Minutes for 09/24/08
Members present: Senators Feakes, Bond, Furney, C. Hazlewood, D. Hazlewood, Martin, McGee, Melzer, Shah, Stone, Warms, Wilson
Guests: Trevor Jack, University Star
Meeting called to order at 4:00
Faculty Salary Data: The faculty salary data for 2008-9 is now posted on the Senate’s webpage. See http://www.txstate.edu/facultysenate/resources/faculty-salary-data.html.
Presidential Awards Committees: Presidential Awards Committees have some vacancies. The Scholarly/Creative Committee needs representatives from Health Professions, Liberal Arts and Science; the Excellence in Teaching Committee needs representatives from Applied Arts, McCoy College, Health Professions and Science; and the Service Committee needs representatives from Applied Arts and Health Professions.
Texas Council of Faculty Senates: The meeting of the Texas Council of Faculty Senates is October 24th and 25th
CREC: There are still a few vacancies on some College Research Enhancement Committees.
PAAG Follow-up: The Senate held a follow-up session with regard to last week’s PAAG meeting with President Trauth and Provost Moore.
Budget Issues: The President’s presentation of the new fiscal budget shows a definite commitment to hiring more new faculty to relieve the faculty/student ratio, which is currently 1 to 29.
Cancer Awareness Month: The Senate is pleased with the President’s response to name April as Cancer Awareness Month.
Graduate Commencement: It seems clear to the Senate that the administration is committed to stay with the current model for graduation ceremonies, although the Provost did indicate that departments and colleges were free to hold any extra special ceremonies.
Gender Identity: Regarding the Associated Student Government and the Faculty Senate request for a change to UPPS 04.04.46 that would strengthen prohibition against discrimination, including harassment, by adding the phrase "gender identity and expression" to the list of protections that currently includes race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, disability, age, and sexual orientation, it was interesting that the administration made no response to the request until specifically asked by the Senate. The Senate, as a whole, was disappointed with the response not to pursue inclusion of the statement. It seemed that administrative comments were intentionally blurring lines to be able to come up with negative arguments against inclusion. While the administrative comments were primarily about students, the main concern of the Senate is protection of faculty, staff and students. A Senate sub-committee will continue to investigate the issue and try to document any possible problems that faculty or staff may have had in the past, especially since the Provost indicated that he knew of no faculty problems with gender identity. The sub-committee is directed to look into what is being done nation-wide and to focus on the policy issue of antidiscrimination.
Assistant and Associate Administrative Titles: The Provost’s comments seemed to indicate that a chair could declare every faculty member in a department to be an assistant or an associate chair. There are basically no rules on the issue.
Department Affiliation Changes: The Provost’s comments on the possible move of the School of Social Work from the College of Health Professions to the College of Applied Arts indicate the process is now following policy. The Senate will continue to monitor its progress.
Joint Senate/Liaison Meeting: The Senate began working on an agenda for the joint Senate/Liaison meeting to be held October 8th on the 11th floor of JCK. Possible topics included:
- Grievance mechanism – does it work at the departmental level?
- Gender Identity -- Is gender identity an issue at the departmental level?
- M&O money – has your dean asked your department to give some of your M&O to support the dean’s office?
- SAP Access – would your faculty be interested in being able to see your department’s budget through SAP?
The Senate will finalize a meeting agenda next week.
Student Grade Appeals: Discussion continued regarding policy with respect to student grade appeals. While the statement: “…In accordance with Texas State’s records retention policies, a student appeal for a change of grade must be filed no later than 2 years after the grade is issued” appears in the Undergraduate Catalog—2008-2010, there seems to be no other official policy statement on the issue. One dean indicated that his office handled simple grade changes for up to one year after the grade is recorded, and under special circumstances, illness or something like that, maybe a little longer. The Senate will continue to explore the issue.
Faculty Committees: The roster of committees, posted by VPFSS Nance, is very out-of-date and contains erroneous information. The correct roster for Faculty Senate Committees is at http://www.txstate.edu/facultysenate/committees.html.
Insurance Committee: After discussion, it was determined that the Faculty Insurance Committee has outlived its usefulness. A motion was unanimously passed by the Senate to thank the committee members for their service and disband the committee.
UPPS Comments: The Senate reviewed UPPS 02.05.03 – University Scholars Programs, UPPS 04.04.52 – Retirement Programs, UPPS 08.03.04 – Public Art, and UPPS 01.04.01 – Claims Against the University. The only direct comment referred to UPPS 01.04.01, section 02.01, which quotes a state statute. The UPPS uses the words, “…the state may be liable…” but the statute actually says, “…the state is liable…” Chair Feakes will suggest the wording be changed.
- Retired Faculty Complaint: A retired faculty member was surprised that retired faculty are required to pay $96 per month for Medicare B coverage for primary insurance coverage and are also required to have funds in some ORP account in order to keep their university insurance as secondary coverage. There is a retiree checklist posted on the Human Resources webpage at
http://www.hr.txstate.edu in the FAQ column that details this information.
- Ombudsman Selection: A question was raised regarding the selection process for the University Ombudsman. The Senate will look into the issue.
Minutes: Minutes for 09/17/08 were approved as amended.