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Faculty Senate Meeting Information

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Apr 14, 2010 Minutes

Members present: Senators Feakes, Bond, Brown, Hazlewood, Wilson, Morey, Stone, Furney, Caldwell, Warms, Conroy, Shah.

Guests: Ellis, Chahin, Fleuriet, Cheatham, Fisk, Smart, Wellborn, Willoughby, Seidman, Covington, Heintze, Thorne, Bourgeois, Moore

Meeting called to order at 4:00.

Joint Faculty Senate / CAD Meeting:
1. Summer Course Funding:
Dr. Bourgeois explained that each November a table is sent to the Deans outlining summer allocations for the next summer. For the last few years, he has added to this initial allocation additional monies needed in the previous summer, making those additions permanent. Thus, growth in enrollments is being funded, but not salary increases. He also noted that this year allocations for the Round Rock campus have been included in summer allocations sent to the Deans.

The Chair asked how Deans decide on specific course offerings. Dean Ellis explained that departments first insure required course are offered, and that chairs then offer electives as money allows and enrollments justify. Dean Cheatham stated that in his college they no longer decide course offerings based upon seniority. They first meet the needs of the core and of graduation requirements. He admits that the offering of elective courses has suffered.

Dr. Bourgeois believes that the ending of the mini-session after this summer will have little effect on enrollments, since he anticipates that students will fill their course needs in either the spring or summer I sessions.

Several deans noted that it is getting harder to find faculty willing to teach in the summer.

2. Personnel Committee Composition: The Provost noted that he and the President have serious reservations about tenured members of departments not having a say on tenure and promotion decisions, but that they are less concerned about involving them in annual reviews decisions.

Among the issues to explore for faculty with significant duties outside their academic departments is how they might suffer in annual review because they have many other duties beyond their home department. Who should be the primary person involved in judging such faculty for merit? Moreover, what effect on salaries will be seen by these faculty when they return to their departments full-time? The Provost stated that the Senate's main concern seems to be about how such faculty participate in the duties of the Personnel Committee beyond tenure and promotion decision, and if such duties are requisite on tenured members of academic departments. He agrees that they should be involved in the workings of their departments. He also believes that Deans should be primarily responsible for performing the annual review of such faculty.

One Dean argued that the Faculty Handbook should be revised to reflect the realities of these new sorts of faculty, specifying their roles and duties. As well, policies governing such faculty are of particular need in smaller departments where their participation on Personnel Committees can have a significant impact.

3. Faculty Liaisons for the Quality Enhancement Plan: As the Provost explained, the SACS on-site team commented during their visit that the QEP did not speak much to the ways in which the goals of the PACE Center will be sustained after students' first year at Texas State. Thus, faculty liaisons will play a crucial role in insuring that students' transitions to their colleges for advising will be as smooth as possible. He sees the liaison position as something like that of an Associate Dean, and places the primary success of the transitioning process on the deans. For this reason, deans expressed a need for more information on the process as well as the nature of the faculty liaison position.

The Senate wants to insure that faculty liaisons are valued by their colleagues and rewarded appropriately in merit decisions; too often, service commitments are valued far less than scholarly activities. Senators and deans agreed that liaisons should not be assistant professors.

Among the other issues that will need to be examined in the coming months are the differences in responsibility between liaisons in small and large colleges, and the sources of funding for the liaison position as well as the new faculty hired to teach the redesigned University Seminar courses (in which many of the primary goals of the QEP will be promoted). The Provost suggested that an advising council for each college be created, made up of representatives from each department.

4. HB 2504 Update: Dr. Bourgeois outlined the rules of HB 2504 that require universities to post online university-wide course evaluations, faculty CVs, syllabi, department budgets, faculty salaries and work study positions. All this information must be available in no more than three links from the university homepage. Dr. Bourgeois also distributed information on the work of the subcommittee developing university-wide evaluation questions. The Chair explained that the subcommittee will soon forward its decisions to the university community. A pilot offering of the questions will be conducted during the Summer II session.

Dr. Thorne reported that work study opportunities are now posted, and that by August 15 department budgets and faculty salaries also will be posted. As part of HB 2504, Dr. Thorne's office must report its compliance to the Governor's Office every odd year.

BREAK

Joint Meeting Follow-Up:
HB 2504:
The Senators hope that the term "evaluations" will not be used regarding questions developed for the university-wide survey of student perceptions of instruction. It is important that departments' evaluations still be the primary source of information on teaching effectiveness.

Make-Up of Personnel Committees: Clearly more discussion is needed on this topic. PPS 7.15 and 7.19 state that Research Professors are not eligible for tenure. University Professors and Endowed Chairs can be tenured. The use of these terms is too cavalier and needs to be formalized. Moreover, the Senate wonders whether faculty who have no teaching experience can evaluate their colleagues' teaching.

Correspondence Courses: The University is exploring whether correspondence courses should be included in the computation of Texas State GPAs for the creation of Deans' Lists. The Senate wonders why they have previously been excluded. One problem is that correspondence courses do not follow the academic calendar, and so it is not clear into which semesters they should be inserted for computing GPAs.

Smoking Policy: The Chair outlined the University's plan for creating a smoke-free campus, and asked whether faculty are interested in examining the issue.

Faculty Development Leave Report: A few minor revisions to Developmental Leave policies have been recommended. The Senate supports making the entire submission process electronic, and hopes that reports will be limited to no more than one or two pages. However, the Senate does not see the value of changing the current reporting structure so that deans and chairs would evaluate Developmental Leave reports.

New Business:
A faculty member has expressed concern about the increase in parking fees.

Minutes of 4/7 approved.

Adjournment.