Approved Senate Minutes
February 13, 2002
Senators present: Boone, Blevens, Blanda, Gillis, Hays, Hindson, Margerison, McKinney, Peeler, Renick, Sawey, Stimmel, Stone, Stutzman (All present and accounted for.)
Guests: Jerry Supple, Robert Gratz, Bob Northcutt, Erick Nielson, Gaye Krampitz, Patrick Cassidy, Micky Henry, Wayne Sorensen, Lee Williams, Dennis Dunn, Julie Eckert, Roy Martin, David Doerr (Star)
A relatively sedate Senate was called to order at 4:00 pm by chair Renick. Drs. Supple and Gratz were present for the monthly PAAG meeting.
1. Dr. Gratz immediately introduced an item not on the agenda but of great interest to the faculty; that of salary increases for the coming academic year. He mentioned that the staff salaries of those members of the staff at the lower pay levels did, in fact, receive adjustments this past semester. (Readers may recall that the Senate was outraged when a few upper level staff people received huge raises while the lower ranks were stiffed.) He also commented that the middle level staff members would be receiving an increase this next semester. Dr. Gratz then reminded the Senate that at the last legislative session a 3% performance raise was approved for the coming year IF (and this is a mighty big IF, pardners) C.K. Rylander certifies that the money is available. There is some question that the money will be available due to the recent economic down turn. Dr. Supple and Dr. Gratz are hopeful that University revenues will allow a 2% performance increase and a .5 percent (this is _ percent) to be used for equity increases. Dr. Gratz suggested that because there would be so little money available after equity adjustments that it would not justify entering a merit cycle for the leftovers. He suggested that we simply wait for the next merit cycle and include this year as part of the evaluation base. The Senate agreed that this would probably be a good idea. All present were a little astounded at this moment of ideological convergence and enjoyed the pleasant sensation briefly.
2. The Senate wondered how the Governor's Office Cost Reduction Initiative was proceeding. Dr. Supple remarked that at this point the University has already committed most of its resources and very little, other than capitol expenditures, could be cut. We are waiting for further instruction (and keeping a low profile). This may just be election year posturing.
3. The Senate inquired about the upcoming Regents' Meeting and the possibility of the University name change being approved. It will be discussed at this meeting, of course, but Dr. Supple did not want to predict the outcome or second-guess the Regents. He continues to emphasize that we are, by changing the name, not trying to become something we are not but rather to reflect more accurately what we are. It was mentioned that it would be legal for faculty members to email Regents about this issue but that must be done very soon. Probably by the time these minutes reach the light of day it will be too late.
4. The next issue for comment was the budget for Summer School. After paring the budget to the minimum the additional revenues needed for Summer Sessions will be taken from the reserves. This same process, to a lesser degree, will apply to Summer School for 2003. After that a different budget process will be in place to help predict Summer School needs. Budget projections are often based on conservative estimates and summer is usually funded on the "overage". It was mentioned that we have a higher than projected enrollment for this spring semester. This may mean sufficient paper clips and bic pens for Summer Sessions but no confetti for celebrating.
There was some discussion of the budgeting concerns of ACC, mostly wondering what the fall out might be for SWT. The fact that UT and A&M consider themselves under funded made the Senate a little testy. Would that they could walk a mile in our shoes! Dr. Supple did assure the Senate that, for institutions of their size, UT and A&M are under funded when compared to other states.
Senator Hindson commented about the higher percentage of females now making up the SWT student body. Dr. Supple commented that they were enrolling in larger numbers, being retained better and graduating more rapidly. There is no recognizable reason for this particular demographic, so far.
5. Dear to the Senate's heart was the next topic, that of SCH/FTEF and reallocation. Dr. Gratz indicated that as they look at how well a department or college might be meeting its SCH targets they will also be looking at departmental income and expenditures. HEAF funds and course fees would not be included in this assessment. There is a desire to redevelop how departments build budgets. There is concern that some departments may, for a variety of external reasons not be able to meet SCH targets or otherwise generate income. These departments should not be penalized.
6. We next tackled the Faculty/Staff Wellness program. The Senate wondered to what degree the University might support the wellness program. The PPS states that staff may have 30 minutes per day release time for wellness activities. These must occur on the campus. There is no mention in the PPS about monetary support. Dr. Supple feels that the bureaucracy needs to stay out of this and reminded the Senate that this is a University and not individual fiefdoms. Dr. Gratz suggested that it might be time to appoint a group to look at the wellness/recreation issue in Jowers. The Senate wondered if there is any regulation about who can charge fees?
