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Dec 1, 2004 Minutes

Present: President Trauth, Provost Moore, Chair Stone, Senators Sawey, Rao, Conroy, Homeyer, Montondon, Hazlewood, Fleming, Bell-Metereau Warms, McKinney, Sorensen

Guests: University Star reporter, Dr. Cassidy


Meeting was called to order at 4:15.


The senate asked about the status of the faculty workload policy.  Provost Moore asked why this was requested initially, and Chair Stone said that this was in order to make the process of workload transparent. 


Dr. Cassidy said that he has background on the policy and that he would follow up.


President Trauth said it was ultimately a matter of trust. 


Change in building priority:


President Trauth explained that the facilities committee recommendation, which included the fine arts and communication performance building, was only one facet of our priorities list.  Our deferred maintenance list is the highest in the state.  We requested first the restoration of the 5% budget cut.  The facilities committee makes requests, and also requests come from the university at large for special items.  The chancellors in Texas said that we could perhaps go forward with an omnibus deferred maintenance bill, and we wanted to position ourselves to be included in this group.  The list is not simply what you need but also what has the greatest possibility of being funded.  The fine arts and communication center is important and we will get it in the future, even if we don’t get it this time around.  We may also need to get some private money that might not support the entire building but could support the recital hall or some part of the building. 


Senator Sawey asked about the nursing program, and President Trauth said we would need $2 million a year for eight years.  Nursing programs call for enormous funds immediately. 


Senator Shah asked about the future for the undergraduate building, and Dr. Trauth said that it will contain many classrooms, departmental offices for the social sciences, and student services, such as the writing center.


Senator Brennan asked if the building would have a teaching theater, and Dr. Trauth said that these plans would be finalized after we had the funding.


President Trauth said that the building priorities were as follows: the building in Round Rock came after the undergraduate building but before the performing arts center.


Tuition revenue bonds are appropriated by the legislature, and it is backed up by tuition.  The legislature pays the debt service.


Senator Sawey asked about the effect of Round Rock on our building utilization formula, and Provost Moore said we were trying to take those buildings out of the inventory, along with some buildings that are in poor condition on the San Marcos campus.  The participation of ACC will also affect the calculation.


Chair Stone asked if the legislature will hold it against us in this cycle that we got funding for Round Rock out of the usual cycle.  President Trauth said that there are powerful people from the Round Rock area who may affect the process.


Chair Stone asked if there are any projected administrative changes in the upcoming year, and President Trauth said we will be searching for two vice

presidents:  student affairs and university advancement.  There may be some reorganization below the vice-presidential level.  Senator Homeyer asked where the current vice presidents would be going. 


President Trauth said that she wanted everyone to be aware of the proposed five percent budget cut.  We have testified twice about the consequences of this cut.  Financing for K-12 will be a big issue for the legislature. 


Senator Sawey asked about the wireless connectivity of the undergraduate building, and President Trauth said she didn’t know and would ask Van Wyatt to speak with the senate.  She also said that in the wake of the SAP changes, there might be administrative changes.  Chair Stone said the Milt Nielsen had offered to meet with the senate in January.


Senator Fleming asked what the president’s optimistic guess was on the budget, and she said that we would be happy to get 100% of our budget, rather than a cut.  We’re in better shape than we were last year.  The economy in the Central Texas area is better, and the only problem seems to be the funding of K-12.  Of the special requests, we might get one of the items on the list.


Chair Stone asked if there is any sense of the current state of tuition raises.  The third tuition raise goes into effect in January, an increase that places us in the top grouping in the state.  It is possible that the legislature will put a percentage cap on tuition.  If we are cut by 5% all tuition will go up in Texas.


Senator Conroy asked about the request to identify 10% of courses that could have the fees raised.  Provost Moore said that this might seem arbitrary, but for political purposes, it would not be wise to ask for raises across the board.  Senator Conroy said that this is arbitrary and causes problems for sequenced courses when one has an increase and the others don't.  Senator Conroy asked the Provost if there was another, more equitable model we could use to request course fee increases.  He said no, and that politically it would not be wise to ask for an across the board increase.


Senator Sawey asked if anyone had stood up to the legislature and said that it is wrong to for the legislature to abdicate the state's responsibility to educate its citizens by passing more and more costs to the students and their parents.  Provost Moore said that leaders across the state have pointed out that this is an impossible situation if we are to take in more students without more funding.  Provost Moore said that the community colleges can offer a more economical alternative if they can’t afford our tuition.  President Trauth said that she has testified that this is not the way to do things, considering how many first-generation students there are in Texas.


Faculty Senate Minutes:


Dr. Blanda reported on the research enhancement program.  We started off with more money this year.  88 were submitted with two disqualified because they had been funded three years in a row already.  Of the funds rewarded, 60% went to tenure track and 40% to tenured faculty.  Forty-one out of 86 proposals were funded. Chairs were not considered eligible in this round of decisions.  The money comes from recovered financial and administrative costs. 


Senator Fleming asked about the application to an outside source, considering the tight timeline.  The recipient has a year to apply, and if there is no suitable program, then the faculty need not apply. 


Hazlewood moved and Bell-Metereau seconded to suspend the rules and vote immediately on the REP report, with a two-thirds majority.  Bell-Metereau moved and Shah seconded the  motion to endorse the recommendation of the REP committee.  Senate will need to appoint a chair for Liberal Arts, so we need to consider who should be appointed.


Senator Conroy asked about the research enhancement subcommittee, and Dr. Blanda said they could reconvene this spring.


PAAG follow-up memo will be a thank you and wishes for happy holidays.


New business:


Constitutional subcommittee report from Senator Conroy:  Definition of the faculty voter and the election process are two areas in which the committee will recommend revisions.  The committee is considering a recommendation that per course faculty continue to be excluded from the definition of faculty voters, but that faculty who teach 50% or more would be enfranchised.

Currently, voters are those who teach more than 50%. Fifty-three faculty who teach at 50% would be enfranchised under this change.  Because this definition also governs voters within departments, this issue needs additional study to determine how it would affect departments. We could look at whether there would be an imbalance of departments or schools represented.


The election process would be changed with an electronic option to opt out of the ballot.  Ev Swinney said that the senate is the result of the position seeking the person, rather than the person seeking the office.


The senate voted to approve all minutes except the December 1, 2004 minutes. 


Submitted by Rebecca Bell-Metereau.