Approved Senate Minutes
April 16, 2003
Present: Senators Renick, Conroy, Sawey, Peeler, Gillis, Stone, James, Blanda, Gordon, Frost, Hindson, Bell-Metereau, Brennan, Stutzman, and Riepe
Guests: President Trauth, Vice President Gratz, Margaret Vaverek
I. Chair Renick called the meeting to order at 4:04, reviewed the agenda, and welcomed Dr. Trauth and Dr. Gratz. Dr. Trauth said it had been a good year and thanked the senate for the welcome.
II. Provost and search:
The provost is comparable to the VPAA. The provost is the clear number two person at the university, and this status puts adademics at center of the university. There will still be a president's cabinet, but things won't come to the president or cabinet level at the same point in the process.
Senator Sawey asked how much the new provost will cost and where this would come from. The differences in salaries constitute the amount of some departmental travel budgets, for example.
Senator Blanda asked if there would be a consolidation of subdivisions or if there would be even more layers of administration.
Dr. Trauth said that a research officer would not be moved into a vice president position. The Vice President's office is very slimly staffed, and the biggest hole is that there is not a senior associate provost. That person would be there every day and keep things moving. Whether or not the new provost is an inside or outside candidate, the provost will get to know the institution and the position before taking action.
Chair Renick asked how the provost position would affect the role of the president, and Dr. Trauth said that this would change the stage at which items would come before the president.
Senator Bell-Metereau asked if the office would be conducting an audit to see if any administrative positions or unit could be trimmed.
President Trauth said it was a pretty lean institution, but she is asking those sorts of questions, and there will continue to be some reorganization and reallocation. For example, faculty development goes on in at least two different places, and maybe that is good. An assessment will determine the answer to such questions.
Senator Bell-Metereau, asked if the assistant provost might serve a function similar to the Dean of the Faculties, which is used at some schools to handle faculty issues, dossiers, promotion and tenure procedures, etc.
President Trauth observed that Academic Affairs has three big pieces of the process:
1) Recruitment, hiring, tenure, etc.
She said she hoped faculty would see academic affairs as their home.
III. Tenure and Promotion
Dr. Trauth commented on current applications of policy on tenure and promotion. She said she had a conversation with deans noting areas of concern:
1) We need to look at tenure and promotion document and review it
2) Many people were assistant profs recruited with time toward tenure
3) Several people were at a disadvantage because of this
4) We need to assure predictability and continuity
5) STW's policy is different from other institutions in disconnect between promotion and tenure (on both ends of the process); this varies from college to college
Senator Hindson said the process went back to the time when we could be tenured with three years.
Dr. Trauth stated that the Deans felt they were doing people a favor by bringing them in with time toward tenure and promotion.
Senator Gillis said that the Deans were not always given a choice on this but rather they were told that they must do so.
Senator Gordon said that they wouldn't have previous credit, ordinarily.
Senator Stone said they believed it was coupled and others did not.
Senator Bell-Metereau asked about ways we could encourage good people to stay, other than early promotion.
President Trauth said that early promotion or early tenure is probably okay if someone is clearly a star, but we need not use it ordinarily as a retention tool. We will be working on having higher salaries, because that is obviously a need.
Chair Renick noted that the letters were going out this week, and he wondered if there were any way of determining the success rate.
Dr. Gratz gave a sheet on percentages of successful promotions and tenures.
Senator Sawey asked if tracking form copies would be available. Dr. Trauth asked if he would want to work at a university where we would have these tracking sheets available on specific individuals. Senator Sawey said that he wanted to know the date, and he wanted to be sure to have it without delay.
Senator Gillis asked if people who went up for tenure and promotion at the same time ( since requirements are different) had decisions occur separately or in conjunction. President Trauth looked first ant tenure and then promotion, but she wondered if they could be separate.
Senator Blanda asked if there were any one factor that was considered in the two areas. For example, in science, the saying goes that people are tenured on teaching and promoted on research.
Senator Frost suggested that teaching and research are not incompatible in the abstract, but they may represent conflicting pulls in the concrete. For example, if one is assigned to the Teaching Theater and one spends hours a week developing multimedia materials, advising students, holding breakout sections, etc., then all of those hours are hours that the faculty member will not be engaging in research. He then cited a case of a junior faculty member who was assigned to the Teaching Theater and who didn't produce as much research as she might have (although she did have the minimum five journal articles required by Liberal Arts).
Senator Stone said that we needed to rebuild the document to mesh with reality.
Senator Gillis noted that the teacher education programs are field-based, and this also makes research difficult.
Senator James commented that workload discussions are relevant to this issue.
President Trauth said that the faculty is too small, and we must figure out how to reconfigure resources to get more positions. The other vice presidents understand that this is an institutional priority.
Senator Riepe noted that faculty members in his department enjoy research, but there are not enough people to teach.
Senator Conroy asked about ACH goals, which drive us in the other direction.
President Trauth said we're funded on an SCH model in Texas, and this model may have made sense when it was implemented, but now we have as small a faculty as possible, and stresses and strains show. We will benchmark with other similar universities and figure out the goal of a number of faculty and work toward that. The number of fulltime faculty does have to grow.
Senator Sawey commented on the difference in keeping current in various fields.
IV. Employee Retirement System Changes to Insurance Benefits
Chair Renick asked if the President would be willing to request an inquiry of the Attorney General. She said she would ask Bill Fly about this.
Senators asked about the request for the SWT List Server, and Senator Frost said we get emails from VPs and have not been successful in getting one.
V. Faculty Development Leave
Two faculty members presented their proposals for Developmental Leave.
VI. The following items were RTA'd for future discussion:
1) Clarification of use of email to legislators
2) Faculty participation in Academic Planning Process
The agenda for the meeting with the president was set, and the meeting was adjourned at 6:20.