policy should not extend beyond what is required by federal law which does not require drug testing for all employees. Problem issues with threats should be handled by UPD and problem issues with performance should be handled with existing policy.  Provost Moore indicated that he did not disagree with any of the objections raised by the Senate regarding the draft UPPS.  He stated that he is responsible for policy affecting faculty and that the draft was not approved by his office.  He further stated that he would review the policy and make a judgment on the issue by the end of the month.

·         Start-Up Clause: The senate is concerned about the start-up clause that is being included in new faculty contracts if they receive start-up funds. The particular phrase: “ Start Up Clause:  Start up package of $ ____________.  You will be expected to obtain external funding which in turn will generate an amount at least equal to $  ________ in indirect cost funding during your probationary period” is seen as especially onerous due the fact that many external grants provide little or no indirect funding. This raises the question: “exactly what does the added clause to faculty contracts mean and what actual impact will the clause have on tenure/promotion decisions?”  Provost Moore responded that start-up funding was instituted by the Provost’s Office in order to be competitive for faculty recruitment and that 99% of start-up funding actually goes to only four academic departments in the College of Science:  Biology, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Engineering and Physics.  There are a few small start-up awards in several other departments.  He stated that having the clause in faculty contracts may be unusual, but that it was not unusual to expect external grants for faculty members to continue their research after the start-up funds are expended.  Very large start-up funding results in high expectations from their department, college and the higher administration for a faculty member to continue to get support.  He indicated that start-up funds were only a one-time source of funding and if a faculty member was to succeed with an expensive research program, external grants were a necessity for such programs to continue.  After some discussion, the Provost indicated that he would alter the start-up clause in contracts to say: “Start Up Clause:  Start up package of $ ____________.  You will be expected to obtain that amount of external funding during your probationary period.”  While some senators would have preferred that there be no start-up clause in faculty contracts, the revised statement is a significant adjustment.  The Provost emphasized that getting external grants was not to provide funding for research generally, but to provide funding to individual faculty members so they could continue their research.

  • The Uniform Start Time for Classes: There was some discussion of the uniform start schedule for classes that seems to have resulted a four-day-per-week class schedule.  Some groups on campus have expressed dissatisfaction with the schedule.  The Provost indicated that the new class schedule was still in its infancy and we should wait a little while before deciding whether it is reasonable or not.  He stated that whatever schedule the University ultimately used, the schedule had to be one that students could trust to provide them with the classes they needed at the time they could take them so there must be some form of standardization.

University Bookstore Issues:  There was some concern expressed regarding the availability of textbooks during the academic semester.  The concern was that students were unable to get textbooks because they had been all sold or removed from the shelves before they were able to purchase them. Bookstore Manager Jacqueline Slaughter and Asst. Manager Douglas Tatsch were invited to discuss how the University Bookstore handles textbooks.  Ms. Slaughter indicated that it was the mission of the Bookstore to get necessary books into the hands of the University’s students.  The Bookstore tries to have needed textbooks on the shelves before the beginning of each semester, but there is an approximate 60-day period after which unsold texts are removed from the shelves and returned to publishers, with used books beginning to be returned after 30 days and then new texts returned later.  It basically takes the entire semester to return unsold books and restock shelves for the beginning of the next semester.  She stressed that if a book was no longer on the shelf, the Bookstore would special order it with no additional charge.  Such special orders usually take no longer than two days.  She indicated that the Bookstore always tries to provide used books if available in order to reduce student expenditures.  She reiterated that any problems should be brought to her attention and that the major objective was to meet the needs of the students and the faculty.


Faculty Development Leave Guidelines: There was some discussion of the Provost’s announcement of five awards of $20,000 each for faculty who receive Faculty Development Leaves.  These grants are to assist faculty in their research efforts and can be used:

  • To fund travel and lodging costs associated with research expenses during the Faculty Development Leave.
  • To purchase equipment or materials needed for research during the Faculty Development Leave.
  • As a salary supplement for those who select both the fall and spring semesters for a Faculty Development Leave.  The $20,000 award will be combined with other funds from the Provost Office to provide up to 100% of salary for an academic year leave.

A committee formed by the Provost will review all requests for these awards from faculty who have been approved by the President for Faculty Development Leaves.  This committee will recommend five award recipients to the Provost who will make the final decisions. Faculty who wish to apply for the award must complete the regular application for Faculty Development Leave and attach an explanation (no more than one page) of how they intend to spend the $20,000 award.


There was some confusion as to whether an applicant could apply for the $20,000 award without applying for a full-year leave and if someone applied for the award, but didn’t get it, could they then opt for a half-year leave.  Word from the Provost’s Office is that one must apply for a full-year leave to be eligible for the $20,000 award and if the $20,000 was not awarded, the application for leave could be changed to a half-year leave.


New Business and Info: 

  • Pivot Tables:  A pivot table is a data summarization tool found in data visualization programs such as spread sheets.  Joe Meyer, Dir. Of Institutional Research will be invited to give the Senate a demonstration.
  • Committee Replacements: Senator Meek was named to fill a vacancy for the Service group of the President’s Excellence Awards Committee.  Dr. James Housefield, Art and Design, will fill a vacancy on the Scholarly Creative group.
  • Security Cameras in the Free Speech Areas: There are three places on campus where persons may demonstrate and express ideas and opinions in a manner that respects the University’s interests and the rights of others: the Quad, being the area from the first row of sidewalk steps east of LBJ Drive to the Fighting Stallions statue in front of Leland Derrick Hall, bounded on the north by the Psychology Building and the Taylor-Murphy History Building, and on the south by Flowers Hall and Evans Liberal Arts Building; the grassy mall in front of the J.C. Kellam Administration Building bounded on the west by the front steps to the building and on the east by the fish ponds; and the paved mall area between Alkek Library and the LBJ Student Center which does not include the Alkek Library breezeway.  Concern was expressed regarding the placing of security cameras in these areas.  The Chair will invite someone from Campus Security to discuss the issue.
  • Mace Bearers for Graduation: Senators Davidson, Shah, Wiley and Wilson were named as Mace Bearers for the December graduation ceremonies.
  • Nepotism Issue:  A question was raised regarding the spousal relationship between the Dean of Education and the newly appointed Director of Equity and Access.  Is it a problem?  Discussion will continue next week.


Minutes:  Minutes for 10/03/07 were approved as amended.