Mar 17, 2010 Minutes
Members present: Senators Stone, Bond, Brown, Hazlewood, Caldwell, Wilson, Feakes, Morey, Martin, Melzer, Shah, Conroy, Warms
Guests: Sigler, O'Connor (University Star), Allison (University Star), Hohensee, Bourgeois, Davis, Cassidy
Meeting called to order at 4:00.
1. Budget Update: The President recently spoke with Bill Nance, who has not heard that a 7% percent state budget cut for higher education is under consideration, although such a percentage might by reached when including deductions from the state for benefits paid within the expected 5% cut. The President also wonders if the proposed cuts will be permanent. If cuts go higher or are continuing, the University will have to use money currently set aside for merit raises. The Provost added that he is very concerned about the unprecedented economic crises, and is urging caution in all decisions about the budget. Thus, he cannot make any promises about filling faculty lines opened by retirements or about offering any lines for Target of Opportunity hires. To a question about the state of new or planned programs, the Provost answered that it is still the University's goal to change slightly over time the proportion of graduate programs to undergraduate programs – especially through the development of Masters degrees. For this reason, he encourages departments to continue thinking about future needs and programs; long-term planning is important. In fact, there has been a lot of growth in new Masters programs, and graduate enrollments are up.
2. Task Force on Internationalizing the Campus: President Trauth envisions the task force as a part of the strategic planning process. Its investigations and suggestions will cut across the entire University. The President is putting her charge for the task force into writing now. A large part of that charge will be exploring ways to effectively recruit international faculty. Other issues for the task force to examine include student exchanges, international research projects, the recruitment of international students, study abroad programs, and English- language proficiency programs.
The President expects the group to comprise eleven to twelve members from across the campus. She hopes a report will be completed by the end of the fall semester, when the strategic planning process begins.
3. Count Dates: President Trauth noted that the idea of counting students at the end of semesters rather than on the 12th class day has been circulating for about two years. It is considered by the Coordinating Board as an incentive for universities to retain students. Studies have shown that such a plan would have a small effect on Texas State's budget. The Provost added that he sees no reason to change the University's drop policy should this proposal pass.
4. SACS Reaffirmation: The on-site team will be on campus next week. The President is pleased with the hard work of everyone across campus as the University went through the reaffirmation process. She is particularly exited about the PACE Center.
5. HSI Status: Texas State is very close to reaching status as an Hispanic-Serving Institution. Achieving it will mean access to federal dollars for research, curriculum development and many other areas. In addition, other institutions will seek to partner with Texas State so they can make use of HIS programs and funds. Thus, reaching HSI status will have a positive impact on the entire University.
Academic Computing Committee Recommendations: The Senate voted to approve the recommendations of the ACC.
1. The Senate discussed whether there are major hidden costs for the developing MSE program, for instance large start-up funds for new faculty. The program has preliminary authority from the Coordinating Board.
2. The Chair will ask President Trauth whether the Senate can name a representative to the Task Force on Internationalizing Texas State. If so, she will put forward Senator Wilson as the Senate's nominee.
3. A Senator noted that his Dean believes increased teaching loads may have to be given potential budget cuts.
4. The Senate discussed the implications of the planned change to count dates for state funding, noting that some seem to think students dropping courses reflects on the quality of their teachers. Other reasons may lead a student to drop that have nothing to do with the teachers' ability.
University Research Enhancement Committee Vacancy: The chair again asked that a representative from the College of Education be named to fill the currently open seat on the UREC. Because the Committee is currently working, the position needs to be filled immediately.
1. The Chair asked whether there have been complaints about the University's admission standards. Senators noted that there might be concerns about the abilities of transfer students, as well as the qualifications of some graduate students and undergraduate students enrolling through special admissions.
2. Senate elections have started. The Chair's goal is to complete the process by the end of March.
3. On March 24, the Senate will meet on the 7th floor of Alkek Library.
4. Dr. Bourgeois will visit the Senate on March 31 to finalize the details for the Senate's Workload Proposal, which has been approved by the administration.
5. A faculty member wrote to ask if a new University Club could be opened in the LBJ Student Center. The future of such a club, at any location, cannot be determined until the contract negotiation with Chartwells or an alternative provider can be completed.
6. Dean Brown has asked the Senate to examine policies governing eligibility for the Presidential Awards for Excellence.
Minutes for 3/3 approved.