Approved Minutes for 03/08/06
Chair Stone, Senators Brennan, Davidson, Fite, Hazlewood, Hindson, Homeyer, James, McKinney, Montondon, Rao, Shah, Warms, Winek
Guests: Provost Moore, AVPAA Cassidy, AVPAA Bourgeois, AVPIE Fleuriet, Dr. Dan Lochman, Dr. Tim England
Meeting called to order at 4:00.
1. Board of Regents Meeting Update:
1. How well did the new consent agenda format work at the meeting?
2. Did the motion about the location of future board meetings pass and what
impact do you believe the motion will have on the system?
3. Were there proposed agenda items from other universities that you believe will
be significant for Texas State?
2. Teaching Loads for New Faculty:
It has come to the attention of the Senate that some new faculty seem to be coming on board with 2-2 teaching loads. We assume that these 2-2 loads are first year only and do not represent long-term agreements. While we are naturally supportive of reduced teaching loads this raises a number of issues. The primary issues are as follows:
1. Are provisions being made for funds to staff the lost courses?
2. What criteria are being used to decide who gets the reduction?
3. Will the reductions change tenure and promotion expectations?
Responses: President Trauth was ill so the questions regarding the Regents Meeting were deferred. Provost Moore and AVPAA Bourgeois responded to wide range of questions:
1) Teaching loads: Some department has been giving new faculty a 2-2-course load for a long time. Last year the administration recommended that all new faculty be given a 2-2 load for their first year to help jump-start their research programs. CAD has also been discussing having a 2-2 load for new faculty for about a year and a half. Right now, the 2-2 loads is only for the first year except for doctoral faculty with most departments absorbing the extra course for those two semesters. Actually, the administration is encouraging departments to adopt more flexible workloads, noting that the 2-2 loads is a result of recruiting and changing research expectations. Even thought it is encouraged, some department can’t give the 2-2 loads to new faculty because of course needs, but the general intent is to go to a 2-2 load for all graduate faculty at some time in the future. There were thirty-six new faculty positions added last year and the administration will try adding as many new positions again this year.
2) Summer Courses: In response to a question about summer teaching, it was indicated that the University is tending toward a set payment for each course taught. The standard rate will probably be 1/12 salary for each summer course.
3) Staff Teaching: Staff members who have taught classes in the past will no longer be eligible to teach classes. New policy now forbids a person from serving in a staff position and a faculty position at the same time.
4) Graduate Assistants: The question of the required 9-hour class load as a condition for graduate assistant appointments was discussed. When asked if the requirement could be waived during a student’s last semester if more courses were not required for graduation, the Provost indicated that he did not think that a graduate assistant having to take extra courses due to the requirement would hurt them in any way, although he did admit that the extra tuition expense would hurt a little. Dean Willoughby will come to the Senate to talk about the policy for the coming year. In the long term, the 9-hour class load will be part of the job description for graduate assistants. There seemed to be some confusion about what happens to a graduate assistant who drops a course during a semester and it was admitted that some waivers in the requirement are still being made, the tenor is clear that the administration wants to enforce the policy with no waivers.
5) Chair Evaluations: The Provost indicated that there was a more than 57% return rate on the electronic chair evaluations. There will be one more reminder to remind faculty members to record their opinions. April 15 is the date for closure.
6) Strategic Planning: The Provost is currently talking to department chairs to reflect what has happened with regard to their departmental strategic plans and how those plans might need to be revised for the future. One idea that the Provost is promoting is that the University probably does not need new undergraduate major/minor programs. He did emphasize that the University must protect the undergraduate experience at Texas State and that retention was a major focus, but we probably won’t have new undergraduate programs unless we eliminate programs that are not performing well. He suggested that the undergraduate program is about the right size. New growth should be at the graduate level. Undergraduate enrollment is projected to be up about 5%. A preferred rate of growth would be about 2%. Enrollment is up in masters programs and doctoral programs with current enrollment 27,200. When asked about how we can meet the needs that have been announced by the Coordinating Board, the Provost’s response was that there would probably be a larger portion of students first going to community colleges. At a meeting to discuss how meet the needs of the residents of the I-35 corridor, only representatives for Texas State and Austin Community College were represented. The Provost indicated that these schools can’t do it alone without help.
7) Merit/Performance: Merit/performance monies will be strictly for merit this cycle. Approximately 3% will be available for merit raises representing accomplishments during the 03, 04, 05 academic years. While there will be no caps on how much merit an individual faculty member can receive within the amount of money that is available, the Provost indicated that anyone receiving a merit recommendation out-of-the-ordinary will be subject to a serious review.
ACC Recommendation: Dr. Tim England, chair of the Academic Computing Committee presented his committee’s recommendation for RFP funding proposals. There was $500,000 available, with requests totaling more that $560,000. Dr. England indicated that there were fewer proposals this year, due at least in part by the directive that there be no funding for new labs on campus. The committee recommends funding for twenty-four proposals totaling $501,958.58. The Senate will consider the recommendation at the next Senate meeting.
Univ Curr Comm: Dr. Dan Lochman, chair of the University Curriculum Committee presented the recommendation of the committee. The recommendations consist primarily of new graduate classes to teaching assistants. There was also new course in biology at the doctoral level, a certificate program in polysomnograhic technology and a GPA increase for admission to the BSW degree program. The Senate at the next meeting will consider the recommendation. Dr. Lochman raised an issue for the Senate to consider in the future. With increasing GPA requirements to enter university programs, what will happen to students who do not meet the GPA standards? What will be the impact on programs and on students? Could the new requirements lead to grade inflation? What will be the effect on retention? Will there ever be a group of students who can’t get a major or minor?
Perceptions of Electronic Surveys: It was reported that some faculty members are very uncomfortable with electronic balloting and surveys. After some discussion, it was decided that the Senate would do an electronic survey of opinions on the President, Provost and Deans. A deliberate effort will be made to preserve survey anonymity.
Withdrawal Date Change: The current draft of PPS 4.09 for Schedule Changes, Drops and Withdrawals was circulated. It contains language that the automatic “W” drop/withdrawal period is “ the first 60 percent of any semester. The last day to drop will be the next working day after 60 percent of the specific semester has elapsed.” After the drop/withdrawal period students will be unable to withdraw from a course without an appeal to the department chair and dean. The draft seems to have CAD support.
Change of Grade by Chairs and Deans: The issue was raised that there seems to be a complete lack of policy on how student appeals for grade changes are handled. It will be placed on the next Senate agenda
Mace Bearers: The Chair asked for volunteers for macebearers at the spring graduation ceremonies.
Minutes: Minutes the last several meetings were approved.