Senators Present: Anderson, Bible, Conroy, Gillis, Gordon, Hays, Irvin, McGee,
Pascoe, Renick, Sawey, Skerpan, and StimmeL
Liaisons Present: None
Guests: Pres. Supple, VPAA Gratz, EVP Abbott, Susan Day (Sociol), Grady Early
(Comp Sci), Margaret Vaverek (Lib) and Mike Moore.
Final Exam Schedule
Mitte Chair Appointment
Entry Level Salary Schedule
MEDIATION COMMITTEE REPORT
MINUTES OF 4-21-99
The meeting was called to order by chair Bible at 4:00 p.m.
Dr. Supple was asked for an update about funding legislation. He stated that
although our lobbyists are doing a good job in Austin, we have no solid
connections on the house side and no ally on the conference committee. If the
funding is connected to a senate bill we will do okay and it would provide
funds for performance increases and merit raises. But if the funding is
connected to a house bill, it could be disastrous. As of now there are no
funds included for faculty raises. Dr. Supple also indicated that the decline
in enrollment is a factor.
Regarding enrollment, Dr. Supple said figures aren't as bad as previously
thought; interest in attending SWT is high and enrollments at other
institutions are also down. He mentioned that the last College Day was a great
Dr. Supple noted that he had seen a lot of SACS reports and that the report
from the Site Visit Team was one of the best. He attributed it to the great
work of the SACS Committee, the overall good quality of SWT, and the openness
of SWT faculty and staff, on which several members of the team commented.
The SACS Site Visit Team had made 2 commendations and 12 recommendations. One
recommendation concerned student computer skills; it was determined that this
should be part of the core curriculum of General Studies and that some degree
of computer expertise should be expected of incoming freshman. Dr. Supple
thinks the challenge for SWT is to make sure our freshman use basic computer
skills across the curriculum. Prof. Sawey addressed the problem of assessing
basic skills of our freshmen and putting a reliable mechanism in place to do
SWT has hired the firm of Korn/Ferry to conduct a search for the new VPIT. The
search will take approximately 12-16 weeks and will cost $45,000 plus expenses.
The search firm will only find candidates; the selection process will be done
by SWT. The salary range was originally $105,000 to $120,000 but that has been
increased to a minimum of $120,000.
The new ATP is not moving forward at this point due to negotiations with the
city of San Marcos over the water wells dispute. The problem involves digging
a new well to replace one which is in the way of the new construction, which
SWT has offered to do. SWT can't build the new building and keep both wells.
The city is concerned that if it contracts with SWT and we breach that
contract, the city cannot sue SWT because of sovereign immunity; the Board of
Regents and the System Attorney will not waive sovereign immunity because this
has never been done in the past. SWT could condem the well(s) but doing so
would have a negative effect on SWT/City of San Marcos relations.
Dr. Supple said there is not enough money to move the building to a new site
and if the problem can't be resolved, there won't be a new ATP. Dr. Supple
also noted that the city staff appeared to be in agreement with SWT at the
beginning of the project but have since been reluctant to move forward.
Final Exam Schedule
Chair Bible asked Dr. Supple to explain why the agreed upon final exam schedule
had been abandoned. Dr. Gratz said it was done in order to keep students from
having 3 or 4 finals in one day. Dr. Gratz feels that the tradeoff is worth
the problem students face when tests are on days and at times which differ from
their regular class days. It was noted that students have the entire semester
to work on rearranging their schedules. Prof. Early and Sen. Gordon explained
that many nontraditional and working students have the most difficult time
rearranging their schedules for final exams. Prof. Early believes all the
final exams problems could be solved if all finals were given during the last 2
or 2-3 class days. Dr. Gratz said that shortening the final exam was also an
Mitte Chair Appointment
Several senators had questions regarding the selection process for Mitte
chairs. Sen. Skerpan-Wheeler said that a significant number of the English
Dept. faculty had no idea there was a search in progress until they read about
it in the Austin paper. Dr. Supple explained that the Mitte Chair in Liberal
Arts was an exception in that it is only a one year term. The first chair has
been selected, Tim O'Brian; the 2nd has also been selected and there is a
search in progress for the 3rd. Because of the one year term in LA, there will
always be a search in progress. Dr. Gratz said the search committees are
nominated by the school dean or the department chair. The LA search had 7
faculty on the committee. Some of the Senators feel that there is sometimes a
lack of communication in departments which cause some problems.
Dr. Supple also said the regular search process was by passed in Business
because he knew a person who was perfect for the job. Dr. Supple felt that the
person was qualified enough to skip the interview process. He said that the
Business chair was the only one done that way.
Dr. Supple has obtained a 5 year commitment from the Alkek Foundation which
will provide $200,000 a year to SWT over 5 years. The $200,000 this year will
be devoted to technology training and improving technology in the library.
Dr. Supple said that 2 fraternities had been suspended, one for 3 years and one
for 5. There is a team working on defining new policies and a new application
process. In May all fraternities will have to petition for reinstatement.
Entry Level Salaries for Faculty
Sen. Stimmel asked if SWT would undertake a study of the low entry salaries for
new faculty. Several Senators commented that it was increasingly hard to find
capable faculty willing to come to SWT for such low salaries. Sen. Gillis
spoke about the difficulty in C&I when their recent graduates can go teach in
Houston and make more than SWT can pay a new Assistant Professor. Dr. Supple
said more new hires are given higher salaries because of market adjustments but
there were still a lot of very low salaries offered to new hires. He also
stated that the age of the new hires is getting older; he sees a lot of new
hires who are 40 and that the older faculty are an asset to SWT.
Drs. Gratz and Supple believe the problem is not so much the salary level of
new hires but that our salary level in general is low. SWT puts more money in
salary increases than anything else and supplements faculty salaries more than
any other university in Texas.
Dr. Supple said that salaries for new hires can be higher if the departments'
faculty will go along with it, but that this would mean that the salaries of
many long-time faculty would be less than that of the new hires. Moreover, any
additional money offered to new hires would come from the VPAA, at the dean's
request; however, that would leave less money for Strategic Plan Initiatives.
Prof. Gordon said that often search committees are not aware that there is room
for adjustment and that they should be aware that salaries can be higher than
the minimum. The Senators agreed that Personnel Committees in the departments
should be informed of the salaries of new hires.
Sens. Bible and Hays addressed the parking fee increase issue; both had
received a lot of feedback from the campus about the proposed fee increase.
Dr. Bible wanted to be sure that the Transportation Committee was sincere when
is sought input from various campus groups and to question the need to increase
the fee to $50 when the committee could operate in the black with an increase
to only $40. VP Abbott assured the Senators that the committee was interested
in campuswide input. He stated that the higher fee ($50) would allow for some
funds to build up the reserves and would also keep the subject of a fee
increase from cropping up every year. Sen. Hays stated that the fee increase
could be burdensome to many staff personnel who make considerably less than
faculty members. Many of the Senators feel strongly about having the
restricted zones time extended to 5:00. They believe it would make the
increase more acceptable for many faculty who teach late afternoon or evening
Dr. Supple expressed his appreciation to the Senators and thanked them for
MEDIATION COMMITTEE REPORT RTA'd until 5-5-99
MINUTES OF 4-21-99 The minutes of the 4-21-99 meeting were approved.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:45 pm.