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Sept 28, 2005 Minutes

Approved Faculty Senate Minutes 09/28/05

Members present:

Chair Stone, Senators Brennan, Conroy, Davidson, Hazlewood, Hindson, Homeyer, James, McCall, McKinney, Montodon, Rao, Shah, Sorensen, Warms, Winek

Guests:

Liaisons: Ruth Taylor, Marketing,  Jim Stutzman, Fin & Eco,  Phillip Kostroun, Clinc Lab Sci, Blake Locklin, Mod Lang, Mary Hoffman, Comm Studies, Sheila Hargett, Theatre & Dance, Leigh Kilman, Library, Gary Aron, Biology, Michael Blanda, Chem/BioChem, Ron Sawey, Comp Sci, Mike Fonstad, Geography, Dave Donnelly, Physics, Jana Minifie, Management and Clayton Medford, Univ Star

Meeting called to order at 4:00.

 

Joint Senate/Liaison Session:

1. Promotion and Tenure Rule Changes: Recent change in Promotion/Tenure rules were discussed.  An untenured faculty member applying for promotion to associate professor must also apply for tenure at the time.  Any faculty member who moves for a tenure-track appointment to a non-tenure-track appointment cannot move back to tenure-track unless it is the result of a national search.  The tenure clock can be suspended for a variety of reason with the approval of the Provost:  birth, adoption, onset of an accident or illness.  A tie vote in the personnel committee or college review group is a vote not to recommend.  More emphasis is being placed on documentation:  personnel committees, chairs, college review groups and deans should be specific about what and why a particular recommendation is being made.  A question was raised with regard to the Texas State vita template contained in PPS 8.10. Specifically mentioned in the template are external grants with no mention of internal grants.  It may be that internal grants still count as part of the big picture, but clearly, external grants are the ones that really count.

2. Faculty Constitution Changes: The newly ratified Constitution of the Faculty (9/14/05) should be posted on the Faculty Senate web site.  The definition of faculty voters has changed to include all faculty who are at least half time with no requirement with regard to type of contract or longevity.  Also, there is now a provision for a faculty member to remove her/his name for the ballot for the Senate.  Some questions were raised regarding why issues were not separately voted on the ratification ballot.  It was the decision of the Senate to have a yes/no ballot on the entire constitution due to the difficulty of getting enough turnout to ratify any change to the constitution.

3. Research Enhancement Program:  The University Research Committee, as a Faculty Senate committee, administers the REP, an internal grant program to promote research and grants at Texas State.  October 10th is the deadline for proposals.  The program is the focus of the next Faculty Senate Newsletter, which gives history, eligibility, guidelines, etc.  Encourage faculty in your colleges to make proposals.  Funding per college will depend on the proposals made within the college.  The current pot is $350,000.00.

4. Electronic Voting:  There is a working model for electronic voting for Senate elections.  The question is whether faculty at large will be comfortable with it.  Will different disciplines have difficulty?  Opinion on the idea seems favorable.  It will be tried for the next Senate election.

5. Faculty Handbook: A draft of the new Faculty Handbook has come to the Senate.  A subcommittee:  Senators Rao, Conroy, Hindson and Hazlewood, will try to get the document into a final form within the next two weeks.  An issue that exists: if the handbook is electronic,  How are changes made?  By whom?  Will there be faculty oversight?

6.  Liaison Concerns:  Liaisons from the various departments expressed the following concerns to the Senate:

a.       Vigilance. The Senate should continue to be vigilant.  Watch out for faculty who may feel unappreciated and disenfranchised with institution of more PhD programs.  A healthy institution needs its entire faculty working toward the greater good of the institution.

b.      Starting Contract Date. A nugget from the Council of Chairs is that there is interest in having faculty contracts begin August 15 rather than August 31 to reflect what actually happens at Texas State.  An example, what happens if a new faculty member falls down a flight of stairs before the actual contract date? Is he/she covered?

c.       Chair/Dean evaluations.  What should the Senate do about its survey if a real evaluation of chairs and deans is instituted in the spring?  Current plans show a survey very similar to the one currently done by the Senate.

d.      Status of Librarians.  There seems to be no great concern on this issue right now, but it may become an issue in the foreseeable future.

