April 6, 2011 Minutes
Members present: Senators Feakes, Brown, Melzer, Wilson, Hazlewood, Furney, Huling, Stone, Morey, Payne, Conroy, Warms
Guests: Zamora (Star), Moore, Trauth, Bourgeois
Meeting called to order at 4:00.
- The Chair shared with the Senate and Dr. Bourgeois that the AAUP National Conference is a good place for the Senate to share its many accomplishments. Dr. Bourgeois agreed, and noted his willingness to provide travel funding for Senators to attend.
- The Chair reported that data for the Chair Evaluations has been received. Surveys for evaluating Deans and Administrators will be distributed to the faculty on April 11.
- Provost Position: The Provost first stated that he has enjoyed his time as Provost at Texas State, and looks forward to taking on his new duties at the Texas State System Office. He explained that his specific tasks will be determined by the Chancellor, but he expects he will be able to offer counsel because of his many years of experience in academics and administration. In addition, he will oversee academic proposals coming out of the System institutions, coordinating them as they make their way to the Board of Regents. He will also represent the System at the Higher Education Coordinating Board, and might be involved in any searches for university presidents at System institutions, as well. Over the coming year, he plans to visit all the System institutions to acquaint himself with their goals and needs.
- The President added that Texas State is fortunate the Provost will be taking on these duties at the System office, serving as the primary advisor to the Chancellor. She noted that a national search for a new Provost will begin soon, with a search committee to be formed in the next few days. She would like to get most work done before graduation, so that candidates can make their campus visits in early fall; the new Provost should assume duties on January 1, 2012.
- Legislative Update: The President discussed her February presentations at the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Because Texas State is among the most efficiently run public institutions in Texas, the President’s message was well-received. She is worried about the stress on staff as the University continues to increase enrollment without new staff hires to meet the needs. She is also concerned that our student / faculty ratio is highest in the State. According to President Trauth, the House believes the message sent by voters in the last election was “no new taxes”; the Senate from the beginning of the session has been more flexible on this issue since there is more compromise needed for legislation to pass in that body. She senses some possibility that the Rainy Day Fund may be used to fund some Texas Grants for new students. Finally, the Administration does not know the nature of the cuts the Legislature will approve. An added difficulty is that the Legislature has asked State institutions to wait on setting new tuition rates. The President concluded by explaining that Texas State is growing at the right time; although such growth causes problems for the University, we benefit from our popularity among parents and prospective students.
- Summer Salaries: Concerned about changes to summer salaries at a few State institutions, the Senate is curious whether Texas State is considering moving to a remuneration system for summer teaching based upon per-course rates, instead of the system we now use that is based upon percentage of salary. Both the President and the Provost stated that they had had no discussions of this sort, though they too were aware it was happening at other schools. The Provost added that he was aware many faculty now see summer teaching as necessary rather than optional, given the current state of the economy.
- Additional Comments: The President appreciates that morale on campus is quite high, even with all the anxiety about the economy and the Legislative session; she knows that the Senate plays a major role in maintaining that morale.
- Faculty Senate Election Results: The Chair shared the results of the recent Senate election, explaining that she is still awaiting word from one candidate in the College of Liberal Arts. Induction of new Senators takes place on May 5.
Charge for Faculty Senate Committees, 2011-2012: A representative from the College of Science was selected for the University Curriculum Committee. The Senate also discussed which committee Chairs deserved course reductions for significant service contributions or projects. For the fall semester, the Senate selected the Chairs of the Faculty Handbook Committee and the Academic Computing Committee. The Senate will revisit this issue during the fall semester to consider course reductions for Chairs in the spring semester.
Definition of Personnel Committee Member: The Chair distributed a draft of the revised definition of “personnel committee member”: “Personnel Committee members are tenured faculty members who are appointed at a rate of fifty percent or more and who have at least one year of service at Texas State and who have taught twelve sections of courses at the college / university level.” Discussions centered around the required amount of time at Texas State as well as the particular amount of teaching experience to be stated in the definition. The Senate will return to this discussion at future meetings.
- A Senator expressed concern that two staff members recently have been named to the Senate’s University Arts Committee. The Chair will investigate who made those appointments, since only the Senate appoints members to its committees.
- A faculty member wonders why the Senate rejected an online version of the university-wide student evaluations developed in response to HB2504. As the Senate reiterated, the sub-committee that developed those evaluations voted unanimously against creating an online version of the evaluations. The faculty member also expressed concern about the new process for submitting and retrieving exams through ODS at the Testing Center, in particular the inconsistent notification of faculty when exams are ready to be retrieved; the Chair will contact the Testing Center about these concerns.
Minutes of 3/30/11 were approved.