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Jan 20, 2010 Minutes

Members present: Senators Feakes, Furney, Wilson, Brown, Stone, Morey, Shah, Conroy, Hazlewood, Caldwell, Bond, Martin, Warms, Melzer

Guests: Sigler, Hohensee, Collins (University Star), O'Connor (University Star).

Meeting called to order at 4:00.

1. PAAG meetings are scheduled for 2/24, 3/17, 4/7 and 5/5.

2. The Texas Council of Faculty Senates meets on February 26. The Chair is seeking Senators to attend.

3. There will be five commencement ceremonies this semester. Mace Bearers are needed.

4. At the 1/19 CAD meeting, a 1/15 letter was distributed from Gov. Perry and a number of other signatories, asking that state institutions investigate ways to cut budgets by up to 5%. Also distributed was SACS information for the upcoming SACS visit to campus. The Chair will invite Cathy Fleuriet to discuss SACS issues with the Senate.

5. The latest data on faculty numbers across Texas State indicates that faculty representation on the Senate will not change for the upcoming election.

Academic Standards Committee: The Senate shared with Dr. Robert Mooney, Chair of the Academic Standards Committee, its charge to the Committee to explore ways GPA is calculated at Texas State. Since the new Student Information System will go online in the near future, this seems an appropriate time to consider whether the current practice of using differing methods to calculate Texas States GPAs and Major / Minor GPAs is effective. By April 1, the Senate would like information on the following topics of concern:
1. What would be the impact of using only the Texas State GPA?
2. How would changing the current methods impact advising?
3. How would changes impact graduation rates?
4. How could changes be implemented?
5. What are the practices at other schools similar to Texas State?
6. What is the history of the current method?

HB 2504: The bill requires that, among other things, state institutions post faculty members' CVs and syllabi for all undergraduate courses. Syllabi must include descriptions of lectures, assignments and topics of discussions. Moreover, a university-wide set of questions must be given to students, comprising either all or part of their course evaluations; data from these questions must be posted on the University website. Implementation of all requirements in the bill must be completed by January 2011. The Chair of the Senate has been charged by the administration with creating a subcommittee to develop five questions to serve as the university-wide portion of student evaluations. Named to the subcommittee were Senators Stone, Wilson, Feakes, Furey and Martin. Additionally, one Department Chair will serve.

Summative Review of Dean of Liberal Arts: Senator Melzer offered to serve on the committee conducting summative review of the Dean of Liberal Arts.

Shared Governance Celebration: The Chair will present to the Provost's Staff meeting her plans for the celebration. The President would also like to meet with the planning subcommittee to investigate what role she and her office would be asked to play. Ideas for the celebration (to be held in the Reed Parr Room) include having music performed; designing the celebration as a Presidential-level event so that the Office of Special Projects can assist with planning; beginning the event with a thirty-minute reception, followed by an hour-long formal program; and investigating whether current and former Senators could contribute to a University scholarship fund in recognition of fifty years of shared governance.


Faculty Senate Committee Preference Survey: The Chair would like to distribute the survey on February 1 so that results can be received earlier and committees seated more effectively by the end of the spring semester. The Senate also discussed shifting the assignment cycle for the REP Committee to the academic year, so that it matches the cycle of other Senate committees. Other possible revisions to the survey and form explored were to offer on the form a one-sentence summary of each committee's scope and to redesign the online site so that faculty would be directed to those committees needing representatives from their particular colleges. At an upcoming meeting, the Chair will bring to the Senate drafts for these and perhaps other revisions.

Review of Policy and Procedure Statements:
1. PPS 4.01 (Conduct and Planning of Courses): Associate Provost Bourgeois requests revising the items required in course syllabi to match those required by HB 2504.

2. UPPS 04.04.12 (Compensation in Excess of Base Annual Salary for Staff): No changes were suggested.

3. PPS 7.14 (Hiring and Use of Part-Time and Per Course Faculty): One Senator noted that the administration is requiring departments to hire continuing faculty rather than temporary faculty, but does not provide the funds needed to hire them. The Senate will consider wording for a revision to the PPS that more clearly expresses the administration's responsibility to provide funds for the hiring of continuing faculty.

4. PPS 7.09 (Contract of Temporary Faculty): No changes were suggested.

New Business:
1. There are problems with the septic system at the Freeman Ranch House, where many faculty meet their classes or schedule meetings and events related to course activity. The problems have made the facility practically unusable. The Chair will inquire about the status of repairs.

2. Problems with TRACS system: Faculty are concerned about the many recent problems with the TRACS system, including frequent system outages. The Chair will invite Milt Nielsen to the Senate to explore these issues.

3. Personnel Committees: The Chair would like to investigate whether there is a minimum number of faculty required on Personnel Committees for tenure and promotion decisions. What number is required for a fair evaluation? Can non- teaching faculty be appointed to Personnel Committees? The Chair will explore these questions with the Associate Provost.

4. The Coordinating Board policy on low-producing programs is being revised so that programs can be terminated if they do not graduate at least 25 students in a five-year period.

5. Initial compliance modules will be sent to faculty soon, with the complete set of modules to be sent this coming fall.

Minutes for 11/18 and 12/2 approved.