Minutes for 02/07/07
Chair Stone, Senators Brennan, Conroy, Feakes, Hazlewood, Hindson, Homeyer, McGee, McKinney, Montondon, Sorenson, Warms, Winek, Wiley
Guests: President Trauth, Provost Moore, Associate Provost Bourgeois, Scott Thomas, University Star
Meeting called to order at 4:00.
· Legislative Session: President Trauth indicated that she will sit down with Representative Rose to discuss Texas State’s priority items: new buildings, the Academic Center ($42.7M) and another building at the Round Rock campus ($36M), both of which are tentatively in the legislative budget; more money for nursing and engineering; retention of tuition deregulation. There are some items of concern, not so much for their direct impact on Texas State, but due to the possibility of inadvertent outcomes. For example, some suggested changes in the top 10% student acceptance rule propose accepting students in a way that could throw out our use of SAT/ACT scores. She indicated there would probably be some kind of incentive funding this session. As long as incentive funding is new funding and doesn’t take anything from the formula, the President is for it. For example, cash awards to institutions for graduates in general and graduates with particular majors fit perfectly with our retention goals. Exit testing is getting a lot of attention, but there appears to be no funding set aside to do it. We’ll just have to pay attention to this. Possible changes in the financial aid system may cause the University administrative problems, but what has been suggested so far should add some new money to the program.
· Capital Campaign: President Trauth mentioned two points in the Capital Campaign. In the Bricks/Mortar portion, the Fine Arts Center is front and center. The feasibility study indicates the construction will have to be broken into two phases of approximately $50M each. The Athletics Facilities portion centered on improvement in the baseball/softball facility, increase in the seating capacity of the football stadium, improvements in Strahan Coliseum and the addition of new scoreboards.
· Merit/Performance Cycle: President Trauth indicated that there is currently a 3% merit pool for this cycle, but there is some hope that the Legislature will appropriate some new money. Currently, the cycle will be a merit only cycle based on the 3% pool unless something from the Legislature demands the use of the money somewhere else.
· New Faculty Positions: This year, there is money allocated for thirty new faculty lines, which include eleven targets of opportunity. Seven of the targets of opportunity positions have already been filled.
· Redistribution of Course Fee Money: The committee formed to study the reallocation of course fee money is still working on variables for a formula. There should be some solid information on the issue by the end of the semester. The idea is to move away from historically based allocation to departments for expenditures and go to something more closely tuned to enrollment.
· Academic Citizenship: Commenting on the Senate’s concern that credit for University service is being phased out by the administration in favor of a higher research expectation, President Trauth indicated the contrary: service is important and the University could not function without it. She did indicate that she thought tenure-track faculty members should be protected from having to do too much service and reiterated the 40-40-20 phase implying faculty performance is based on 40% teaching, 40% scholarship and 20% service. But she emphasized that she certainly did not want to send a signal to the faculty that service was unimportant. Provost Moore also evoked the 40-40-20 phrase and indicated that he was reconsidering some of the changes they were thinking of making to PPS 8.01, Development and Evaluation of Tenure Track Faculty. He did indicate that teaching and research were the most important issues for untenured faculty. Their service commitment should be less than that of tenured faculty and professors have the highest service responsibility. In response to a remark that the teaching load at Texas State is heavy for an institution with high research expectations, he indicated that a goal of the administration was to make the teaching load such that more time can be made available for research.
PAAG Follow-up: Discussion around the room dealt with phrases like 40-40-20, 70-30-0 and 30-70-0, depending on what college and department a Senator was in. It was decided to wait until after the joint meeting with the Senate and CAD before following up on the service issue because the chairs and the deans also appear to be concerned about the diminishing value of service in the faculty role. Senators Hindson and Montondon will serve as Senate representatives in the review of PPS 8.01.
Informational Item: There seems to be some discussion coming from the Council of Academic Deans suggesting a revision that College Review Groups be composed entirely of college faculty with no chairs. The Chair of the Senate was instructed to inform the Deans that the Senate is cautiously interested in the idea.