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March 24, 2004 Minutes

Present: Chair Stone, Senators Peeler, Conroy, Gillis, Gordon, James, Shah, Rao, Hazlewood, Hindson, Bell-Metereau, Brennan, McKinney, Hawkins

Guests: President Trauth, Dr. Gratz, University Star reporter 


Chair Stone called the meeting to order at 4:00. 


President Trauth thanked the search committee for conducting the provost selection in such an efficient manner. 


Dr. Trauth said the athletic director would work with a consultant on the best practices in college athletics.  Academics will be central to the athletics program and will maintain the idea that the participating athletes are students first.


She reported on the Round Rock Campus groundbreaking ceremony.


I. Provost duties and Dr. Gratz’s duties:

President Trauth said that the position of special assistant to the president will be filled by Dr. Gratz, while Dr. Abbott will move into the position of directing the Institute on Sustainable Water.


Assistant to the president job description is pretty standard.  This person coordinates most interaction with the board of regents, materials gathered,

preparation of materials.  Dr. Gratz will track issues, what will be on the agenda, handling special projects, such as the provost search.  Correspondence in and out of the president’s office is another duty, including the research of issues, etc.


The Senior Associate Provost keeps things moving on and off the provost’s desk. The provost will determine how the office should be set up. 


Senator Conroy asked if someone internal would be selected, and Dr. Trauth said her “prejudice” would be to have someone from this university, but she would leave it to the new provost to decide.


Post-tenure review policy is delayed until after the March meeting.  They have made no formal recommendations so far, but an issue that relates to faculty senate is the situation of a faculty member who has been unsatisfactory.  The second year, the college review group would be involved.  The dean would notify the faculty senate of the forwarding of a name to the college review group.

Dr. Gratz objected to notifying the faculty senate of any personnel matter before it was concluded.


Senator Bell-Metereau said that the senate wished to be able to do something while it would still have a positive effect.


Senator Brennan said that the early notification was a way for the senate to be aware of possible actions in a particular department, not to know the specific faculty member involved.


Senator James noted that we’re often asked what is going on in regard to such cases.


Senator Hindson said the problems in Geography caused us to want to know what was happening.


Senator Gillis said that we wanted to track the situation.


Senator Bell-Metereau observed that with the steady erosion of faculty recourse, this seemed like one way for faculty to have an opportunity to know their rights in such cases.


Senator Gordon said there are rumors that a faculty member was fired and that a vote never took place.  This kind of situation could be monitored by the faculty senate.


Dr. Gratz said that the college review group would be part of the process.

Because it is anonymous, a notification would fuel the rumor factory.


Dr. Trauth said that the faculty member should be notified what the process is.



Dr. Gratz said that the dean would call a special session of the college review group and simultaneously notify the faculty member of appropriate policy.


Senator Hazlewood said that it takes a majority vote of the personnel committee, and the third time it takes two-thirds.  What happens if a majority votes a faculty member unsatisfactory every year and not two thirds?  This kind of situation would lead to a rift in the faculty. 


Dr. Gratz said the issue would be on the agenda for next time.


II. Salary Equity

The Salary Equity Study oversight meeting will occur next week.  A brief draft of the plan will be ready for consideration.  In the month of April, data for deans and departments will be ready. 


Dr. Gratz said we won’t use the same projection model; rather it will be a market equity model, with salary data from CUPA data set.  Masters I and Research Intensive universities will provide comparable data.  The new model will not take into consideration the number of years in rank.  Rather, it will group all Professors into one group, according to discipline, all associate professors into one group, according to discipline, etc.


Then they will go to a discretionary model.  Dr. Trauth said we have $750,000

to spread, and it will place people relatively.   This will not overturn the

effects of years of merit-based judgments. 


Senator Hindson asked if this would be general knowledge, and Dr. Trauth said that this would be decided by departments and their personnel committees.


Dr. Gratz said that the former model looked at only the most extreme cases, but this model creates a pool of money and allows review of all the faculty. 


Senator Hawkins asked if this would be similar to merit, in which a personnel committee would make a recommendation to the chair, who would recommend to the dean, etc.


