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Aug 27, 2008 Minutes

Minutes for 08/27/08


Members present:  Senators Feakes, Bond, Brown, Caldwell, C. Hazlewood, D. Hazlewood, Martin, Meek, Melzer, Shah, Stone, Warms, Wilson


Guests: Dr. John Davis, Psychology


Meeting called to order at 4:00.


Info Items:

  • December Mace Bearers:  Senators Bond, Stone, Martin and Wilson
  • PAAG Meeting Dates for Fall:  9/17, 10/15, 11/12, 12/03
  • Texas Council of Faculty Senates meets:  Fall 10/24-25


Committee on Committees:  Dr. John Davis, Chair, reported on the committee’s activities during the previous year.  He indicated that the electronic preference poll for committee membership had gone well and gave special thanks to Bonnie McClellan, Senate Admin, and Richard Batey from the Office of Institutional Research.  He noted that the Honors Council is listed as a Faculty Senate committee, but had not been included in the committee preference poll. He will add a description and prerequisites for the next preference poll, as well as brief descriptions for all other committees.  There was discussion of the need and usefulness of the current Insurance Committee. Currently, there is no local control for insurance. Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) controls our insurance system.  It was decided to poll the membership of the committee before deciding whether to remove the committee from the Senate Committee Roster.  The final decision will be made next week.  Dr. Davis did indicate a concern that is not addressed by the committee preference poll.  The preference poll does not help the Committee on Committees regarding committee chair selection.  It was suggested that at the close of the committee yearly cycle (the end of the spring semester), each committee should elect a chair for the next cycle from the continuing committee membership.  The Senate named Senator Martin as the Senate’s ex-officio member to the University Research Committee.  Also, the Senate named Senator McGee as its representative to the Security Technology Advisory Group (STAG), the group that determines the placement of the University’s security cameras.


Final Exam Schedule Options: Two options were circulated. The essential difference in the options is that Option 1 requires grades be posted by Dec 21 and Option 2 requires posting by Dec 18.  The Senate voted to suspend its rules on voting and voted unanimously to support the adoption of Option 1 in order to allow faculty members five days instead of two to post grades after finals are over.


Faculty Employment Application: Discussion continued on the current faculty employment application.  A shorter draft was circulated that reflected the Senate concern of reporting only felony offenses in the criminal record section. Chair Feakes indicated that the form was still under revision by the Provost’s Office and will be considered at a future meeting.




Senate Priorities for the Coming Year: The Senate discussed possible priorities for the coming year.  Issues that surfaced were:

  • Graduate College Commencement Exercises—There is concern regarding the decision to cease hooding Master’s graduates.  Many faculty would prefer a return to the hooding ceremony for those graduates, or a return of a separate ceremony for graduate students.
  • Funding Issues—With respect to external funding, what percentage of indirect goes back to an academic department? Do research professors really pay their way?  Is it reasonable for colleges to take departmental M&O funds to support a dean’s office?
  • Gender Identity and Discrimination Issues—Anti-discrimination and partner benefits are a concern.
  • How a Department/School Changes College Affiliation—Who approves and who is consulted before a move?
  • Grievance Structure—Should the structure be considered broken if there has never been an appeal whose decision was in favor of a faculty member?  Could the fact that the presiding officer serves only at the pleasure of the President be a factor?
  • Grade Appeals—If grade records have to be kept for only one year, is it reasonable to allow a student to appeal a course grade after two or more years?

Some of the items might be consider for PAAG agendas.


New Business:

Faculty Development Leaves – Procedures for conducting evaluations are being considered.

Bike Racks – Will there be bike racks installed at the new parking garage?

Thank you – There is an extra gate and more parking in the Pleasant Street Garage.


Minutes:  Minutes for 07/23/08 were approved as amended.