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Faculty Senate Meeting Information

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Oct 21, 1998 Minutes

Senators Present:  Anderson, Bible, Conroy, Gillis, Gordon, Hays, Irvin,
McGee, Pascoe, Renick, Sawey, Skerpan, and Stimmel.

Senators Absent: Winek

Guests: Grady Early (Comp Sci), Lauri Celli (Sociol Intern), Don
Hazlewood (Math), Paul Raffeld (Testing Ctr), Robert Smallwood (VPAA)
and Isidro Martinez (ASG)

CONTENTS

Academic Advising Concerns
Resolutions Relating to Faculty Grievance Process
Sawey Resolution Regarding Regents' Rules to Prohibit Discrimination
Faculty Voter Resolution
Administrative Leaves
New Business
Minutes of 10/14/98

Chair Bible called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.

ACADEMIC ADVISING CONCERNS

Associate VP Smallwood and Professor Grady Early were present to discuss
current and future issues about academic advising, including advising
during summer orientation. This discussion is summarized as follows:

Final Examination Schedule -- Opinions and concerns across campus range
from the maximum number of exams a student should have to take per day,
to providing notice that exams will be administered on the same day of
the week that the class meets during the semester, to administering
exams pro rata over a five day period, to front end loading exams to
allow for additional grading time. No consensus has emerged.

Summer Orientation/Advising -- The discussion focused on the proposal to
essentially double the number of summer freshmen orientation/advising
sessions to 23. It became obvious that there is widespread opposition
to this among faculty, advisors, staff and chairs. Positively, the
proposal would allow for smaller advising sessions held over the entire
summer. Negatively, logistical problems are significant (conflict with
camps held on campus, etc.), there will be an increased burden on
advisors and staff, the cost of academic advising will be significantly
increased without even addressing increased remuneration for those who
will bear the brunt of this proposal if it is effectuated.

The Senate agreed to end the discussion of this matter and include it on
the agenda for the PAAG meeting of 10/28/98. The Senate would welcome
the presence of Dean Brown at PAAG.

Credit by Examination -- Professor Paul Raffeld addressed the Senate on
this matter in the context of the Summer Orientation/Advising topic.
His concerns relate to the negative impact the proposal could have on
placement testing and in discouraging many good students we want to
attract. He further described his concern that the increase in credit
by exam to now over 600 a year is not being adequately integrated into
the planning or implementation phases of Summer Orientation/Advising.
The Testing Center now administers 300 credit by exams during the
summer.

The Senate agreed to refer this matter to the PAAG meeting of 10/28/98
and would welcome Professor Raffeld's presence.

RESOLUTIONS RELATING TO FACULTY GRIEVANCE PROCESS

1. The Senate adopted the following resolution on mediation:

University faculty grievance process policies should be amended to
provide that the Ombudsman will offer formal mediation to the parties to
a dispute and that a refusal by either party to mediate, or to mediate
in good faith (as determined by the mediator) if mediation is accepted,
will become a matter of record to be included in the file of the
proceedings which is ultimately forwarded to the President.

2. The Senate unanimously adopted the following resolution on the
outcome of grievance proceedings:

The Faculty Senate views with alarm the uniformity with which the
President has ruled against faculty in grievance proceedings. Since the
term of the current Ombudsman began the Grievance Committee has ruled in
favor of the administration in four hearings, with the President
upholding all four rulings, and has ruled in favor of the faculty
grievant in three instances, with the President overturning all three
rulings. The overriding concern is that faculty rights are being eroded
and faith in the grievance process is being systematically undermined.

3. The Senate adopted the following resolution on merit and promotion
decisions:

The Faculty Senate believes that merit and promotion decisions involving
individual faculty, although necessarily related in that they are based
on much of the same information, are ultimately separate and distinct,
and that a promotion is an impermissible basis on which to award a
faculty member less merit than he or she would otherwise have been
awarded.

A resolution to request that the deans be included in the merit decision
process according to the original version of PPS 7.10 was defeated.

FACULTY VOTER RESOLUTION

The following resolution on the Faculty Handbook definition of "voting
faculty" was unanimously adopted by the Senate:

The Faculty Senate feels strongly that the applicable definitions of
"voting faculty" in the Faculty Handbook and the Faculty Constitution
must control in all instances, but also that a chair should seek advice
from all faculty who may be affected by departmental decisions.

RESOLUTION REGARDING REGENTS RULES TO PROHIBIT DISCRIMINATION

The following resolution on discrimination based on sexual orientation
was adopted by the Senate:

The Faculty Senate requests that the Regents of the Texas State
University System amend their rules to include a prohibition against
discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In discussion concerning this resolution, the following were noted: (1)
ASG and Staff Council are said to be considering similar resolutions;
(2) the Regents should view the recent murder of a homosexual college
student in Wyoming as relevant to their considerations -- although
discrimination based on sexual orientation is not considered widespread
at SWT, a Wyoming-like tragedy could occur here at any time, and the
Regents should not wait for this to happen to make the requested policy
change; (3) Faculty Senates in other schools in the System may be
considering similar resolutions; and (4) this topic should be an agenda
item at the PAAG meeting of 10/28/98.

ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVES

Some faculty have questioned the circumstances in which administrators
take sabbaticals after they step down from their positions. In a phone
conversation with Chair Bible, VPAA Gratz indicated that administrative
leaves are akin to faculty development leaves in that they involve the
submission of plans for a research agenda and an outcome report. When
this message was stated to the Senate, it was noted that no one knew of
an instance in which an administrator had been denied a leave, required
to submit a research program plan, done any actual research, or prepared
an outcome report. This item was referred to PAAG, 10/28/98.

PAAG AGENDA

The PAAG AGENDA for 10/28/98 as follows:

1. discrimination based on sexual orientation;
2. administrative leave;
3. recent weather problems;
4. summer orientation/advising;
5. expansion of number of flagship institutions; and
6. HEAF Funds.

NEW BUSINESS

MINUTES OF 10/14/98

The draft minutes were approved with revisions to the language of some
of the proposed resolutions.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:05 p.m.