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Oct 9, 1996 Minutes

Present: Bible, Bourgeois, Caverly, Deduck-Evans, Ford, Hays, Horne,
Hunter, McGee, Pascoe, Sawey, Simpson, Stimmel, Weller, and Winek.

Guests: ExecVP Abbott, VPSA Studer, AssocVPAA Cassidy; Ath.Dir. Mike
Alden; Profs. Vickie Brittain (Pol.Sci.), Cynthia Opheim (Chair, Pol.Sci.),
Lou Caruana (Med.Tech), Rebecca Bell-Metereau (Eng. & Asst.to Pres.);
Margaret Vaverek (Library); Mike Moore.


MA IN LEGAL STUDIES (Profs. Opheim and Brittain)
MINUTES OF 10/2/96

The meeting was called to order at 4:04, Chair Bible presiding.

MA IN LEGAL STUDIES (Profs. Opheim and Brittain)

The proposed MA in Legal Studies is a new credential now offered by
six universities around the country, with none in Texas. The degree would
require 36 semester hours--three of which are an internship ending with
defense of a cumulative research project. There are four possible tracks:
(1) Advanced Legal Assistant Studies, (2) Legal Administration, (3)
Alternative Dispute Resolution, and (4) Environmental Law. Six to nine
hours are electives in other disciplines (e.g. Geography's environmental
law, Biology's environmental impact analysis, Psychology's group processes,
Communications' negotiation). SWT students who have received their legal
assistant certificate within the last five years can count those hours
toward the degree and complete with only twelve additional hours. Others
with older SWT hours, or from other schools, will have to do the whole
degree plan. There is no credit for on-the-job experience. All the grad
courses from other depts. do not require prerequisites.

Question: Is there any demand for this? Answer: Surveys were
made of the 1,000 former legal assistant grads, the companies interning or
employing our students, undergrads in some disciplines regarding possible
future demand, and legal associations around the region. Responses were
definitely positive. The trend is moving to more credentials which get a
foot-in-the-door or a leg-up on the career ladder over legal assistant
credentials or experience only. The trend is toward legal firms using
persons who have a little above the legal assistant level to take
depositions, etc. which can be billed at the average $60 an hour rate
instead of the $150 lawyer rate. This cuts clients' bills and relieves
lawyers for other higher-skilled duties. [This trend was noted in
medical/physical therapy, educational and other fields where higher
credentialed para-professionals were in demand.]

Question: What is this going to cost? Answer: Nothing in the
short run, although down the road we could use new computers in the Westlaw
Lab. The few new courses within the dept. will be covered by increased
enrollment in current classes required in the degree and rescheduling
classes on a paced/less frequent basis. This will allow picking up a new
course or so within the dept.

Question: Library liaison Vaverek asked if the library resources
in the legal field were adequate. Answer: Yes, we surveyed these
resources also.

Currently certification in such programs is being examined in the
national meetings. SWT would be on the forefront of the accredited
purveyors of this degree.

The Senate passed a motion to endorse the Legal Studies program.


Prof./Atty. Vickie Brittain informally agreed to serve on the
Council. This will be formally accepted later.


RTA'd until acceptance or rejection of nominees are ascertained.
Letters have gone out to nominees.

(VPSA. James Studer and Ath. Dir. Mike Alden)

The report of the Task Force on Athletics was sent to the Senate
this summer. At the University Council tomorrow the draft implementation
plan will be presented (60 recommendations and about 15 additional
comments). Details will be worked out and a final report will be

The Athletics budget was discussed. Loopholes have been tightened,
job descriptions written by the group, physical offices have been moved in
proximity to each other for quick collaboration, no overdrafts on accounts
will be allowed, etc. People have been empowered to carry out their work
and will be held accountable. Goals and strategies for increasing income
and involving students and community were expressed.

Director Alden noted that some of the basic aims of the
reorganization are: (1) fiscal accountability, (2) athletic
integrity--program compliance and checks and balances to assure it, (3)
social accountability for student athletes who are continuously mentored
regarding "role model" position, and (4) competitive success--with an aim
to be among the top teams in each sport. A "clean" program can be admired
by students, community, and alumni, but this relationship and trust take


The Senate discussed the important area of teaching: (1) How can
the Administration promote the importance of teaching for tenure,
promotion, and merit? Suggestions were made such as a workshop for chairs
and deans on the criteria for balancing teaching with scholarship and
service. (2) As Pres. Supple noted at an earlier Senate meeting, studies
note that student evaluations are unreliable on measuring teaching quality.
Yet a quantitative summation of these data are what we usually rely on.
Other means should be devised, perhaps a combination of student outcomes,
peer observation and evaluation, etc. (3) University teachers seldom have
teacher training. Some efforts in training are scattered around the campus
in various depts. and programs and perhaps some of these could be brought
together and the faculty be made aware of them. New faculty in particular
need assistance in this regard. (4) The University does not offer a
support infrastructure for teaching. Instead, it was noted, we put efforts
into creating new programs, administrative positions, grants, ever larger
classes, etc. (5) Should there be more teaching awards, e.g. on the dept.
or school level? (We have only two awards at the University level and we
don't even know who the runners-up in each School were.)

We are considering an ad hoc committee to draft some major concerns
and recommendations which we can forward to the Administration. If you
have ideas on improving the quality and importance of teaching, please pass
them along to your senator or liaison or send them to the Senate Office
(SP05 or JB18).

MINUTES OF 10/2/96

Approved as read.



Meeting adjourned at 6:05 p.m.

Ramona Ford