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March 30, 2011 Minutes

Members present:  Senators Brown, Hazlewood, Feakes, Wilson, Huling, Payne, Martin, Stone, Morey, Melzer, Warms

Guests: Sigler, Gross (Star), Stewart, CAD members

Meeting called to order at 4:00.

Faculty Senate / CAD Joint Meeting:

  1.  Computer Refresh Cycle – The Senate is interested in the effects of recent changes to the refresh cycle, including the reduced level of funding and the new method of allocating resources.  The Deans discussed their practices for allocating money, most saying that they felt the process was equitable.  One Dean noted that she had to use much of her allocation for printers to help fund faculty computer needs.
  2. Role of Service – The Senate would like the Deans to discuss how a “culture of service” can be created on campus as more emphasis is put on scholarly / creative activity, particularly in messages to tenure-track faculty.  The Deans noted that it is hard to measure service, and some argued for more workload credit for significant service activities.  However, Senators, some Deans and the Provost asserted that it is the job of all faculty to contribute toward service, with the Provost noting that full professors especially should see service as essential to their roles at the University.  One suggestion was for the University to undertake a study that would clarify the University’s expectation for service contributions from faculty.  The Provost added that the most significant service takes place in academic departments, where full professors bring an historical knowledge to departmental issues.  Thus, he argued that efforts to stress the importance of service must be directed at full professors who no longer believe they need to contribute.  Further discussion focused on ways to recognize the service contributions of faculty in departments and colleges; Dr. Bourgeois will explore methods for rewarding and recognizing such efforts.  In closing, the Provost warned that the University should not get to the point where faculty believe only scholarly /creative activity matters over both service and teaching.
  3. Graduate Student Recognition – The Senate appreciates the Provost’s recent changes to commencement ceremonies so that a clearer delineation is made between graduate and undergraduate students, including conferring degrees to graduate students before moving to the presentation of diploma covers to undergraduates, and developing banners to signify graduate and undergraduate student groups as they enter the Coliseum.  Moreover, the Provost urged all colleges to consider their own hooding ceremonies, so that graduate students and their families can celebrate the students’ achievement.  One Dean noted that such ceremonies should have receptions so that faculty can mingle with attendees, and asked if there would be funding support.


Faculty Senate / CAD Joint Meeting Follow-Up: The Senate discussed the difficulty of finding faculty willing to stand for election to the Senate this election cycle.  Senators explored ways to inform faculty of the functions of the Senate, as well as the issues it explores; such information could be distributed at the time elections are called.  The Senate should also be active in promoting its activities in the media and on the University website.


Definition of Faculty Voter: The Chair suggested new wording for defining “faculty voter,” in particular phrasing to clarify the meaning of an “academic appointment.”

PAAG Agenda Development: For the April 6 PAAG meeting, the Senate will suggest the following items:

  1. Discussion of the Provost’s new position at the Texas State University System Office.
  2. The President’s recent presentations to the Legislature.
  3. Summer salaries.

Development Leave Sub-Committee Report: Chair of the Sub-committee, Professor Martin, along with fellow members Payne and Morey, discussed their investigations into practices followed by other Texas universities in reviewing development leave applications.  Their research revealed that no other institution performs interviews of the candidates, and that many do not involve the Faculty Senate at all in the review process.  Based upon its findings, the Sub-committee urges the Senate to reconsider the need for interviews, replacing them with a more explicit application and an assessment rubric that details the requirements for an effective application: for instance, a list stating the valid purposes of leave, expectations for the project narrative, expectations for the outcome of the leave, the expectation that applicants contact their Senators to discuss their proposals before submitting them for review.  However, if the Senate chooses to continue interviews of applicants, it should break the Senate into several small groups to interview several candidates simultaneously, thus reducing the amount of time the Senate spends on the process.  The Senate charged the Sub-committee with developing an assessment rubric, as well as a revised application; once these materials are reviewed, the Senate will make decisions on any recommended changes to the review process.

New Business: The Chair shared the results of the latest Senate election, and will contact winners over the next few days. 

Minutes of 3/23/11 were approved.