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July 23, 2008 Minutes

Minutes for 07/23/08


Members present:  Senators Feakes, Bond, Brown, Furney, C. Hazlewood, D. Hazlewood, McGee, Meek, Melzer, Shah, Stone


Guests: Dr. Elizabeth Skerpan-Wheeler, English; Rebecca Swindal, Staff Council Representative


Meeting called to order at 4:00.


Info Items:

  • Summer Mace Bearers:  Senators Furney and Stone, Dr. Verna Hensen, Texas Success Initiative Prog.
  • Handout for Fall Enrollment Corrections is on file in the Senate Office
  • Next Senate Meeting:  August 27, 2008
  • The Monthly Income Report is on file in the Senate Office


URC Recommendation:  Discussion continued with Dr. Skepan-Wheeler, Chair, concerning revisions in the University Research Committee document regarding action in the event that a funded faculty member leaves his/her position before the end of the grant period.  The original wording was: “Should the grant recipient voluntarily resign his/her position before the end of the grant period, the faculty member must repay all expended funds, except student wages and equipment purchases.”  The Research Committee recommended revising the statement to one that more accurately reflects what actually happens.  The recommended new wording is: “Faculty members receiving a Research Enhancement Grant are expected to serve as a continuing faculty member at Texas State University-San Marcos for the duration of the grant period.  If the employment status of the faculty member changes during the grant period, the faculty member should immediately notify the Assistant VP for Research of the change.  The grant account will be inactivated on the last day of employment and any unexpended funds will be returned to the Research Enhancement Grant account for future allocation.”  The Senate agreed that this was a more practical approach and approved the recommendation.


Faculty Employment Application: A faculty member raised a complaint regarding the length and redundancy of the current application required of all applicants for faculty appointments at Texas State.  Discussion focused on the section requiring a list of all criminal history of an applicant, whereas the PPS 07.20, Criminal Background Checks, refers only to felony history.  The chair will investigate the possibility of shortening the form to avoid redundancy and to answer the question raised about criminal background checks.  The issue will be on the next Senate agenda.


University Council/Committee Assignments: The Senate considered recommendations for appointments to several University Councils/Committees.

  • Presidential Work Life Advisory Council:  The council reviews available survey data, current programs, and policies.  It advises the Work Life Coordinator regarding issues and priorities, and advises institutional leadership regarding work life issues and concerns.  Dr. Ron Sawey, Computer Science was recommended.
  • Texas State Mediation Advisory Council:  The council oversees and coordinates mediation services, develops policies for mediation, and participates in long-term planning for mediation services for the University.  Dr. Janet Hale, Finance & Economics, was recommended.
  • Transportation and Parking Committee:  The committee studies and makes recommendations to the University Council regarding transportation and parking policies at the University, advises the University Council on issues related to the shuttle bus system and the parking system, and reviews appeals of suspension of parking privileges. Dr. Jon Bible, Finance & Economics, was recommended.
  • Orientation Planning Committee:  The committee reviews policies and programming for New Student Orientation.  Dr. Jo Beth Oestrieich, Curriculum & Instruction, was recommended.
  • Energy Conservation Committee:  The committee proposes methods for conserving energy, and generates public support and cooperation for energy conservation efforts.  Dr. Eric Kirby, Management, was recommended.

There was some discussion regarding which faculty members were eligible for University Council membership.  The issue will be considered at the next meeting.  The Senate Rules were suspended in order to consider the above recommendation at the current meeting.  All recommendations were approved.


Senate Committee Assignments:  The Committee on Committees runs an annual preference poll for Senate Committee assignments.  There is some concern that the preference poll does not work well for suggesting the assignment of committee chairs.  Another issue that was raised was whether the University Insurance Committee has outlived its usefulness.  Both issues will be considered at the next meeting.





Retirement Benefits: A question was raised regarding the time lapse between a request for benefits from a retirement benefits carrier and the actual time a person receives those benefits.  Examples mentioned indicated a possible lapse of as long two weeks.  Are carriers deliberately holding benefits to accrue interest for themselves?  Electronic checking should enable assets to be transferred  almost instantly. Dr. James Stutzman, Chair of the Senate’s University Retirement Committee, will investigate the issue and report back to the Senate.


New Business:

Faculty Development Leaves – A question was raised regarding the Senate policy that makes Senators ineligible for development leave while serving on the Senate.  Pros and cons regarding the policy were expressed. The issue will probably become an agenda item at a future meeting.


Minutes:  Minutes for 06/18/08 were approved.