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Oct 15, 2003 Minutes

Approved PAAG and Faculty Senate Minutes 10/15/03

 

Chair Stone, President Trauth, Dr. Gratz, Senators Hawkins, Brennan, Bell-Metereau, McGee, Hofer, Rao, Shah, James, Gordon, Gillis, Peeler, Sawey, Faculty Liaison Echeverria,

 

Guests:  David Doerr, Rickey Purdin, Michael Korn, Patrick Cassidy, Andrea Flinn, Jennifer Talley

 

I.    Report on Raises

President Trauth said the raise would break employees into two groups:  faculty and unclassified or professional; the other is classified staff. There is a 3% pool for everyone:  For Faculty 1% performance and 2% merit; unclassified 3% performance with minimum monthly pay increase for lowest paid workers.   There will be a requirement that departmental committees make recommendations to chairs.

 

Merit here tends to be defined in one way.  President Trauth’s experience is that there are multiple ways.  This definition here is because merit is infrequent and hasn’t been given often, resulting in rigid definitions of merit.  Departments or colleges will articulate how they’re going to give merit.  There will be no university-wide standard.

 

Dr. Gratz added that he reviewed a draft of the memo on merit process that will come out soon.  Part will include pen and ink changes to current policy, requiring chairs to consult with faculty at this point.  January 16 will be the effective date.  The period under review is 2000-2002, a three-year period.

 

Dr. Gratz said there would not be any limit to individual raises, but schools will be limited to the designated percentages. 

 

Senator McGee asked Gratz to explain. 

 

Dr. Gratz said the pool of money is equivalent to 2%.  Once the department has that, the department can apportion this as it sees fit.

 

We will then undertake review of faculty salaries.  It will be compared to CUPA and indexed by rank.  We will have $750,000 to use in the spring to adjust salaries according to that national data set.  In 2 years we’ll put 1.5 million into faculty salaries over and above the 3% raise from this year.  Two studies will take place. We hope to have pay raises for next fiscal year.  We’ll repeat in the fall, indexing people to 2004 figures.  It is important to have the numbers and understand where we’re short on funding.  We don’t want to undo merit decisions.  It will be aggregated and given to departments.  There will be an oversight committee of faculty to review the methodology.

 

Senator Sawey asked if administrators would get equity adjustments.  In the past they have received as much as 33% raises under this type of adjustment.

 

President Trauth said that the intention for this is to give money to faculty, not to raise administrator salaries.

 

Senator Gillis asked if we don’t have a post-tenure policy, what will happen to people in the situation of having two years with a negative review. There are none in this situation currently, according to Dr. Gratz.

 

II.   New tenure policies in Regent’s Rules:

President Trauth said the most important terms are “property interest.”  This is language that was added to Texas A & M regents’ rules recently.  It codifies something that has existed at universities for a long time.  Every university has a process by which faculty are peer reviewed to determine graduate faculty.  Teaching of graduate students is not necessarily part of being a tenured faculty.  Tenure creates a property right to a salary, not to a particular office or lab space or teaching a particular course, such as a graduate course.

 

Senator Gordon said this explains why there isn’t a conflict between 1st 2 sentences and 4th, but there is a conflict with the 3rd sentence.  It guarantees nothing but the salary.

 

President Trauth said that if a property right is taken away without due process, then someone could sue.  But if you sued to get a particular office or lab, then you couldn’t assert this was a property right.

 

Senator Gordon asked what would happen if you sued to continue teaching. 

 

Senator Hazlewood added, for example, to teach graduate students, as approved by the graduate council.  If a faculty committee approved this, then there should be some recourse. 

 

Dr. Gratz said he didn’t understand the “without due process.” 

 

Senator Peeler said it does have a salary associated with a faculty position.

What is to prevent someone being assigned to a course for which they’re not qualified?

 

President Trauth said this has a narrow application.  You have a right to teach, but not to teach a particular class, or you have a right to a lab, but not a particular lab.  She said she couldn’t imagine a faculty member being in this position.  Numerous senators asserted that this has happened here in at least a couple of cases.

 

Dr. Gratz said that if someone has violated institutional regulations, the university has the right to move someone. 

 

Senator Hazlewood asked what happens if someone doesn’t have the right to their files.  This happened with A & M. 

 

President Trauth said the precedents suggest that the right is in the salary.

 

Senator McGee said the language seems to be oriented toward what the administrator does with a faculty member they want to get rid of.  Our interest is to protect the rights of faculty.

 

Senator Bell-Metereau noted that no faculty member has been successful in grieving against an administrator at this university, without recourse to legal measures.

 

President Trauth said that grievances encompass two big categories.  These are often separated elsewhere:  Reappointment, Promotion and tenure/ and then everything else.   The former should be done by peer review.  Other cases are different.  For example, teaching assignments or access to labs, or teaching schedules are separate issues.

 

Several senators pointed out that the grievances we’re discussing are not promotion and tenure, but rather issues of the administration not following policies and procedures.

 

Michael Korn asked if research isn’t the property of the faculty,

 

 

President Trauth said no.

 

IV. Academic Integrity and Honor Code

When we went into regents’ minutes, university specifically sought exception to section one.  The explanation says the university will go do an honor council to hear grade change appeals.

 

Dr. Gratz said the original review date was October 1, extended to Nov. 1.

 

The rule adopted last May was based on condition of acceptance.  The University got ahead of itself.  If we conclude a different policy is recommended, we’ll return to the regents for an amendment to this policy.

 

President Trauth said this is up for review, and we can decide what we want to do.

 

Chair Stone asked how the issue of modifying the rules came up. 

