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Faculty Senate Meeting Information

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March 1, 2000 Minutes

Senators Present: J. Bible, M. Conroy, M. Gillis, S. Gordon, J. Hays, J.

McGee, A. McKinney, B. Peeler, C. Renick, E. Skerpan, T. Stimmel

Absent: B. Stone

Two Seats Vacant

Guests: J. Supple, R. Gratz, M. Moore, R. Sawey, S. Day

Meeting called to order at 4:05 p.m.

I. PAAG Items

A. Faculty Bonus Money

President Supple reported that a portion of the Faculty Bonus Money was
used to increase the Presidential Awards for Excellence. In addition to
the $5,000 award to the winner in each category, the awards for the
nominees from each college were increased to $2,000. The total of these
awards came to $186,000, not including the $2,500 for the Presidential
Seminar award. This left a balance of approximately $200,000. Dr. Supple
felt that these monies should be returned to faculty salaries in the
form of merit, performance or equity funding depending on need and total
funding available. The question was asked if this money could be used to
equalize departmental funding for such things as M & O. Dr. Supple
indicated that this was not possible in that much of the disparity
originated from departmental decisions made during the 2-2-1 budget
reductions.

B. Separating Student Service Fee Allocations

The question was raised concerning the feasibility of creation of
separate funds within the Student Service Fee account so that the
allocation for athletic scholarships remains distinct from the other
accounts funded by the SSF. It was also suggested that athletic
scholarships be supported by a separate fee in order to protect programs
from decreased funding due to increases in athletic allocations.
President Supple indicated that it would be both feasible and possible,
but required legislative approval. He felt that success of such a
request would be increased by attaching it to a similar request from
another university and that the administration is currently
investigating such options.

Senator Bible asked if the University was vulnerable to litigation from
students who challenge payment of the Student Service Fee because it was
used to fund a particular group or event to which the student objected.
Dr. Supple said that the Student Service Fee Committee was a
recommending body that submitted suggested funding proposals to the
President, who then made the actual allocations. He felt that this
structure provided a distinction between SWT and other universities
where such challenges have been upheld. However, litigation at other
universities (not in Texas) was being closely watched for its
implications for SWT.

There was then a brief discussion concerning the status and future of
the bus fee considering the expected consultant's report on
transportation and parking.

C. Legislative Changes to the Regent's Rules

The issue was raised concerning the apparent inconsistency between the
current Regent's Rules and the recent law governing faculty grievance
procedures. Dr. Supple reported that he will ask Fernando Gomez
(Regent's Council) and Bill Fly to draft a proposed procedural change to
the Regent's Rules. Jon Bible, who is the university Ombudsman, will be
invited to participate in these discussions.

D. Items from the Floor

Senator Gordon asked if the merit proposal passed by the Council of
Deans was to be the final policy. President Supple indicated that it
was. A question was raised concerning the exclusion of work prior to SWT
employment in merit consideration. It was pointed out that consideration
of such work should be negotiated into the starting salary.

Senator Gordon also voiced concern that the Texas School Safety Center
was losing its facility and currently had nowhere to which to relocate.
Dr. Supple said that Dr. Cassidy was working on an alternate space for
the program.

Senator Conroy inquired whether a determination had been made concerning
the percentage allocated to merit raises. Dr. Supple indicated that the
administration was tentatively looking at 5%, but that it was all
contingent upon the budget certified by the state Comptroller. In
addition, the funding pool was also impacted by changes made to the
amount of Graduate T.A. stipends.

Senator Conroy asked the President if he knew why the last two scheduled
meetings between the ATP Building architects and the Dept. of Art and
Design had been canceled.  He responded that he did not know the reason,
but would look into it.
 

Chair Hays thanked Dr. Supple and Dr. Gratz for meeting with the Senate

II. Faculty Survey and Governance Issues

A. Faculty Survey

The results of the recent faculty survey were re-visited to determine
whether any further information concerning faculty views could be
determined. It was decided that the bonus issue had reached closure,
particularly  in light of the President's report to the Senate.
Attention then turned to the apparent lack of understanding among the
faculty concerning the faculty workload policy. Has there been a recent
change to the workload policy? Is the policy in written form, and if so,
where? Has it been distributed to the faculty. Chair Hays said that she
would attempt to determine answers to these questions. Discussion then
ensued as to the impact of work load policy implementation on individual
departments and colleges.

B.. Shared Governance

Several Senators expressed support for the concepts stated in the
proposal for shared governance presented by Senator Gordon, but felt
that the success of having such a policy implemented was very doubtful.

III. Other Business

A.  A request was made for annual reports from committee chairs.
Discussion followed concerning the best use of the Senate committees. A
proposal was made to host a "social" with the Senate, liaisons and
committee chairs.

B.  It was reported that PPS 7.10 passed, including the change that
merit consideration would only involve work done at SWT. It was moved
(Bible / Gillis) that: "The Faculty Senate will make information
concerning final merit determinations available on the Senate web site."
The motion passed unanimously.

C.  Chair Hays reported on the recent meeting of the Texas Council of
Faculty Senate. In conversations with several members, many common
issues were raised, including policies overseeing intellectual property
rights. She also communicated a request from the Coordinating Board for
the three goals which would add the most value to the state of
education. This last item would be part of input requested for a
recently formed higher education committee.

D.  Information was distributed regarding a video conference titled
"Making the Right Moves in Handling Research Misconduct Allegations".

The minutes of 2/23 were approved with revisions.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:10.