October 3, 2001
Senators present: Renick (chair), Carns, Stutzman, Brennan, McKinney, Hindson, Stimmel, Blanda, Hays, Stone, Gillis, Peeler, Sawey
Senators absent: Blevens
Guests: Dr. J. Supple and Dr. R. Gratz (PAAG), Micky Henry, Mike Moore, Matthew Swartz, Miriam Echeverria, Margaret Vaverek, Roy Martin, Donna Bourke, Ann Marie Ellis, Gordon Thyberg, Pat Cassidy, Steve Holland (Council of Chairs), Larry Estaville, and an unnamed STAR photographer
The meeting was called to order a 4:00 pm amid jocularity about 50 year old home runs and other baseball trivia.
The Faculty Senate asked Drs. Supple and Gratz and the various accompanying guests if they could explain the differences between the projected budget of the original Geography doctoral program budget of five years ago and what the figures might be now. Dr. Gratz opened by saying that he had misspoken at the last PAAG meeting when he indicated that the program was considered a ìpremiereî program that did not have to become self-supporting. The current Geography doctoral program is meeting its five-year targets. (Folks, this does not mean, necessarily, that it is making money!) There were some changes made by the Coordinating Board such as capping the undergraduate and masters programs that caused some of the projections to be changed. Supple and Gratz agreed that now that the five-year period is up it is time to evaluate the Geography Ph.D. program to see what the actual costs and paybacks might be. To date that has not been done. This is, of course, why the Senate is so ferociously concerned. We know that money from the reserves has been used to finance this program and we would like to know if any of that money is being paid back to support the next programs or are these new programs going to further drain the reserve fund. Senator Sawey wanted to know what the true costs versus the projections were and, further, if these programs are not cost effective, out of whose hide will they come? Are these programs revenue positive, neutral, or negative? Dr. Supple agreed that this was information that we should now have the data to establish but that it has not yet been done. It is certainly what inquiring Senate minds would like to know!
Senator Sawey (Do you notice that he always gets to ask the fun questions?) wondered about space for these doctoral programs. It is well known that swTSU is very strapped for space and these programs take up a lot of space. The gentle response was that if a new doctoral program seems successful that it might bump someone lower down out of the new building/renovation queue. That may mean that some program such as Anthropology will be meeting in a yurt (We are confident that they will know how to construct them.) at some time in the distant future.
Gordon Thyberg then discussed the items that the budget office incorporates when preparing a proposal for a doctoral program. It includes courses offered, enrollment patterns, financial aid, a benefits formula broken out to university needs. Grant money; support for some TAs and GAs and faculty expenses were also included. A primary concern here also seemed to be tidiness. Senator Stimmel wondered how we are going to pay the graduate faculty we need to service the students we plan on, especially the raises that they will need to keep them on board. Dr. Estaville explained that the new Geography proposal would only require one new person because the hires for the previous program will be able to absorb most of the new students. The one new person would replace a retiring line.
Dr. Estaville mentioned that a number of the doctoral students were teaching undergraduate courses and therefore generating SCHs and that this additional income was not included in the proposal budgets. Redirect money from grants has also not been included. The comment about using graduate students to teach undergraduates sparked some discussion about continuing to be sure that swTSU undergraduates continued to have tenure/tenure track faculty in their classrooms. The Senate was assured that this was a priority in the Geography Department, as well. Dr. Ellis reminded the Senate that the CIP codes for the doctoral programs are well funded through the formula funding, bringing a fair chunk of money to the University. (You will read the Senateís discussion and response to this doctoral proposal later in these minutes. Stay tuned.)
swTSU Name Change
Dr. Supple will be going on the road to speak to various regional alumni groups about the name change. He seems confident that he can overcome the obstacles and implacable about pursuing the change. He says that once he talks to alums they mostly go with it and our major donors accept it as well. When we achieve the Texas State University designation he plans to ask for it to be exclusive for two years and then other institutions in the system may use that designation as well. It will cost about $300,000.00 for the change over including uniforms, and signage. Something about Torpedoes and Full Speed Ahead.
Dr. Supple, when asked, indicated that his primary goals before he retires are to finalize the name change, clearly establish the Institute for Freshwater Research, clarify funding for Ph.D. programs (collective sigh), and investigate developing a program in engineering. This might be an MS with feeder programs in other schools. TBA.
Graduate Tuition Increase
Some time was spent discussing the various ramifications of doubling the tuition for graduate students. Most other state institutions already charge the amount that we are planning to go to and it makes sense to move to that level as well. The stipend for GAs and TAs will increase a comparable amount so that they will not be penalized. Money from this increase will also increase scholarships, faculty lines, and infrastructure.
After Drs. Supple and Gratz took their leave the new Geography Doctoral Proposal was discussed at length and with great animation. The greatest concern continued to be that there has been no real evaluation of the finances of the current doctoral program. Although we again haggled about redirect money and TA SCHs there has been no official university process to clearly define what the actual costs and paybacks are from the original doctoral program. Until that has been done successfully approving more doctoral programs is shooting in the dark. We donít know who is winning and who is losing financially but we always suspect it might be the faculty on the losing end when it comes to allocation of resources.
Hays moved and Stimmel seconded a motion to accept the new Geography doctoral proposal. This motion was defeated 7/5. A small line in the sand?
Discussion concerning faculty nominees for the presidential search committee ensued. We now know that there will be a Dean, a Chair, a Faculty Member, a Student, two towns people (one the Mayor), four Regents, and possibly one staff person. The Senate will nominate three faculty and one will be selected. We will make this decision at the next Senate meeting.
It was mentioned that healthy salary adjustments have been made for Associate and Assistant Vice Presidents. Yawn? Humph? Egad? Is anyone surprised?
Chair Renick gave the Senate homework. We are expected to read chapter 6 of Beer and Circus: how big-time college sports is crippling undergraduate education by Murray Sperber for our next meeting. There will probably be a test.
The minutes for September 26, 2001 were approved as read.
The meeting adjourned a 6:15 pm.
Minutes determinedly submitted by Joan Hays