Members present: Senators Caldwell, Morey, Furney, Stone, Brown, Bond, Wilson, Martin, Conroy, Feakes, Melzer, Shah
Guests: Sigler, O'Connor (University Star), Slaughter (University Star), Hohensee, Nielsen, England
Meeting called to order at 4:00.
1. CAD discussed ongoing struggles with space issues on campus.
2. The 3/24 Senate meeting will take place in the conference room on the seventh floor of Alkek Library.
Parking Proposal: The Senate presented the following parking proposal to Dr. Joanne Smith:
With increasing enrollment at the University, faculty are being encouraged to teach additional evening classes. As a result, a principal concern conveyed to the Faculty Senate was the lack of restricted (red) parking spaces in close proximity to buildings where faculty are teaching evening classes. This situation is exacerbated by faculty concerns regarding appropriate safety on campus (such as poor lighting in parking garages and on walkways) in the evening hours. Therefore, the Faculty Senate requests that 5% of all restricted (red) parking spaces in lots across campus, with a minimum of 2 in each parking area, be designated 24-hour restricted. These designated spaces will provide a means for faculty to park safely and in close proximity to their classrooms/ offices/ laboratories, and such a change can be achieved without significant cost to the university or disruption to the existing parking system.
Dr. Smith noted that she could not speak for the Transportation and Parking Committee, but that it recently had been restructured and now seems to be working more effectively. She explained that it will be important to find out what parking areas are of greatest concern, and that the Committee is examining a number of plans, including use of the gates on the second floor of the Pleasant Street Garage so that that level would be restricted to those holding red parking permits. The Senate reiterated that it would like Dr. Smith and the Committee to explore the feasibility of the Senate proposal, believing it to be a reasonable and easily instituted suggestion. Dr. Smith will present the plan to the Committee and return at a later date to discuss their reactions.
Texas Council of Faculty Senates Meeting: Senators Stone and Melzer reported on the recent TCFS meeting in Austin. Among the items of interest were the following:
1. Acting Chancellor Craycraft reported on the Chancellor search, which is to be completed in May.
2. Craycraft noted that it is unlikely there would be a faculty regent on the Board of Regents.
3. The Legislature's Higher Education Committee plans to encourage the development of more online courses.
4. There might be a 7% reduction in the 2011 budget for higher education, rather than the expected 5% reduction.
5. Institutions should not expect many Tuition Revenue Bonds in upcoming sessions. They are encouraged to explore other means of financing new buildings.
6. The Coordinating Board is considering moving the count date for courses from the 12th class day to the end of each semester. Craycraft stated that this plan has widespread legislative support and will likely be approved by the Board.
7. In keeping with the national trend toward accountability in education, there is a push by the Coordinating Board to strengthen accountability measures, most notably graduation rates in Masters and Doctoral programs.
8. A presenter from UT spoke about online course evaluations, pointing out that typed student comments are subject to the Open Records Act, but that written comments are not.
9. There is a plan at one of the system universities to create new terminology for third- year tenure review, replacing current terms with "recommend with reservations," "recommend without reservations," and "do not recommend."
Faculty Senate Meetings and ITV: At the request of a faculty member, the Senate discussed whether Senators could take part in Senate meetings via ITV. Concerned about the effect such a system would have on discussions and the participation of faculty, and noting that Senate rules currently require Senators to attend meetings on campus, the Senate decided not to support this suggestion.
Joint Senate / CAD meeting: The next joint meeting of the Senate and CAD takes place on April 14. The chair asked that Senators suggest agenda items, making sure that the agenda developed covers issues that are of concern to CAD members.
Academic Computing Committee Recommendations: Committee Chair Dr. Tim England distributed a table of the Committee's ranking of proposals for funding. Of the 32 proposals submitted, 27 were recommended. All recommended proposals were for upgrades or replacements of technology in existing labs. Dr. Nielsen explained that the administration's current objective is to avoid using classroom space for developing new labs. He also explained that a good plan right now is to open labs for longer hours, and to find ways for consolidating existing labs into smaller spaces so that more space can be opened for classroom use or for offices.
A Senator inquired about the possibility of adding computers to classrooms, thereby keeping the function of the rooms the same but improving the availability of computers for students. Dr. Nielsen described such a practice as a "gray area" that might not receive the support of the Committee or the administration.
The Chair of the Senate asked Dr. Nielsen for an update on the planned printer refresh cycle. Dr. Nielsen stated that a plan is progressing; it has now been paired with efforts to create wireless printing on campus. The system will be tested in the new Nursing School, as well as in the McCoy Building.
The Senate will vote on the ACC recommendations at its next meeting.
1. The University Research Enhancement Committee had a resignation from the College of Education. The Chair asked the Senators from that College to suggest possible replacements to serve for the remainder of the year.
2. A faculty member in the Department of Geography wrote to the Senate concerning the process used recently for admitting a student to the Department's PhD program. The chair will explore the situation to see if faculty issues are involved.
3. The Provost has decided not to reopen the University Club, although earlier communications noted that it would be reopened after Spring Break. He believes that the space should now be used for academic purposes. The administration is examining whether there might other space for a faculty dining area.
4. PACE / QEP: A number of faculty in the College of Science are concerned with particulars of the planned PACE Center. Among their concerns are
a. the belief that the PACE Center asks first-year students to settle too early on a career path;
b. a question whether career counseling is appropriate for first-year students;
c. the perception that PACE makes the pursuit of a career the primary goal of higher education.
5. A Senator urged the Chair to explore with the administration the ways faculty will be selected to serve on the President's Task Force on Internationalizing Texas State. Should faculty be nominated by the Senate?
Minutes for 2/24 approved.