Chair Stone, Senators Brennan, Conroy, Davidson, Feakes, Hazlewood, Hindson, Homeyer, McGee, McKinney, Montondon, Sorensen, Warms, Wiley, Winek
Guests: Mark Fronstad, Geography, Susan Day, Sociology
Meeting called to order at 4:00.
Proposed Final Exam Schedules: Susan Day, Chair of Sociology, presented two proposals for a new final exam schedule to go with the new uniform start time for classes that will be instituted for Fall, 2007. The first proposal would extend the semester one week for a finals week, allowing faculty to use their normal class times and days for final exams. The second proposal was a schedule much like the current exam schedule, but designed to work with the uniform start time schedule. Discussion considered advantages and disadvantages of the two proposals. For example, the first proposal would have no class conflicts, but might double the potential for makeup-exam possibilities. Also, the first proposal would cause conflicts with Music faculty who normally do juried exams during the finals week. They would not be able to do this if the regular class schedule was followed. All in all, it seemed that the second proposal was more acceptable. Eventually, a decision will need to be made with respect to a final exam schedule. Think about it.
University Curriculum Committee Recommendation: The University Curriculum Committee recommendation from last week was approved to be sent to the next level.
PAAG Agenda Items: Agenda items for next week’s PAAG were discussed. The following agenda was accepted:
- Procedures for Future Faculty Raise Cycles: In the not too distant future, the university will again address the issue of faculty raises. Therefore, the Senate feels this to be a good time to open a dialog on procedures for future cycles. First, the Senate would like to clearly state that we do not support giving raises to faculty, staff or administrators who are not properly performing their duties. However, we do support the concept that faculty, staff or administrators who are properly performing their duties should not experience a long-term erosion of their salaries’ purchasing power. In a number of previous cycles, merit raises were separated into two categories of merit--performance and merit above performance. Performance was a minimum amount that would be awarded to employees who were properly carrying out their job duties. Merit above performance was to be awarded to individuals who had excelled in their job performance. The performance category of merit accomplished two goals. First, it created a minimum raise awarded to performing employees to reduce the issue of salary purchasing erosion. Second, it created minimum expectations (effective job performance) that were used to trigger such policies as post-tenure review. It has been argued by some that performance was actually an across the board raise because the vast majority of faculty received performance raises. There are several obvious responses to this argument. First, if at any point in time the university maintained a significant number of employees who were not performing their duties effectively, it would represent an utter failure on the part of the administration. The Senate does not believe that to be true. Second, using the criteria that a high percentage of raises denotes “across the board”, the last merit cycle also constituted an “across the board” raise. The number of continuing faculty not awarded merit in the last cycle is very comparable to the number of continuing faculty not awarded performance in previous cycles. The failure to provide for a minimum performance raise has probably increased inconsistencies in the merit cycle. For example, in the last cycle a faculty member under a split contract was awarded a 5% (high merit) by one supervisor and a 0% (no merit) by the other supervisor. It is possible that the performance of the faculty member was somehow dramatically different for these two supervisors, but we believe that a more likely explanation is in the inconsistencies of the evaluators. While it is conceivable that this type of thing could have occurred under the old merit system, which included the performance concept, we do not believe it would have been as likely to occur. The Senate is not committed to the word “performance,” but we are interested in a multi-part merit system where the first step of merit is designed to recognize effective job performance and to assure that employees are not suffering significant salary erosion.
- San Marcos and RRHEC Scheduling Issues: In a recent Senate discussion of class scheduling and final exam scheduling, the issue of scheduling at the RRHEC was introduced. Currently the schedules of the Round Rock campus and the San Marcos campus do not synchronize well and this seems to be creating problems for faculty with duties on both campuses. We believe that with the shift to the new scheduling system in Fall 2007 that these issues will increase. While the Senate has no clear suggestions at this time we were wondering if the differences between the scheduling at RRHEC and the main campus are being addressed.
- Technology Resources Support: The Senate is experiencing a growing concern about the overall campus support received from Technology Resources. Some time ago the Senate suggested posting the university budget on line and you seemed supportive of the concept. In a more recent discussion with Dr. Heintze, we suggested moving towards an electronic verification of the 12th day course rosters and he seemed in favor of the action. Neither of these matters has come to fruition and we believe the common theme to be a lack of Technology Resources support. When these examples are coupled with the “new web page system”, the questionable support for general academic computing needs, and inadequate support for such basic systems as wireless Ethernet, our concerns are increasing. The Senate enters this arena reluctantly because we believe the effective provision of these services to be clearly an administrative responsibility and Technology Resources is an area where the Senate has no special expertise. However, as consumers of these resources we feel obligated to express our growing concern.
· Minutes: Minutes for 10/18/06 and 10/25/06 were approved.
· Meeting with Chancellor Matthews: The Chair reported on talking with Chancellor Matthews at the Texas Faculty Senates meeting. The Chancellor indicated that there might be a move to enlarge the Texas State University System. Of course, such changes would have to be approved by the Legislature. There was some hint about a possible uniform textbook system. This is questionable since one third of the colleges in our system are community colleges. The Chancellor also indicated that he was open to new tuition initiatives that might allow differential tuition depending on the major as the system moves toward a flat tuition without course fees.
Development Leaves: The rest of the Senate meeting considered Development Leave application from Drs. Bob Rutledge, Accounting, Tom Grimes, English, Susan Morey, Mathematics, Kathleen Pierce, English, Mark Fonstad, Geography, Paul Hart, History, Greg Andrews, History, Ruth Taylor, Marketing, and Cecilia Castillo, Political Science.