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Mar 04, 2009 Minutes

Minutes for 03/04/09

Members present: Senators Feakes, Bond, Brown, Caldwell, Conroy, Furney, C. Hazlewood, D. Hazlewood, Minifie, Shah, Stone, Warms, Wilson
Guests: Dr. Rebecca Prince, Vice Pres. For Univ. Adv.; Mrs. Valarie Van Vlack, Treasurer; Dr. Tim England, School of Journalism; Dr. Rebecca Bell-Metereau, English; Rebecca Swindal, Staff Council Representative; Kosaku Narioka, Univ. Star
Meeting called to order at 4:00
University Advancement:
Vice Pres. For Univ. Advancement Rebecca Prince and Treasurer Valarie Van Vlack met with the Senate to discuss concerns regarding student scholarships. Concerns posed to Dr. Prince were:
  • Senators are very concerned about the lack of student scholarships resulting from the poor performance of the endowment funds this past year.  Although the Senators recognize the impact of the faltering economy, they would like to gain insight on alternative mechanisms to distribute the scholarships this year. In response, Dr. Prince indicated that two hundred forty (240) endowments did not earn enough to distribute funds this year. University Endowments decreased almost 18% since the beginning of the fiscal year, and experienced a 25% decline from August, 2007 to October, 2008.
  • Some of the faculty have indicated that they would like to contribute funds directly to departments to cover the scholarships; however, the Faculty Senate would like to ensure that these contributions are recorded and recognized.  Can you provide information regarding the appropriate procedure to follow in these cases? Dr. Prince indicated that direct donations were possible and should be made directly to Donor Relations on the 4th floor of JCK. 
  • Similarly, some of the faculty have contributed in-kind donations, now and in the past, but these contributions have often been overlooked.  Can there be a mechanism put in place to ensure that these contributions are recognized as faculty donations by the university and counted in department/school contribution totals? Dr. Prince assured the senate that in the future, gifts-in-kind will be incorporated into the Reach for the Stars campaign. She emphasized that such donations must be documented by Donor Relations and should not be made directly to an academic department. Dr. Prince distributed PPS 1.02 Attachments II, II and IV, forms that must be submitted to Donor Relations for gift-in kind donations. Gifts-in-kind that are valued at more than $5000 must be accompanied by a formal appraisal.
  • For future reference, are there any alternatives to the traditional endowment funds and, if so, what are they and how can we facilitate the distribution of that information? Dr. Prince will send out a letter to faculty telling them how they can contribute directly to help scholarships where funding is not available. She also agreed to focus the spring telephone campaigns on scholarship funding.
Faculty Senate/CAD Agenda: 
The Senate will meet with the Council for Academic Deans next Wednesday, 4:00 p.m., in Alkek 105. After discussion, the Senate proposed the following agenda:
1.             PPS 8.08 (Faculty Grievance Policy): The Faculty Senate has been working with the Provost and the Associate Provost to modify PPS 8.08, Faculty Grievance Policy. Specifically, the Faculty Senate has requested the replacement of a single grievance officer with a grievance committee composed of representative(s) from the Faculty Senate, the Chairs, and the Deans; and the inclusion of a specific grievance procedure, which outlines the hearing process. The administration has agreed with the first request and is currently reviewing the documentation proposed by the Faculty Senate regarding the second request. The Faculty Senate would welcome input from the Deans on the policy and the procedures under review.
2.         Endowment Funds: The Faculty Senate is very concerned about the lack of student scholarships resulting from the poor performance of the endowment funds this past year. During our last Senate meeting, Rebecca Prince and Valarie Van Vlack presented background information regarding the impact of the faltering economy on the endowment funds and fielded questions regarding alternative mechanisms to distribute the scholarships this year. The Faculty Senate would like to discuss the situation with the Deans and gain insight into their commitment to funding the scholarships and potential solutions that are possible at the College level.
3.         Salary Compression: The Faculty Senate recognizes the difficulties associated with salary compression on university campuses. At Texas State, the combination of salary compression and lack of recognition is hindering the morale of faculty across campus. While we recognize the enormous cost of equity adjustments, we believe that there are mechanisms to recognize both the longevity and the loyalty of established faculty on campus. The Faculty Senate would like to know if the Deans have any plans to ameliorate the situation.
4.         Summer Teaching: The Faculty Senate would like to clarify that preferentially selecting lower-paid faculty for summer teaching loads is not only in direct opposition to the concept of recognizing longevity and loyalty of the faculty, but may also not be consistent with the Faculty Handbook and SACS standards to preferentially hire people with terminal degrees. The Faculty Senate would like to know the selection process that each Dean will use to fund summer salaries during the upcoming Summer sessions.
Academic Computing: 
Dr. Tim England, School of Journalism and Chair of the Academic Computing Committee, met with the Senate to present his Committee’s recommendation for funding of proposals. He gave a brief overview of the Committee’s function and presented it’s recommendation to fund the top twenty applicants out of twenty-seven proposals. The Senate will consider approval of the recommendation at the next meeting.
Faculty Perception Survey: 
The Senate approved wording for the e-mail that would go to faculty to announce the Faculty Perception Survey of the President, Provost and Academic Deans. The letter will sent out as soon as details are worked out with Joe Meyer, Dir. of Institutional Research.
Senate Elections:  
Senate elections have begun for the Colleges of Applied Arts, the McCoy Business and Science.
Honor Code:
The Senate discussed the new committee formed and chaired by Assoc. Vice Pres. for Academic Affairs Debbie Thorne with the charge of considering possible revisions in the Honor Code PPS. Senator Shah was named as the Senate representative to the committee. Some items that were suggested by the Senate for the committee to consider:
  • Revision should be done appropriately, with both faculty and student representation.
  • There should be more effective wording in the document for initiating the meeting of the Honor Council.
  • The specific issue of a student with more than one Honor Code violation should be addressed.
  • Distance learning issues should be addressed.
New Business:
Disruptive Student: A question was raised regarding a disruptive student in a non-classroom incident. It was suggested that the incident mentioned could be considered as an extension of a classroom incident and would be addressed by PPS 4.01. Otherwise, the Student Handbook might have the appropriate information to handle the situation.
Parking: There was another complaint about a faculty member not being able to find parking space. While new parking space is being constructed, the situation is difficult for everyone. One suggestion was to come to campus earlier.
Merit: A question was raised questioning why the highest possible merit raise has been only 3%. It was pointed out that, in the recent past, merit monies have been allocated to departments at 3% of the department’s faculty salary allocation, with some deans holding a portion in reserve. Then individual departments determine the individual merit amounts, which can be more than 3%.
Minutes: Minutes for 02/18/09 and 02/25/09 were approved as amended.