Dr. Trauth said that this would address the most egregious cases.  The amount of money available will correct only part of the problem. 


Dr. Gratz said there was no evidence of gender or other bias at Texas State.


III. Freshman classroom building

This building is now classified as underclass student building.  New revenue bonds are made available every other session.  We’re gearing up for this session.  We need to make instructional space our highest priority.  Our needs as a university include preserving the quality of the undergraduate experience.  Alums who come to receptions describe the wonderful experience, their interaction with faculty.  A committee is looking at the issue.


Senator Bell-Metereau asked about the Freshman dorm, which was mandated by Chancellor Urbanovsky on a system-wide basis.  She noted that data from across the country indicates that retention and GPA suffer in all-freshman housing.

Dr. Gratz said that he would have to examine the data to see if it was accurate.


IV. Tenure and Promotion issues

Dr. Trauth said she was pleased with the level of engagement of the committee.


We have seven colleges and different disciplines, all of which need to be able to articulate criteria. 


Senator Gordon said that one of the deans had sent in a detailed point system for tenure and promotion, and he was concerned about this.  The dean in question has since changed his position, but in the process of discussing this, we heard cases of deans and chairs writing the criteria and being somewhat arbitrary in the process.


Dr. Trauth has said several times that ultimately peers have to make judgments about peers.  The college plays an important role in setting college-wide standards, but these judgments have to be peer-based. 


Senator James asked if scholarly and creative includes a variety of activities, and Dr. Trauth said this variety was valid, depending on the field.


Senator Conroy asked about administrative creep and the equity study process.

She asked if there is an increase in the number of administrative positions.


Dr. Trauth said we had actually eliminated the position of the director of economic development.  We took the administrative assistant for Dr. Abbott and brought her into the president’s office.  This was a way to get more out of the people we have.  The provost interview process didn’t suggest that there were vast resources to expand administration, so the new provost will not be likely to want to expand administrative positions.


Senator Hindson asked if April 1 would be the notification date for promotion and tenure.


The salary will be $199,000 for the provost, which comes in part from

eliminating the Director of Economic Development.  


V.    Dr. England reported on the Funding Recommendations of the Academic

Computing Committee for FY2004.  The report was accepted by the senate.


VI. Changes to Research Enhancement Process

Senator Shah said that getting a grant does not preclude getting summer school assignments.  Dr. Blanda said he would do a chart to outline what the possibilities are.  A faculty member may be funded for one-sixth of their base salary, up to a maximum of $8,000.  Faculty cannot make more than an additional third of their salary in the summer.


Senator Shah moved to approve all changes recommended except no. 12, with the following revisions:


add  senator” / faculty liaison from the affected department.


1st paragraph:

After program change “for” to “effective” Fall 04 cycle.


Senator Gillis seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.


VII. New business issues

PAAG follow up letter:  Chair Stone will create a draft of the follow-up letter.


Senator Hazlewood requested the honor code be on the next agenda. 


Changes to minutes:

Change 3/3/04 to

3/10/04 date.  Minutes were then approved.


Senator James discussed petition inconsistencies. 


Chair Stone has emailed Dr. Earl and asked for a meeting with Dr. Earl and

Senator Hindson.


We could change the petition, but there is no process for withdrawing the motion.  We could theoretically change the wording, but several senators stated they would not be comfortable changing the wording of what people signed.


Chair Stone and Senator Hindson will discuss this problem with Dr. Earl.  The amendment changes the composition of the senate and the election cycle.


Senator McKinney said that the petitioner could change it.


Senator Peeler said he had a problem with the fact that the petition wording was not the same as the proposal submitted to the senate. 


We would have to have a supplemental election.  Ordinarily, only a third of the senators would come up at any given time for reelection, but with the proposed amendment, almost the entire senate would rotate out at the same time. 


Senator Shah asked if there would not be some reconfiguration, and would there not be other issues as well. The senate discussed whether to put it up for a faculty vote as it is worded in the original petition, or to pull it back and fix it.


The senate agreed to make a final decision at the next meeting.


Senate adjourned at 6:17.


Approved minutes submitted by Rebecca Bell-Metereau April 2, 2004.