Approved Faculty Senate Minutes 11/09/05
Chair Stone, Senators Brennan, Conroy, Davidson, Hazlewood, Hindson, Homeyer, James, McCall, McKinney, Montondon, Rao, Shah, Sorensen, Warms, Winek
President Denise Trauth, Provost Perry Moore, AVPAA Patrick Cassidy, AVPAA Gene Bourgeois, AVPIE Cathy Fleuriet, Micky Autrey, Dir of Curriculum, Ron Sawey, Computer Science, J. D. Jamieson, Criminal Justice, Clayton Medford, Univ Star
Meeting called to order at 4:00.
- In response to the comment: �The Senate has some concerns about the development of graduate leveling courses. Many of the proposed leveling courses seem to be difficult to distinguish from existing undergraduate courses. We recognize that having students take these courses at the graduate level produces increased funding, but if the graduate designation is �artificial� it may be a case of overcharging both the students and the state for an undergraduate course.�, the Provost indicated that the leveling goals were to increase graduate SCH and to increase income, but the leveling courses should not be artificial. Each should be a bonafide graduate course. If a student needs lots of leveling to succeed in the graduate program, that student should not be admitted to the program until the leveling is accomplished. President Trauth added that the University wants to be engaged in best practice for graduate education and indicated there seem to be three ways for a student to level:
- take the necessary undergraduate courses;
- follow the business model which provides special graduate courses for a student to level at an accelerated pace;
- take stacked courses with a separate syllabus to provide leveling and graduate level instruction at the same time.
The graduate leveling courses, developed the right way, can be a best practice. In response to a remark that in some programs, 90% of the international students in the programs need remediation, but are unable to obtain visas without admission to the graduate programs, the Provost indicated that this seemed to be a programmatic issue and might need to be dealt with differently. The Provost agreed to provide a written directive on the leveling issue. The discussion will continue at a later date.
- In response to the question, �Based on recent contacts with the TSUS Chancellors Office it appears that there are some changed being made in the structure of the TSUS offices. Most specifically it appears that the Chancellor intends to increase the power of the central office. If such changes are being made, do you anticipate them having any significant impact on our university?�, President Trauth talked about changes in the Chancellor�s office over the past year and that while there is some difference in how the president of a university addresses the board: now the president reports directly to the chancellor of TSUS, there is no change from the point of view of the faculty. President Trauth sees some benefits to the new system both financially and legislatively. When asked, she indicated that she sees no flagship designation within the system. Some monies were saved by all universities in the system by the refinance of bonds on the system level. Probably the person affected most by the changes is VPFSS Nance. Construction management has been pushed down to the individual campuses, but this is a good thing at Texas State. We were already positioned to do this. One financial issue that may arise: some schools may be asked to loan money to Lamar University. $50 million is needed, but so far, that request has not materialized.
- In response to the question, �The Senate has concerns about the future of two programs that support faculty research, the Testing Center and the Faculty Advancement Center. Would you please explain the plan for these support units?�, AVPAA Bourgeois said that the Testing Center�s director, Paul Rafael, will be replaced by someone whose focus will be research support for faculty, specifically research methods support and research design support. The question, right now, is where is the money coming from for the replacement, which could be an external appointment. AVPIE Fleuriet spoke on the Faculty Advancement Center. With the return to teaching of Dr. Farr, there was an announcement to faculty that Beth Wuest, Assessment, was now in charge. A question was raised that although the office had moved, there had been no discussion with faculty about what new center should be or do. Dr. Fleuriet will put out a new announcement with a clear definition of what the Faculty Advancement Center now is. While the emphasis for faculty advancement currently is aimed at new faculty, a needs assessment indicates that the center will continue to do many of the same things that Dr. Farr did, but the technology stuff will probably move to Instructional Technology.
