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April 4, 2007 Minutes

Minutes for 04/04/07

Members present:

Chair Stone, Senators Brennan, Feakes, Hazlewood, Hindson, Homeyer, McGee, McKinney, Montondon, Sorenson, Warms, Weill, Wiley, Winek

Guests: President Trauth, Provost Moore, Assoc. Provost Bourgeois, Dr. Pat Cassidy, Chemistry & Bio Chemistry, Dr. Michel Conroy, Art & Design, Dr. Mark Fronstad, Geography, Dr. Everett Swinney, History and Scott Thomas, University Star

Meeting called to order at 4:00.



LBJ Centennial Birthday:  President Trauth indicated that she was currently having preliminary conversations at the cabinet level about how the University might celebrate former President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 100th birthday.  VPUA Prince is the person in charge and Assoc. Provost Bourgeois will be the faculty contact person.  There will two committees:  a steering committee that will do the brunt of the work toward getting things done and an honorary committee of invited family members and noted dignitaries.  Activities will begin around January 2008, and culminate in August.

Tenure/Promotion Cycle Status:  The President and the Provost have concluded their discussions and letters to faculty should go out next week. There were twenty to thirty candidates and only two candidates for the Professor rank and two for Tenure/Assoc. Professor were turned down at their level.  In response to a question as to whether the Administration considered the promotion of the candidates as a de novo decision in the sense of a fresh decision without consideration of prior judgments or as a affirmation of recommendations from other entities, the Provost said they did a little of each. Both the President and the Provost mentioned that they were generally comfortable with the recommendations coming from the Departments and Colleges and their subsequent decisions.  When asked if the number of publications was a key issue in being a successful candidate for promotion/tenure, the Provost said he would not get into the number’s game.  Certainly, the quality of a journal is becoming an issue, but he relies on the narrative of the recommendation to explain the significance of what a person is doing.  It is the responsibility of the Department and the College to be very clear why individuals were being recommended and to provide substantive support for the quality of their work.  Narratives were much better this year and candidates had formidable credentials. When asked about a rumor that there were extensions to the tenure clock for some candidates, the Provost said absolutely not. The only exceptions are made in accord with PPS 8.10 which states: “…Tenure track faculty who have primary responsibility for the care of a newborn child or an adopted or foster child younger than five, or other family member in need of such care, may request that the tenure clock be suspended for one year during the probationary period. The request to suspend the tenure clock should be submitted in writing to the provost, who will notify the faculty member in writing of the decision to grant or deny the request. The university administration reserves the right to make decisions at its discretion. Requests must be made within one year of the birth, adoption or foster placement or onset of any applicable accident or illness. Faculty members who are granted this suspension of the tenure clock will not be penalized in any way for requesting and receiving this suspension. After this suspension, they will be evaluated according to the tenure criteria applied to the typical probationary period. The request to suspend the tenure clock because of parental or other familial responsibilities can be granted no more than twice for any one family.  Other exceptional circumstances not mentioned above may be reviewed and awarded a suspension of the tenure clock if deemed appropriate by the provost, in his or her best judgment, considers such suspension to be in the university's best interests.”

Legislative Update:  President Trauth discussed the Texas State’s budget possibilities. Currently, the Undergraduate Classroom Building and another building for the Round Rock Campus are in the projected budget.  Also, $2 million for the Nursing Program and $1.5 million for the River Systems Institute together with existing special items are still included.  Of course, there is the caveat that it is not over until it is over, but the President is very optimistic.

Workload Reporting Process:  A Senate subcommittee presented concerns about standardization of departmental workload reports.  Examples where some Chairs report all potential credits for their faculty members, often far exceeding the required twelve credits per semester, while other chairs report only a maximum of twelve credits, often reporting no scholarly/creative activity credit, not for the reason that the credit was not earned, but because reporting credit would push the number above twelve. It was also pointed out that some Chairs still do not use proper codes. The Provost indicated that his office is willing to listen and he would encourage Chairs to be more creative in how the instructional load is assigned to allow faculty to do what needs to be done to meet the demands of 40-40-20 in terms of teaching, scholarly/creative activity and service.  Professors, particularly, need to perform more than their share of the service load.  When asked if Texas State might go to a 3-2 teaching load, the Provost responded that was a hard sell to the general public who do not really understand what faculty do.  He did say that he would do everything in his power to provide an environment for faculty at Texas State to be able to do what they need to do.  To the issue of Chair’s reporting to faculty and personnel committees on workload, the Provost indicated that Deans will now have to certify that the Chairs within their colleges have distributed workload reports as required by Attachment 1 of PPS 7.05.

50th Anniversary of the Senate and Faculty Governance:  Responding to the Senate’s suggestion that there be some celebration of the 50th anniversary of faculty governance on campus, President Trauth responded favorably and indicated that she would be more than happy to host an event and her office would provide support.

Core Curriculum:  As an added response to the idea of shared governance, the Provost indicated that he had decided to abide by the recommendations of the faculty which included recommendations from the General Education Council, 120-Hour Committee, the University Curriculum Committee and the Faculty Senate that the University’s core curriculum would not be cut in order for the University’s programs to meet the 120 degree requirement as of Fall 2008.  He said that the only new action would be to ease the requirement of University Seminar for transfer students and that University Seminar would be specifically required for freshmen with focus on retention.





Development Leave Application: The remainder of the meeting was devoted to reviewing applicants for development leave.  Candidates reviewed at this session were:

·         Dr. Catherine Jaffe, Modern Languages

·         Dr. Karl Stephan, Engineering & Technology

·         Dr. J. D. Jamieson, Criminal Justice

·         Dr. William Chittenden, Finance & Economics

·         Dr. Pricilla Leder, English

·         Dr. Robert McClean, Biology

·         Dr. Gail Zank, Marketing

The remainder of the applicants will be reviewed at the next meeting.


Informational Items: 

·         Administrator Survey: The Chair indicated that there was a 38% response of faculty responding to the Senate’s survey of opinions of academic administrators generally, with a 42% response to opinions on deans.  There will be one more week before closure, so faculty should respond soon.

·         M&O Committee:  The group working on a recommendation allocations to academic departments as the University moves from an M&O stipend to funding from tuition has come up with draft guidelines.  It is reported to be fair and rational and would raise allocations to departments by an average of 25 to 30 %.  It will eventually be brought to the Senate to consider endorsement.

·         Senate Replacement:  Dr. Susan Weill, School of Journalism, was named to complete the term of Senator Conroy as a representative of the College of Fine Arts & Communication.