Sept 5, 2007 Minutes
Senators Stone, Bond, Davidson, Feakes, Hazlewood, Hindson, McGee, McKinney, Meek, Melzer, Ogletree, Shah, Wiley, Wilson, Winek
Guests: President Trauth; Provost Moore; Assoc Provost Bourgeois; Vice President Smith; Dr. Pat Cassidy, Chem & Biochem; Dr. Stephen Furney, HPER; Dr. Alberto Giordano, Geography; Scott Thomas, University Star
Meeting called to order at 4:00.
PAAG: President Trauth began the meeting by encouraging everyone to attend the next University Council meeting. She will be discussing the University’s budget, where new appropriation dollars ($13 million) will be going, and what is being done with security issues as a consequence of events at Virginia Tech.
- Faculty & Staff with Disabilities and the University’s Accommodations: Vice President Smith fielded questions regarding faculty/staff disabilities and accommodations. She indicated UPPS 4.04.60 was under review and that the section requiring departments to pay for disability accommodations would very likely be revised. She also mentioned the formation of an Interactive Taskforce that would be available to help guide department heads and supervisors figure out what accommodations are required and what resources are available to provide the accommodations. For the time being, any University employees should immediately make their needs known to their supervisor. The request should include a description of the desired accommodation, with an explanation of how the request relates to their disability, steps that have been attempted for accommodation and possible alternatives that might be acceptable. While an individual director or department head is responsible for any costs associated with providing accommodation, if the cost creates a financial hardship, payment can be deferred to the next level of supervision. Emphasis was that, when accommodations are needed, the accommodations will be made. Currently $75,000 is allocated annually from HEAF to address ADA issues. The actual amount in the account is considerably more than that since residual money from each budget is always carried forward to the next.
- Space Issues and the Four-Day Schedule: The four-day schedule is a step forward, according to President Trauth. She indicated that the University should continuously track the process to make sure that there are no unintended consequences, and that it would take more time and experience to insure the schedule is really working. One issue to monitor: is there any decline in student participation in University events from Thursday through the weekend. The intent is that the new schedule will move the University to better utilization of classroom space. If the Friday class schedule, which is supposed to be used for exceptions, impacts classroom utilization adversely, there may be some pressure to return to the old schedule or to require some portion of departmental classes to be offered on Friday. In response to a comment that it was difficult to find rooms for speakers invited to give talks during the week, President Trauth mentioned that such talks might be scheduled in locations other than classrooms. For example, there are rooms available for such events in the Student Center. Individuals with such scheduling problems should contact Assoc VP Heintze, 5-1977.
- Annual Performance and Merit Data: In response to the Senate’s request for the results of the Performance and Merit Cycle, Assoc Provost Bourgeois indicated that it would be provided as soon as the verification cycle was finished and that it should be no problem to continue the process automatically in the future.
- Student Printing Support: Provost Moore indicated that the decision to close the Ready Room was made primarily because it was not being used effectively. Departments in Business and Mathematics and Computer Science were consulted and were in agreement at the time. Current problems with printing, where queues are lost or scrambled, seem to mainly occur in the McCoy Building. One possible solution to printing issues might be to include printers in the computer refresh cycle. While faculty have computers that are no older than three years, it not unusual for a ten or fifteen year old printer to be attached to them. Vice President Van Wyatt will be asked to discuss the issue at a future meeting.
- Strategic Planning and the Department of HPER: There was a lengthy discussion regarding the recent changes that affect the HPER department. The Provost reviewed his decision to appoint a new interim chair for the department and his reasons for accelerating the department’s review process at the expense of delaying the new chair search. He indicated that, once the review consultants’ report is made, the HPER Department would have ample opportunity to react and participate. There would be major departmental involvement in the process of selecting a new chair.
PAAG Follow-up: The discussion with regard to issues in HPER spawned questions about a universal lack of involvement of departmental Personnel Committees with regard to transitions in departmental leadership. How often is a chair removed without PC involvement? The issue of PC involvement in chair transitions will be added to the agenda of the meeting with the Senate Liaisons.
It was also decided to invite Registrar Lloydean Eckley to talk about scheduling/calendaring issues. Vice Pres Van Wyatt will also be invited to discuss technology issues.
Committee on Committees Report: Dr. John Davis, Psychology, presented the Committee on Committees recommendation for faculty committee membership. He had a couple of questions for the Senate. The first was how to replace a committee chair whose term expires. The sense of the Senate was that a chair of a committee, if possible, should be a former member of the committee, providing some continuity to the committee’s function. The second was how to get librarian preferences for committee membership. Although librarians are considered to have non-faculty appointments, it was determined several years ago that they should serve on faculty committees. Since faculty and staff mailing lists are separate, some method to for receiving librarian committee preferences should be developed. The committee recommendation will be completed this week and the Senate will consider the reports acceptance at the next meeting.
Honorary Doctorate Committee: Senators Wiley and Davidson will serve as Senate representatives on the President’s Honorary Doctorate Committee.
Review Committee for PPS 4.01 and 4.02: Senators Hindson, Shah, Feakes and Melzer will serve as Senate representatives on the Provost’s committee to review PPS 4.01 and PPS 4.02 on Conduct of Classes and will report to the Senate.
Liberal Arts Research Committee: The current chair of the Liberal Arts Research Committee, Dr. Chavkin, is on leave for the semester. Dr. Marilyn Olson, English, was suggested as a replacement for the semester.
Texas Council of Faculty Senates: Senators Wiley and Wilson were selected as Texas State representatives to the TCFS meeting, October 19-20.
· Chairs on Faculty Committees: Should chairs serve on faculty committees? The issue will be discussed at the next meeting.
· Committee Membership Pitfalls: Should faculty members be warned about the involvement required to serve on certain committees vis-à-vis the lack of consideration service gets with respect to tenure/promotion? The possibility of a statement warning faculty on the Committee on Committees survey will be considered next week.
Minutes: Minutes for 08/29/07 were approved as amended.