Members present: Senators Melzer, Stone, Caldwell, C. Hazlewood, Feakes, Morey, Brown, Martin, Wilson, Payne, Warms, Huling, Conroy
Guests: Zamora (Star), Bourgeois, Werner, Grimes, Autrey, D. Hazlewood, Habingreither
Meeting called to order at 4:00.
1. The Senate’s December 8 meeting, to be held in the Reed Parr Room on the 11th floor of JCK, will also be a liaison meeting to discuss workload policies across campus.
2. The first Senate meeting of the spring semester is January 19.
3. PAAG dates for the spring semester are 2/2, 3/2, 4/6 and 5/4.
1. Western Athletic Conference: President Trauth explained that we are now entering the highest tier of the collegiate athletic structure, a move that continues the process of all parts of the University striving to rise in all phases. The move has been a goal for many years; joining the WAC was welcomed by students and donors – all of whom saw having an FBS football team as an essential element of a major University. To join the WAC, the University had to prove its ability to make financial commitments to athletics, as well as improve athletic facilities. The recent increase in the athletic fee, passed by 80% of the students voting in the referendum, will generate 11 million dollars, eventually rising to 16 million. Additionally, gifts from the Fields family allowed expansion of the stadium, with renovations to the West side, which now includes suites that are already sold; those suites will continue to generate income. The next planned renovation is to bowl-in the north side of the stadium, adding 13,000 new seats and a fan shop run by the University Bookstore. Money is being raised to create a Strutters Gallery in the north side, as well. Groundbreaking for the north side renovations will begin as soon as design plans are approved.
There were, however, costs to joining the WAC and leaving the Southland Conference ($600,000 and $250,000, respectively); donors have made contributions to cover those costs. In future, travel costs for teams will be roughly $750,000 to $1,000,000. The President noted that this may seem like a major expense, but explained the teams already were flying to events at considerable distances.
The President iterated that the quality of Texas State’s academics was the first consideration of WAC officials as they explored Texas State joining the Conference. They were impressed with the University’s academic profile. Moreover, the other schools in the Conference will reflect well on Texas State academically.
President Trauth concluded by stressing that the athletics budget, like all budgets on campus, will need to be kept in balance. University reserves will not be used, since the athletics programs will be funded by student fees, donations, income from the stadium suites, and athletic reserves.
2. Questions Regarding the Upcoming Legislative Session: The President and Provost Moore explained that there are a lot of unknowns as the University anticipates the January Legislative session and the major changes to the membership after the November elections. The Legislature will be very different next year. To insure flexibility, the University has avoided locking onto one particular issue. Moreover, the administration is working with the new State Representative on important topics and concerns. It is possible that the State will consider TRBs during the next session, and lower construction costs make this a good time to build.
Provost Moore shared with the Senate seven priorities he had distributed at a recent CAD meeting. They were, in order,
1. do not terminate full-time academic employees for budgetary reasons;
2. hire adjuncts to meet enrollment increases;
3. refill open positions;
4. give 3% merit raises;
5. add net new faculty to meet enrollment growth;
6. provide funds for limited equity adjustments;
7. add faculty for new programs.
The University’s growth and efficiency makes the Provost confident we can weather well the budget challenges. Class size may increase somewhat, but teaching load won’t increase.
The President doubts that the State can do away with the Higher Education Coordinating Board, a plan some have put forward as a way to reduce costs.
University Curriculum Committee Recommendations: Chair Don Hazlewood and the Committee recommended that the following curricular changes be approved:
1. change the College of Science to the College of Science and Engineering;
2. change the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences to the School of Family and Consumer Sciences;
3. change the Master of Education major in Counseling and Guidance to a Master of Education major in Student Affairs in Higher Education;
4. change the Master of Arts major in Developmental and Adult Education to a Master of Arts major in Adult Education and a Master of Arts major in Developmental Education.
The Senate will vote on these recommendations at its December 8 meeting.
Overview of the AAUP Conference: Senator Melzer and Chair of the Senate Feakes reported on the recent AAUP Conference, noting that a major value of attending was the see our University’s place in the broader academic context (roughly 100 institutions were represented at the meeting). Texas State is lucky to have effective and accessible administration. At some institutions, budgetary concerns are leading administrators to hire contingent faculty to replace tenured faculty. Faculty had a role in the SACS process at Texas State, unlike a number of other institutions. The Chair believes that Texas State is well ahead of others because faculty here are not unionized. She also believes we are lucky to have a smaller Senate that meets weekly; many others had larger Senates and meet only monthly.
The AAUP “red book” of its governing policies is now in the Senate Office. The Chair suggested that in future copies might be given to all Senators.
One topic of discussion at the meeting was the revision of faculty handbooks, with presenters arguing that such revision should be an ongoing process so that policies in handbooks are current and reflect current PPS documents. Perhaps the Handbook Committee at Texas State can be charged with checking revisions to the PPS and revising the Faculty Handbook as needed.
A number of institutions also had Faculty Senate handbooks. The Chair thinks this might be a good idea, especially as a resource for new Senators; she also noted that the creation of such a handbook should be overseen by newer Senators, who can identify what policies should be included so Senators function effectively when they serve.
URC Recommendations: After discussion, modified recommendations were forwarded to Dr. Blanda, Chair of the URC.
1. Some are asking for the Senate’s reaction to the ASG’s resolution on allowing concealed handguns on campus. The Senate cannot lobby for / against state laws.
2. A faculty member had trouble hiring staff for a grant, and is frustrated with the complexity of the hiring process. The faculty member asks if the process can be simplified. The Chair noted that a recent Research Task Force made recommendations to the Provost, among them simplifying the hiring process.
Minutes of 11/10/10 and 11/17/10 were approved.