e.       Accessing REP Forms:  Michael Blanda indicated that the REP website has been tested for all platforms and should work.  If there is a problem, contact him directly.

f.        Round Rock Higher Education Teaching Requirement.  When the Round Rock initiative started, it was based on faculty members volunteering to teach at the Round Rock campus.  Now, it seems that faculty are being told to teach at RR whether they want to or not.  There is some talk of incentive money being made available to interest faculty in teaching at RR.  The money appears to have been allocated to the deans:  $1000 per section.  Is it actually be used to entice faculty to teach there? The Provost probably doesn�t want faculty teaching at RR who are unhappy.  There should be some caution with the allocation of funds to the deans without some uniform policy in place.  This might give the appearance that we are not one university, but just a group of colleges operating individually.  This looks like a PAAG item.

g.       Chair/Dean Evaluative Comments.  Some concern was expressed with how the evaluation comments from the Chair/Dean survey were displayed.  It was suggested that the comments be a single paragraph without the bullets. 

h.       Market Equity.  One liaison indicated that their personnel committee�s recommendation on how the market equity funds were disbursed was not followed by the department chair with no explanation to the personnel committee.  Were there other instances on campus? 

i.         Faculty Workload.  Concern was expressed by a liaison regarding their department�s workload policy.  Is workload being administered equitably?

j.        Travel Money.  The Provost has allocated $450 per faculty member to each college dean.  Last year the monies went to the departments.  If the money is to be used for faculty travel, why didn�t it go to the departments instead of the deans?

k.      Faculty Hiring.   A complaint was raised that policy is not being followed in faculty hiring.  There seem to be several departments where persons have been hired who have never been registered in the job bank.  There are ethical issues involved.  Supposedly there is no back door at this institution where a person can be hired without proper procedure.  Nepotism may also be an issue.  Again, it looks like a PAAG item.

Break:

 

Updates:   

 

1. Parking Fee Increases and Housing for Summer Camps:  In response the Senate�s query regarding rumors of significant addition increases in parking fees and costs for housing crippling some summer camps, AVPSA Joanne Smith indicated that she did not wish to talk to Senate about such rumors at this time, but would like to discuss student retention plans and how we might work together to raise our student retention rate.  AVPSA Smith will be invited to the Oct 12th Senate meeting and will probably be asked again about these issues.

 

  1. PAAG Agenda Items: The following list was developed for the PAAG agenda:

        There have been numerous recommendations to provide incentives to encourage faculty to willingly teach at the RRHEC. The Senate is aware that the Provost has allocated funds to the Deans with the understanding that the Deans would allocate the money in the most effective way for their college. In spite of these efforts the Senate is still getting complaints from faculty that feel they are being unwilling forced to teach at the RRHEC. There also seems to be little evidence of the application of the incentive money that was allocated. Would you please explain how the Deans are using the incentive money that was allocated?

        As we enter this year�s promotion and tenure cycle the Senate is interested in ensuring that the faculty have maximum feedback from each stage of the promotion and tenure decision making process. While the policy does provide that the faculty member will be notified of the results at each stage, the Senate is interested in a clarification of what the notification will include. Specifically, the Senate would like the notification to include the voting results at any stage where a ballot is taken.

        At a PAAG meeting last year you proposed the concept of a Sr. Lecturer position. To date the Senate has not seen a draft proposal or any clarification of the Sr. Lecturer concept. Do you still support this concept and if so when might the Senate be able to see a draft proposal?

        At the first of this academic year the Provost announced that there would again be a supplement of the travel funds to support additional faculty travel. This travel money was allocated to the Deans to be distributed as they feel appropriate. While there was an announcement of the additional travel funds many faculty still seem unaware of the supplement. The Senate has two questions concerning these funds. First, how are the individual Deans distributing the funds and second, is there some way to increase the faculty awareness of the availability of the funds?

 

 

New Business:

  1. Senate Newsletter:  The Faculty Senate Newsletter devoted REP will be sent to all faculty early this week.
  2. Round Rock Liaison:  There is a question as to whether there should be a Round Rock liaison to the Faculty Senate to represent the faculty at the Round Rock campus.  The Senate will study the issue.
  3. Not Enough Mail Space:  A question was raised about bouncing mail because of lack of disk space.  It was suggested that anyone who is having trouble with bouncing mail should contact Instructional Technology and request more space.