May 24, 2006 Minutes
Chair Stone, Senators Brennan, Feakes, Hazlewood, Hindson, James, McGee, McKinney, Montondon, Sorensen, Warms
Guests: Dr. Errol Tyobeka, Vice Chancellor and Principal Professor, Tshwane Univ. of Tech., Pretoria, Rep. of S. Africa
Meeting called to order at 4:00.
Academic Governance: Chair Stone reported on the continuing discussions on academic governance between Fine Arts & Comm. Dean Cheatham and the School of Music. The role of the Personnel Committee in school governance seems to be the key issue. The Senate will continue to monitor the situation.
Admissions Data: The Chair reported on the Fall 2006 Undergraduate Admissions Report (05/21/06). Freshman applications are up 8.87% over last year while applications from transfer students are down 2.04% and former student applications are down 1.61%.
Final Grade Submission: Chair Stone indicated that the policy for submission of grades by the Monday after graduation may be activated for the fall semester.
Round Rock Marketing Survey: The Chair reported that the Round Rock Marketing Survey showed that the general interest of current students was primarily in the fields of Education and Business.
Faculty Senate’s Administrator Survey: The Faculty Senate’s faculty survey of deans, the provost, and the president was discussed. In the discussion regarding the comments section of the survey, a question was raised regarding comments reflecting 3-rd party references. Last year, it was decided that some such references should be edited to remove the 3-rd party references. The Senate voted to suspend its rules to consider a motion on 3-rd party references in this survey. A motion was made to edit a particular comment under the Senate’s 3-rd party rule, but the full comment should go to both the Provost and the dean. Senators Brennan, James and McKinney will work on the comment to be considered at the next meeting.
Retirement Program Committee Recommendation: Michelle Massey provided the Retirement Program Committee with information about two more programs that faculty and staff might want to use in working toward retirement. The first is a Roth 403b that companies are willing to offer. The second deals with a plan that would put vacation pay into a retirement fund. The latter program, if adopted, would make everyone put vacation funds in a retirement fund. Penalties for early withdrawal would apply. The Retirement Program committee recommended that we allow the first program to be offered but not the second. The Senate agreed and forwarded the recommendation.
Development Leave Policy: It was suggested that the development leave statement requiring six consecutive years of service needed clarification. For example, what happens if a faculty member took a maternity leave for a semester; would that required six more years of service before being eligible. The consensus was that such leave shouldn’t require a restart in the eligibility clock. Senators Hazlewood, Montodon and Feakes will work on a possible wording for the next meeting.
Muir Mentoring Award: The Muir Mentoring Awards Committee endorsed changes to the Muir UPPS (UPPS04.04.36); the most notable one came as a result of a recommendation by the Staff Council that “Faculty with administrative duties, such as chairs and deans, will be considered with all other faculty for this award.” The Senate concurred with the expansion of the faculty category as long as a mentor was not in a supervisory relationship with the mentoree. For example, a dean would not normally “mentor” a chair. The supervision and development of chairs is a job responsibility of the dean. The Senate approved the statement with the wording, “Faculty with administrative duties, such as chairs and deans, will be considered with all other faculty for this award as long as there is not a supervisory relationship between the mentor and the mentoree.”
Background Checks on New Faculty and Staff: A question was raised about the cost of background checks on all new faculty and staff that are being required beginning Fall, 2006. While the cost for the check is reported to be approximately $30 per individual, one department has reported a particular check costing $500 and the department was required to take the funds out of departmental M&O. Senator Hazlewood will look for specifics on the incident.
Modified Retirement: Conditions have been placed by the Legislature to require the University to pay the retirement supplement for rehired retired faculty who had TRS benefits. To the surprise of some chairs, those costs for their TRS faculty on modified retirement are being taken out of departmental M&O to the tune of thousands of dollars. This item will probably become a PAAG agenda item.
Electronic Voting: While it seems that the Senate’s electronic ballot procedure is working pretty well, it is not perfect yet. The dean of the McCoy College of Business got a ballot to vote for faculty senator, which shouldn’t have happened.