 

President Trauth said in March it looked like it was going forward, but we can go back and get it changed.

 

Senator Gillis said that if this was set up in March, the final revisions hadn’t been completed at that time.

 

Senator Hofer asked if this dealt with class size and un-administered exams.

She had a student leave with an administered exam, and this policy doesn’t seem to cover this.

 

President Trauth said we want to have the best policy for this university, one that upholds the importance of academic integrity.

 

Senator Sawey said that the bottom line is going to be that faculty will not want to see grade allocation taken out of academic affairs.

 

Senator Shah asked if we were expecting deans and chairs to talk with faculty.

 

Dr/ Gratz said his memo asked for them to share it broadly with chairs.  Senate said this hadn’t been widely discussed by faculty.

 

Chair Stone said senate had stipulated that grades remain with academic affairs previously. 

 

Dr. Gratz said this would be part of the consideration in the future.

 

Faculty Senate Meeting:

V. Sexual Orientation

Senator Hawkins introduced students who are presenting on the sexual orientation research they have done.

 

They met with President Trauth and she said it was a professional goal on her agenda.  The students were concerned because in the past, nothing has been done. They have contacted the Chancellor, Chair and Vice Chair of the Board of Regents.  This has to be on the agenda to be discussed with the regents.  The student group is happy to do the legwork, petitions, contacting the regents, etc.   They weren’t sure the best way to do petitions, and asked if the senate had suggestions.  The president asked for a packet, with faculty senate, with policies from major universities with copies of documents and policies from the top 10 schools nationwide, plus all Texas universities that have such policies.  She will write the regents to let them know this packet is coming.  President Trauth suggested that students work with faculty senate on this issue.

 

Chair Stone said the next stage for Senate will be to discuss this at Texas State Faculty Senate organization, and they will take the packet.

 

President Trauth had suggested that we get with other universities in our system to get them involved.   Polls are difficult, but petitions are easier to do.  Set up a table or work off the quad.  They asked if professors are willing to do it in class.  Senator McGee suggested announcing the activity in large classes, but the petition would need to be outside the classroom, so as not to seem coercive. 

 

Discussion of a letter from Michael Korn ensued.  Senator Hazlewood moved and James seconded a motion to discuss a poll.  People said we did a poll and then we approved language that was forwarded to the president’s office, Senator McGee noted.

 

Michael Korn said the discussion included the argument that a poll was too harmful or time-consuming.  He had studied the past faculty senate minutes and been disturbed by omission of details.  He stated that the senate’s position is not an actual representation of the faculty opinion.  There was no informational meeting on the issue. 

 

According to Senator Sawey, this is a kind of stall tactic.  He said a poll should not be anonymous.

 

Michael Korn asked if it would be possible to do it anonymously without repetition of voting.  Joe Myer said this would be possible, but he has no authorization to conduct such a poll.

 

Senator Hofer said we get anywhere from ten to fifteen surveys and polls a week to be filled out.  Most people delete them immediately.

 

Senator Gordon said he proposed a petition. There is a time when doing a poll or survey got something done.  When the deans had a bonus fund, the senate surveyed faculty to see what faculty thought of this.  90% said to do away with the bonus system.  Senator Gordon said he imagined there would be similarly large support for this change in wording.

 

Senator Brennan said that even if we found out that the faculty was against this decision by the faculty senate, they could vote us out.  Our job is to make decisions based on our own judgment, not to poll the faculty on every issue.

 

Senator Shah said a lot depends on how the poll is worded.

 

A vote was taken to have a poll, with three in favor of conducting the survey, and the rest of the senators against.

 

Senator Peeler said the faculty senate minutes are more detailed than any other organization on campus, and these should not be faulted for omission of details.

 

Senator McGee said there was nothing keeping Michael Korn from polling faculty on this issue.

 

VI. Workload policy

Senator James updated us on workload policy.  She said President Trauth had supported the notification policy we requested.

 

VII. The Academic Computing Committee

Senator Hazlewood will now be back, since Don Easter has resigned.  We have a history of a non-voting chair on this committee.   Is the C.S. person intended to be a non-voting chair?  

Senator Shah noted that conflict occurred with the committee, so the chair became non-voting.  The intent is to have a non-voting chair.  Senator Hazlewood will fill the position, but Tom Burnow has said no.  We need a Fine Arts person for that committee. 

 

Updated voting lists were turned in, and several said they would email Chair stone their updates.

 

Closing of the position of assistant for the Faculty Senate has occurred, and Chair Stone has screened the applicants.  We’ll have an assistant in the near future.  Interviews will take place later this week.

 

Senator Shah has asked for a timetable on liaison elections.  He is currently working with a past liaison on a committee. 

 

Chair Stone said this would be as soon as we could get an administrative assistant.

 

Senator McGee asked about timetable on out-of-country faculty.  Chair Stone says by next PAAG.

 

VIII. Other new business

We should send something out to the faculty regarding tenure and property rights-- research material, for example.  Dr. Tarsitano said the agreement they have negotiated has fallen apart.

 

Senator Hawkins asked if there is any written document after the PAAG meetings.  Several people asked if we should do memo follow-ups to PAAG meetings, to make sure the President is aware of the background information on issues such as grievances and other controversial policies.

 

Senator McGee argued for references to the specifics to be included in a memo we draft and send forward to President Trauth, after the senate approves such a memo.

 

Senate agreed to approve corrected minutes from October 1, 2003 and to table approval of minutes from October 8, 2003.

 

Meeting adjourned at 6:00. 

 

PAAG Faculty Senate Minutes submitted by Rebecca Bell-Metereau October 21, 2003. ________________

 

 

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