Approved Senate Minutes
September 19, 2001
Senators present: Renick (chair), Peeler, Sawey, Gillis, Stone, Carns, Hays, Blanda, Blevens, Stimmel, Hindson, McKinney, Brennan, Stutzman
Guests: President Supple and his rubber ducky (lame), VPAA Gratz, Jim Irvin (Council of Chairs representative), Francis Horne, Mike Moore (font of information), Pat Cassidy (VPAA minion), Matthew Swartz, Melissa Ruud (ASG President), Johnny Quiroz (STAR photographer)
Chair Renick called the meeting to order at 3:58 pm.
Chair Renick apprised the President and Dr. Gratz of the recent goal setting activities of the Senate. One of the more important immediate goals was to insure faculty input in the selection of the new president. Dr. Supple informed the Senate that he had no way of influencing the make up of the selection committee but reminded the Senate that since his selection as president having Board appointed selection committees, which routinely included faculty, students, staff, towns people and other stake holders, had become the common model. He urged the Senate to write to the president of the TSUS Board of Regents requesting representation and suggesting nominees. The letter was already on its way. Blanda asked about any transition plans that might be in place. President Supple indicated that plans to have the presidential residence renovated were underway but that normally the old president leaves the office and the new one comes on board and there is not much cross consultation. Hindson asked about the possibility of promoting from within. President Supple replied that it was certainly possible as that has happened in the recent past within the TSUS. Sawey inquired about whether Chancellor Urbanowsky would remain and Dr. Supple was of the opinion that he would. Blanda wondered if we might, at some point in time, embrace the Provost system of university governance. This, of course, would be the province of the new president.
Drs. Renick, Bible, Supple and Gratz had met just prior to the Senate meeting to discuss establishing a committee to look at Post Tenure Review policies and procedures to help improve reporting procedures and intervention activities. Membership on that committee will be forthcoming. The Senate strongly recommends that this process should be designed to help faculty rather than simply to be a means of dismissing faculty who may have fallen out of favor. Drs. Supple and Gratz agreed that this should be our goal. When asked for numbers of people who were currently under review the Senate was told that there were no people in the second year review and only six faculty had received non-performance reviews for the first time. There also seems to be no department/college pattern. The Senate was encouraged but not necessarily convinced of this latter statement.
Lengthy discussion ensued concerning the ever-present FTE/SCH targets. The College of Business is finding it necessary to cap enrollments at 3500 in order to remain accredited. The students that will migrate from Business must be absorbed other places. SWT seems to be nearly maxed out(this is a highly technical term) in undergraduate enrollment but still has room to expand its graduate programs. Our greater growth this year has been in transfers and retention, which is positive. We need now to investigate, if we do cap the university enrollment at 26,000, how to encourage faster graduation rates so that there would be more room each year for new degree seekers. The role of the MITC in this process was discussed. The enormous start up costs for new doctoral programs were also mentioned. The Senate was assured that most of these were expected to be self-supporting within a few years. Dr. Supple mentioned that SWT is currently considered a "regional"university in the USNews classification system but that, as our doctoral programs begin to produce we will become a "national"university which will reflect more accurately who and what we are. We have also moved from Tier III to Tier II in the Carnegie classification.
There was brief discussion about the University Council and its place in the university governance system. Dr. Gratz suggested that the entire governance system should be studied to determine ways of improving it. Of course, deep sixing (another highly technical term) the council might be a good way to start.
There was some discussion as to how departmental chairs are classified: faculty or administration. They seem to be both depending on what task they are pursuing at any given time. Stimmel pointed out that they do have authority over faculty and are sometimes guilty of abusing faculty, which makes them seem very much administrative.
Stone asked about where new chairs might go to be mentored as a way of helping them integrate more easily into what is a very complex job.
Dr. Supple promised to appoint a committee to implement the academic honesty policies recommended by the academic honesty task force of last year. The Senate was pleased by this affirmation.
After Drs. Supple and Gratz left a brief discussion ensued concerning the role of chairs as faculty and the source and amount of salaries. These questions will be investigated.
After a brief break the Senate resumed to discuss policy for conducting business outside of called meetings. Because the Senate meets only once a month during the summer it seems appealing to be able to address some issues in other ways, such as electronically. (Whee! Perhaps we can become a "virtual" Senate!) Blevens is strongly opposed to the possibility of having issues dealt with outside of called meetings because it violates the spirit of "open meetings." Stone presented a detailed process by which electronic voting might occur that was vigorously debated. Meeting more frequently during the summer was also suggested as a solution. The issue was RTAd.
Chair Renick urged the Senate to read the new curriculum proposals in preparation for our next meeting which will include a report from the Curriculum Committee. He also urged members of the various goal committees be prepared with plans of action for the next meeting. We can also expect to review the Developmental Leave Policy.
Minutes of the Aug. 15, 2001, and Sept. 12, 2001 meetings were approved.
Meeting was adjourned at 6:05 pm.
Minutes giddily submitted by Joan Hays