7. The rumor heard by one Senator that faculty, upon retirement, might receive sick leave compensation was immediately put to rest. Not in your wildest dreams! Or words to that effect. This was once a state benefit (back when they didn't pay interest on retirement funds) but is no longer.
8. As we brought the PAAG meeting to a close Senator Sawey wondered how the Ph.D. costing analysis was going. Dr. Supple said that it was in process and that each new program from now on needs to be evaluated in terms of when we can afford to start it. Senator Hays wondered if Dr. Pankey were to take a proposal to Dr. Gratz for recovery of costs for the noon wellness activities at Jowers that it might be considered. Dr. Gratz made no promises but indicated that he would be willing to listen.
After a much-needed break the Senate reassembled to hear Roy Martin, chair of the University Curriculum Committee report on their most recent deliberations.
The first item for consideration was the change of the name of the Department and the Major of Speech Communication to Communications Studies. This has become the more common name for these departments around the state. Stone moved and Hindson seconded that the Senate accept the UCC recommendation to approve the change. The vote was 12 for and 1 abstention. That abstention was made by Senator Blevens with the following statement:
"The speech communication proposal was submitted in tandem with a Mass Communication proposal to become a School of Journalism and Mass Communication, which has been delayed by the VPAA. This agreement was approved by both faculties after consultation among faculty representatives from Mass Communications, Speech Communication and Art and Design. I cannot support this proposal until the agreed upon plan is submitted." Never let it be said that Senate meetings lack drama and controversy!
The second item for consideration was an increase in admissions standards for The Art and Design Communication Design major. It was proposed that students wishing to enter this program must take the four core courses with a 3.0 average and no grade below a C. This increase is primarily for enrollment management. Sawey moved and Stone seconded that the Senate accept this recommendation. The vote was unanimous for acceptance.
The College of Liberal Arts recommended that the grade requirement to enter the Center for International Studies program, an interdisciplinary program, be lowered from 3.0 to 2.75. This change of entrance requirement would still be higher than other programs in the state. The enrollment in this program has dropped over the past few years. Stimmel moved and Hindson seconded that the Senate accept this recommendation. The vote was 10 for and 2 against the motion. Some do not like lowering the bar for any reason.
The Department of Health Administration asked for a 15 hour Certificate in Health Administration. This would be graduate level courses and all people seeking the certificate must be accepted to graduate school and maintain a 3.0 average. Hays moved and Stone seconded that the Senate accept this recommendation. The vote was unanimous.
Julie Eckert, from the Alcohol and Drug Resource Center, visited with the Senate about some of the goals of the Alcohol and Drug Education Programs and mentioned some of the programs they offer. There was some discussion about drug and alcohol use on this campus. After giving the Senate some data she talked about recent surveys that indicate that the perception among students is that alcohol use is higher than it actually is. The concern is that this perception then spills over onto incoming freshman giving them tacit permission to over indulge. She also talked about an upcoming presentation by David Hellstrom who specializes in talking to college students about perceptions versus reality. She recommended it for all students and faculty as well. She also offered resources for faculty such as in class presentations when they are going to be away from campus.
New Business. The Senate was shown a memo from VPIT Wyatt concerning domain names. We hope to have a visit with Van Wyatt soon to elucidate this and several other topics. This should be electrifying.
Old Business: The Senate briefly commented upon the Lavalli hearing. We await the outcome anxiously.
The minutes were accepted after a few typos (several lashes with wet noodles!) were corrected.
The Senate then went into executive session.
The presentation of the data from the evaluation of President Supple and VPAA
Gratz was discussed. The following actions were taken:
1. It was moved by Sawey and seconded by Stone that the numerical results AND the written comments would be placed on the web site at the appropriate time. The vote was 7 for and 5 against.
2. It was moved by Stone and seconded by Margerison to give all the results to President Supple and VPAA Gratz on the Monday after the Regents' meeting.
The vote for was unanimous.
3. Stone moved and McKinney seconded that chair Renick write a cover letter which would also serve as the introduction to the material placed on the web.
The vote for was unanimous.
4. Sawey moved and McKinney seconded a motion to ask Senator Blevens to draft a press release for the Senate to consider. This motion was enthusiastically embraced. (Since Senator Blevens had to leave the meeting early he was drafted, so to speak.)
None of the evaluation results will be made public until the President and VPAA have had an opportunity to see and absorb the information. Marquise de Queensbury Rules, you know?
The meeting was adjourned at 6:20 pm.
Minutes contritely but confidently submitted by Joan Hays. Any errors will be blamed upon an under-educated paper clip that interferes with nearly everything one writes.