Senators Stone, Bond, Davidson, Feakes, Furney, Hazlewood, Hindson, McGee, McKinney, Meek, Melzer, Ogletree, Shah, Wilson, Winek
Guests: President Trauth; Provost Moore; Assoc Provost Bourgeois; AVPEM Heintze; Dr. Cassidy, Chem & Bio Chem.; Tyler Ferguson, ASG Rep; and Scott Thomas, University Star
Meeting called to order at 4:00.
PAAG: President Trauth and Provost Moore discussed the topics raised by the Senate’s PAAG Agenda:
· Change to UPPS 04.04.46: According to President Trauth, the recommendation for change in UPPS 04.04.46 to include gender identity and expression as a discrimination issue was an appropriate and timely recommendation. She indicated that she was forming a group headed by VPSA Joanne Smith to study the issue. Dr. Smith’s group will:
1) Investigate the needs of our students, faculty and staff,
2) Look at what other universities are doing,
3) Explore what existing university policies might be affected and how they would need to be changed.
The issue is a currently popular topic that impacts all facets of the University. Change in the UPPS could be done as a local policy change, but the President indicated that she would talk with the Board of Regents before instituting any change in policy. The thorniest issue might be associated with residence halls and their policies.
- Security Planning: The President presented a general overview of what was being done regarding security issues. She indicated that each University makes their own plans in this area, but come specific topics that are being considered are: text messaging is being made available to all students, a plan is being considered for alerting individuals to potential lightning strikes, policies suggested by the Center for Disease Control are being implemented for pandemic issues such as bird flu. The University’s plan has been reviewed and labeled acceptable by county authorities. The specific topic of security cameras and their placement has now been put on hold while VPSA Smith and VPIT Van Wyatt reconsider the correct locations for such equipment and their maintenance.
· Advanced Degree Proposals and the Coordinating Board: There is concern regarding Texas State’s future PhD programs after the recent action of Commissioner Raymund Paredes of the Higher Education Coordinating Board to postpone consideration of two of the University’s PhD proposals, the PhD in Mathematics Education postponed until the January meeting and the PhD in Mathematics postponed indefinitely. President Trauth indicated the issue seems to have evolved due to the State Legislature’s lack of full funding for higher education programs. There is some discussion that if programs cannot be fully funded, maybe there should not be any new programs. Actions indicate that the Coordinating Board will be more conservative in the future and that new programs will have to carefully address need. Regarding future PhD programs at Texas State, President Trauth and the Provost indicated they will continure their efforts to get the PhD in Mathematics Education approved in January and the PhD in Criminal Justice sometime next year. The next priority programs will be Material Science and Engineering and Developmental Education in 2009 and Computer Science the next year. The administration will continue to work toward strengthening other programs in Public Administration, Health Administration & Management, Anthropology, Communication and Musical Art, but PhD programs for those areas will probably be five years away. It was emphasized that we must do an excellent job at the undergraduate level before suggesting a PhD and a genuine need for such programs must be justified. Regarding the future of Texas State, President Trauth said that we are right in the middle of what’s happening. Our programs, at all levels, are needed and we must continue to work at enhancing our research programs. More PhD programs are important to Texas State, but that is not our only need. Attracting better students and doing more for them by way of scholarships and counseling and strengthening our master’s programs and study abroad programs are definite targets. An Honors College, more scholarships and more academic advisors are identified needs. Both the President and the Provost indicated that no one should be ashamed of our efforts. We are doing a very good job, but we must continue to work harder.
PAAG Follow-up: Regarding the Discrimination UPPS, work seems to be progressing although some Senators thought study of possible implementation should include more than just how the policy would impact students. Faculty and staff should also be considered. The camera issue with respect to security seems to have been pulled back. The Senate will continue to monitor the issue and its potential impact on free speech. With regard to advanced degrees, the future is certainly not clear at this time, but the idea appears to have the solid support of the administration.
Development Leaves: The Senate recommended all fifteen applicants. The next step in the process is consideration by the Council of Academic Deans and, finally, the Provost. A separate committee formed by the Provost will recommend the possible $20000 awards.
Potential New Business:
- 4-day Class Schedule: Are we becoming a suitcase school?
- Development Leave Application Change: There is some discussion in favor of having applicants who have had a prior leave attach a report outlining their activities in that prior leave.
- Status of the Ombudsman Search: What’s happening?
- Study Abroad Program: How is the program going to be expanded?
- Next PAAG Agenda: Need an outline by November 14th.
- Advertise Development Leave: What can the Senate do to encourage more development leave applicants? State law allows approximately seventy participants per year. Texas State averages about thirty.
Minutes: Minutes for 10/31/07 were approved as amended.