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Oct 13, 2010 Minutes

Members present: Senators Wilson, Feakes, Brown, Stone, Melzer, Caldwell, C. Hazlewood, Furney, Morey, Payne, Martin, Warms, Conroy

Guests: Beall, Myer. Tajalli, D. Hazelwood, Coolidge (Star), Autrey, Thorne

Meeting called to order at 4:00.

The Piper Professor Committee will report at the Senate’s October 20 meeting.

University Curriculum Committee:
Doctor of Philosophy major in Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization: the Senators asked a number of questions regarding particular data on graphs included in the proposal. It was also suggested that the proposal state the ways specific courses in the major met the stated objectives. Further discussion focused on the need for new space to house faculty and offices for the program. The Senate will vote on the proposal at its October 20 meeting.

Joint Faculty Senate / CAD / Council of Chairs Meeting Follow-Up: A number of items of interest to faculty were discussed at the meeting. The Provost noted the Senate’s concern over changes to the process for selecting Distinguished Professors Emeriti. The Senate has explained that some recent retirees as well as those soon to retire may not be eligible for selection since they were not eligible to apply for the recently created title of Distinguished University Professors, and that such a designation is currently required for one to be named Distinguished Professor Emeritus. Many of the Chairs and Deans in attendance agreed with the Senate that this situation should be examined so that valued faculty receive the recognition they deserve. The Provost will suggest to President Trauth the creation of two tracks: one for University Distinguished Professors, who may then apply for recognition as Regents Professors; and the traditional recognition of Distinguished Professors Emeriti.

1. As Dr. Bourgeois explained at a recent Senate meeting, the administration is creating its own task force to examine revisions to the University’s workload policies, particularly the relevant PPS. The Provost asked that three Senators serve on the task force, along with Chairs and Deans; Senators Feakes, Stone and Caldwell are the Senate’s nominees. In addition, there will be two ex-officio members: Wagonner and Volz. The administration expects the task force to submit its report in the spring.

2. Changes to the University Compliance Program requirements are underway, with the information covered by the required modules being distributed to faculty via a training memo from the Provost’s Office. However, all faculty will still be required to complete the EEO module online.

3. A search committee has been formed to select the new Dean of University College and the PACE Center. Dean Brown will become Assistant Vice President for Academic Services, with responsibility for supervising Athletic Advising, TREC, the Common Experience program, SLAC, and the General Education Council. The new Dean will direct the PACE Center as well as supervising first-year advising, undeclared majors, TSIP, US 1100 and the BGS degree. Senators discussed the potential conflict of interest involved in the Dean serving both as supervisor of first-year advising and the director of a degree program. They also noted that the new Dean should have experience as an academic rather than purely as an administrator, since he / she will be directing an academic program.

4. The application for the University to be designated as an Hispanic Serving Institution will be complete in November. In the meantime, the administration is researching funding sources that are open to HSIs.

5. It was again explained that donations to particular University accounts could not be claimed as tax deductions if the faculty and staff of the units that manage those accounts directly benefited from the donations.

Faculty Development Leave Application Process: Leave applications are due in the Senate office by 5 PM on October 15. To accommodate the large number of applications, the Senate will begin its October 27 and November 3 meetings at 3:30 rather than 4:00. In addition, the Senate will discuss possible revisions to the review process in the coming months, in case the number of applications remains high.


Texas Council of Faculty Senates Special Topic: The TCFS will meet in Austin on October 29 and 30. Senators Feakes and Martin will attend. The special topic upon which each university / college senate has been asked to comment at the meeting is the study recently instituted at Texas A&M, whereby faculty members’ “cost effectiveness” was determined by how many tuition dollars they generate. Texas A&M’s report was made at the request of the University’s Regents, based upon recommendations by a conservative think tank. The Senate will express very clearly at the TCFS meeting that it is opposed to this system because it is anti-faculty and is contrary to the very values and goals of higher education.

PAAG Agenda:
For the October 20 PAAG meeting, the Senate will suggest the following agenda items:
1. An update on merit raises.
2. A discussion of the process for selecting Distinguished Professors Emeriti.
3. The future of the BGS degree under the new Dean of University College and the Pace Center.

New Business:
A faculty member has requested clarification on the Honor Code process as it bears on a student accused of Honor Code violations who subsequently dropped the faculty member’s course. As the process is written, the Honor Council would not be able to hear such a case since it requires the accused student to sign the violation form. An alternative is for the faculty member to file the allegation with the Dean of Students, who can then decide upon the appropriateness of disciplinary action.

2. Senators are curious about the current status of establishing a new University Club. As several Senators noted, the Club served as a meeting place for faculty from across the University, and there is now no such venue on campus. New faculty do not have a place where they can meet colleagues outside of their own departments.

3. A faculty member has requested that the Senate to revisit its rules allowing only tenured and tenure-track faculty to serve as Faculty Senate liaisons.

Minutes of 9/29/10 were approved.