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Nov 19, 2008 Minutes


Minutes for 11/19/08
Members present: Senators Feakes, Bond, Caldwell, Conroy, Furney, C. Hazlewood, D. Hazlewood, Martin, Melzer, Minifie, Shah, Stone, Wilson
Guests: Dr. B.J. Friedman, Family & Consumer Sci.; Dr. Elizabeth Skerpan-Wheeler, English; Dr. Michael Blanda, Asst. VP, Rsch. & Fed. Relats.
Meeting called to order at 4:00
Piper Selection Committee Recommendations:  The Chair, Dr. B.J. Friedman, circulated suggestions from her committee that they felt would improve the Piper Selection process. Suggestions included:
  1. Require digital submission of applications.
  2. Require completion of both part A and part B of the application by applicants. While traditionally only part B was required for the application, the committee felt that having part A completed with the initial application offered the committee more information upon which to base their decision.
  3. Require the Piper application template be used for all applications.
  4. Provide a standardized answer to the section, “How was the nominee selected.”
  5. Request that social security numbers be omitted from the application process and be required only after the final nominee is selected.
  6. Offer a section on the Senate Webpage to provide guidance for applicants, including examples of applications from successful Piper applicants.
Discussion centered on whether it was appropriate for the applicant to fill out part A of the application. Part A had been traditionally filled out by the Selection Committee. Several options were suggested regarding the issue. Senators are expected to consider the committee recommendations and a decision will be made at a later date.
REP Committee Recommendation:  Dr. Elizabeth Skerpan-Wheeler and Dr. Michael Blanda presented the REP recommendation for research enhancement grants. The Senate will consider acceptance of the committee’s recommendation at the next meeting.
Modified Retirement:  The basic recommendation for change in UPPS 04.04.51 – Phased Retirement Plan for Faculty -- to change the Agreement section, 04.04, from a “one to three year” to a “one to five year” agreement -- was made last week. Other pen/ink changes offered by Dr. John McGee, Finance & Economics, were approved.
Worklife Council Recommendation: Chair of the Council, Dr. Roseann Mandziuk, Communication Studies, forwarded a recommendation for the University to enter a contract with UT Advantage to obtain their proposed worklife and employee assistance program. The cost would be $1.91 per month per employee, approximately $70000 per year. The recommendation has been endorsed by the Worklife Council and the Council for Women. Dr. Mandziuk will be invited to the Senate to discuss the recommendation.
Draft Policy Statements for SACS Reaffirmation Process: For the SACS process, two draft documents were circulated regarding academic freedom and faculty participation in university governance. Discussion dealt primarily with the draft on university governance. Issues drawing the most interest were personnel committee involvement in budget decisions and merit/performance decisions. Some concern was also expressed regarding the university grievance structure. Dr. Bourgeois, Assoc. Provost, will be invited to discuss the documents with the Senate.
PAAG Agenda:  After considerable discussion, the following items were selected for next week’s PAAG agenda with President Trauth:
  1. PPS 8.10 Tenure and Promotion Review: Over the past month, Personnel Committees across campus have been engaged in Tenure and Promotion decisions. As a result, questions have been raised regarding modifications to PPS 8.10 Tenure and Promotion Review that apparently occurred during the Spring 2008 semester. Specifically, paragraph 30 states: “At a meeting of the personnel committee, with the chair/director presiding in a voting capacity, the personnel committee will discuss and vote by secret ballot to recommend or not to recommend each of the candidates for tenure and/or promotion.” Chairs have historically not voted during the Personnel Committee meeting and the revised PPS is now in direct conflict with the statement on page 38 of the Faculty Handbook which indicates that the “chair/directors preside at these meetings, but they do not vote, because they submit their own independent recommendation.” In effect, the revised PPS grants the department chair/director two votes in the process, the first with the Personnel Committee and the second as the chair/director. This revision also creates an environment where the chair/director can steer the proceedings of the Personnel Committee. In addition to the content concerns of the PPS, there are concerns regarding the PPS review process because the Faculty Senate has no record of being involved in this modification. The Faculty Senate requests that PPS 8.10 be changed immediately and would appreciate input on both the content and review process for PPS 8.10.
  2. Selective Admissions Structure: With increasing enrollment, in combination with external accreditation standards, some areas have found it necessary to limit the number of students declaring a major within their College. As a result, students are unable to pursue their career goals directly and, in effect, bide their time until they can gain admission into the desired College. Alternatively, many of these students have opted to minor in their chosen field, increasing the number of minors to an extent that is unwieldy within the College. In the McCoy College of Business Administration, for example, the number of minors has escalated dramatically. A major selective admissions structure could provide a means of distributing students throughout the University in a defined and manageable manner. Could you discuss plans for confronting the increasing numbers of students within such majors, given the continued growth of the university?
  3. Concealed Handguns: Recently, there has been increased interest, from both faculty and students alike, in the issue of Concealed Handgun License holders carrying concealed handguns on campus. The Faculty Senate is interested in your opinions regarding this issue.
  4. Legislative Strategy: With state elections completed, the Faculty Senate would appreciate an update regarding the upcoming Legislative cycle and any strategies, or modifications to existing strategies that may have occurred as a consequence of the election results.
Minutes:  Minutes for 11/12/08 were approved as amended.