- In response the question: �What are the university's plans for dealing with the recently passed 120 hr. degree rule? Contacts with the coordinating board staff indicate that they are supporting a �wait and see� position on the implementation of this rule. In addition, some legislators are promising to remove the rule in the next legislative session. In this uncertain climate how do we intend to proceed?�, the Provost indicated that we should probably just wait patiently for direction from the state.
- In response to the question, �While the Senate applauds your commitment to increasing the size of the faculty, it is ever vigilant on the issue of administrative sprawl. We have recently heard that an additional administrative position has been created in the graduate college and that others may soon come. Are there any specific plans to increase the size of the administration?�, the President indicated that they are following the strategic planning process which includes new counselors for San Antonio, Houston and the valley with regard to the University�s efforts to become an Hispanic Serving Institution (HIS). The appointment of Dr. Cecilio Barrera to a 3-year term appointment as Associate Graduate Dean for Minority Affairs with the specific goal of increasing minority graduate enrollment is consistent with the plan. When asked if the position for Dr. Barrera, who the spouse of Dean Rosalinda Barrera of Education, was created in order to hire the spouse, the Provost indicated that the creation of the position was related but not contingent. With regard to whether the job was posted or was there a search, the response was no. The President indicated that while spousal hires has not been done often at Texas State; in this case, the hire fit within the strategic plan due to Dr. Barrera�s specialty in grants and minority recruiting. It seemed like the right thing to do. Some of the concern with this issue is due to the recent appointment to a faculty position in the College of Business of the spouse of Dean Denise Smart. It sounds to some faculty like the administration is not playing fair on appointments. The Provost indicated that he takes full responsibility for the appointments.
- The Provost raised a new issue regarding the written comments from Faculty Senate�s annual perception survey of the faculty on deans/chairs. The Council of Chairs, at its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, October 6, came to a consensus and expressed to the Provost that the Faculty Senate�s practice of publishing anonymous evaluative comments about department chairs/school directors was not in the best interest of Texas State University and in violation of PPS 1.10, Role, Evaluation and Step-Down Salaries of Department Chairs and School Directors. While there was not time to discuss the issue at the current meeting, the Provost will be invited to discuss the issue at a later date.
- AVPAA Bourgeois indicated that the final workload report was out. Each faculty member should get a copy of his/her workload as in the report and each departmental personnel committee should get a copy of their entire departmental report.
PAAG Follow-up: Regarding the nepotism issue, it was noted that the administration�s explanation was not a perfect counter for a recent hallway remark: �Our dean got her husband a job!� Regarding stacked courses, the question that is still being asked is: �Should we be doing this as an institution?�
University Curriculum Committee Recommendations: The University Curriculum Committee recommendations brought to the Senate last week were approved.
Development Leave Recommendation: After some minor corrections regarding the ranking of the development leave applicants, the Senate voted to recommend all fifteen applicants for development leave.
Senate Web Page Survey: Recall that the question was �Should the written comments from the Senate's Faculty Perceptions of Administrators be password protected so only Texas State faculty and staff can access it?� A total of 529 faculty responded. Of those responding 68% favored password protection and 32% favored no password. As a result of this survey data, a motion was made and passed to password protect the written comments.
Council of Chairs: A question was raised regarding a Senate representative to sit on the Council of Chairs. Currently the Senate Chair sits on the Council of Academic Deans. The consensus of the Senate was to recommend to the Provost that the Vice Chair of the Senate sit on the Council of Chairs.
Online Voting: There are still some bugs in the list of faculty voters, but it is anticipated that everything will be corrected before an actual faculty vote is necessary.
Updates & Announcements:
- There will no Senate meeting 11/23/05
- Look for the workload reports in the academic departments.
� There was some question of the definition of faculty voters.
� The FY06 budget is in the library. There was some question about requesting the budget be posted on the web.
� There is nothing written down officially regarding the roles of the University Curriculum Committee and the College Curriculum Committees. Senators Homeyer and Hazlewood agreed to work on a draft for possible posting on the Senate�s web page.