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Feb 9, 2011 Minutes

Members present:  Senators Stone, Furney, Feakes, Huling, Brown, Wilson, Hazlewood, Payne, Melzer, Morey, Conroy, Warms

Guests: Sigler, Zamora (Star), Bourgeois, Autrey

Meeting called to order at 4:00.


1. Van Wyatt will visit the Senate on 2/16 to discuss the recent changes to the computer refresh cycle, as well as the faculty’s access to Lynda.com.

TA Parking Permits: Associate Provost Bourgeois discussed a proposal forwarded to him by Dr. Joann Smith and the Transportation and Parking Committee. A Dean has inquired about the possibility of allowing graduate teaching assistants to purchase red restricted parking permits – an issue that arose during the revision of the PPS governing parking on campus.  Roughly 100 graduate teaching assistants would be eligible, and would also be eligible for the reduced fee offered to faculty with salaries below $25,000.  The justification for such a change is that graduate teaching assistants are teachers-of-record and thus should be accorded the same parking privileges as traditional full-time and adjunct faculty.  The Senate will return to this issue at its next meeting.

Role of Faculty at Commencement Ceremonies: At the request of the Commencement Committee, in particular Mickey Autrey, the Senate discussed comments on recent surveys of graduating students that indicate a number of students would like faculty to play a larger role in commencement ceremonies.  Among the suggestions raised by Senators were the following:

1. Create a separate ceremony for graduate students, at which each students is hooded individually;

2. Encourage faculty to arrive early and mingle with students in Strahan gyms while the students line-up for commencement;

3. Create a faculty receiving line in the hallway outside the coliseum-proper;

4. Develop receptions hosted by the various disciplines, to meet before commencement ceremonies;

5. Organize students by major, rather than alphabetically, with each major led to the diploma ramp by a faculty member;

6. Hold Awards Days on the same days as commencement.

The Senate will continue to explore this topic at future meetings, perhaps developing it into a PAAG item.


Campus Safety Committee Representation: The Senate’s Facilities Committee will select a representative on the Campus Safety Committee, as well as exploring whether the Facilities Committee should take an active role in the review of campus safety concerns.

Faculty Handbook: The Chair distributed copies of the 2006 edition of the Faculty Handbook, the final version that was printed in hard copy.  A 2007 version is posted online.  The Senate will explore naming a Chair for the Faculty Handbook Committee, since a revision of the Handbook is needed, as is a new process for updating the Handbook at the times changes to relevant policies are made at the University.  The Chair of the Senate noted that giving the selected Chair assigned time this year would be wise.  The Senate will return to the topic soon to settle on the process for selecting a Chair.

New Business:

1. Public Art: There is a PPS governing the process for procuring art for new campus buildings; however, the process offers no role for faculty in selecting such art.  The Senate will explore ways to revise the PPS to include faculty input in choosing art for new buildings.

2. The Chair will create a folder for the Senate’s TRACS site, compiling communications from faculty on the discussions about revisions to the definitions of “faculty” and “personnel committee membership.”

3. A faculty member has asked about University-wide student evaluations, which will be posted soon on the University website.  The faculty member is curious whether the questions created for HB 2504 will eventually be incorporated into Departmental evaluations.  There is also concern whether the rating scales between the new evaluations and Departmental evaluations are consistent.  The Chair noted that the sub-committee that developed the questions will be meeting soon to discuss the first round of administering the new evaluations.  She also reminded the Senate that evaluations will not generate numbers; rather, histograms will be posted for each question.  She also discussed the desire of the Testing Center to move the entire process online, a move about which reportedly one third of all University departments agree.  The Senate sub-committee was very clear in opposing offering the evaluations online and in these evaluations having any role in faculty evaluations.

4. A number of faculty are curious about the recent change at ODS that requires faculty to retrieve exams administered at the ODS office.  The Chair will investigate the justifications for the change.

5. A Senator requested an update on the Workload Task Force.  The Chair explained that the Task Force has been meeting regularly to revise relevant policy and documents, making them more consistent.  They will meet with Dr. Bourgeois to discuss the relevant workload policies for teaching online classes.  Soon a draft copy of revisions will be emailed to faculty, with open forums to be held.  Departments will need to revise or create their own workload policies once the main PPS is approved.

Minutes of 2/2/11 were approved.