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March 31, 1999 Minutes

Senators Present: Anderson, Bible, Conroy, Gillis, Gordon, Hays, Irvin, McGee,
Pascoe, Renick, Sawey, Skerpan, Stimmel and Winek.

Absent: Non

Liaisons Present: Linda Thomas (HIM)

Guests: Pres Supple, VPAA Gratz, AssocVPAA Cassidy, Carol Hazlewood (Comp Sci),
Margarek Vaverek (Lib), and Mike Moore.


1. "Temporary" Faculty Members
2. Board of Regents meeting report and a potpourri of other
3. Update on search for VPIT
4. Fall enrollment figures
5. Coordinating Board -- Field of Study
6. Gratz memo to Nance proposing elimination of step system
7. Status of Art-Technology-Physics building
8. Possibility of getting regent to sponsor Senate resolution
proposing board rules be amended to ban discrimination based
on sexual orientation
9. Other
MINUTES OF 3-24-99

Chair Bible called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m.


Dr. Hazlewood gave a report from the Academic Computing Committee. She
discussed the current draft of the Committee's request for proposals and
accompanying forms. After some discussion and minor changes Sen. Irvin
moved (Sen. Hays seconded) that the Senate accept the committee's report
and recommendations. The motion passed unanimously.

The request for proposals will go out forthwith. There will be copies
of this information via a link on the SWT Web Page, the reserve desk in
the Library, or the Senate office.


1. "Temporary" Faculty Members

Sen. Hays put forward some of the concerns raised by the Senate's ad
hoc committee on temporary faculty members. For example, SWT has full
time faculty members who have worked with year-to-year contracts from
as far back as 1977. There are some people in the lecturer ranks,
possessing terminal degrees, who have worked from 1991 and are still on
year-to-year contracts. The issue of whether or not these faculty
members should be given some additional kind of job security was raised.

Pres. Supple, who initially raised this matter over a year ago when many
"temporary" faculty positions were tranformed into lecturer positions, seemed
sympathetic to these faculty. However, he offered no change in their status.
One possibility noted was to offer these faculty three-year contracts, but
Pres. Supple said there was little chance that the regents would agree to this.
Another was to convert some of these lecturer positions into tenure-track
slots, but this would pose two problems: there are not enough funds for a one-
to-one conversion, meaning some positions would be lost; and if tenure- track
positions were created, the lecturers would have to compete for them and there
is no guarantee that they would be selected.

Pres. Supple noted that the only instances in which the regents have
agreed to multi-year contracts have involved coaches.

VPAA Gratz indicated that some related issues are going to be considered
in the May Regents meeting and some "changes" might be forthcoming; the
nature of these changes, however, is unclear.

Chair Bible asked if VPAA Gratz would support an Institutional Research
and Planning salary equity study related to these temporary faculty. He
said he would do so.

2. Board of Regents meeting report and other issues

The issue of funding for the Clear Springs dam repairs has currently
"disappeared" in the legislature, but it might resurface.

The SWT student contingent in the Regents-students laision group failed
to get sufficient support from student groups at our sister institutions
for presenting to the Board of Regents the Senate-sponsored proposal to
amend the Regents Rules to prohibit discrimination based on one's sexual
orientation. Among other things those student groups claimed that there
is a lack of hard data showing the need for such an antidiscrimination
provision in the rules.

Pres. Supple will bring the issue to the other system presidents and to
the Regent who chairs the local committee of Regents for SWT. He was not
optimistic that there would be any inclination on the part of either group
to bring the issue to the Board.

VPAA Gratz indicated that the Regents had approved the core curriculum
proposal for all system institutions and that degree programs will not
be re-submitted for approval.

Three new regents have been appointed, replacing three outgoing members.
One has served on school boards in Houston and is a chamber of commerce
director. A second is a person originally from Chile, now working with
Southwestern Bell. The third new member is publisher of the El Paso Times.

Plans for the Texas River Center have been submitted by an architectural
firm. The Texas River Center is a joint effort between SWT and the
Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife. The proposed plans call for
extensive changes at Aquarena and are estimated to cost $10 million.
There is currently no funding for the proposed changes, but depending on
certain legislative decisions this could change.

Among the long-range plans is the construction of a conference center on
the site of Clear Springs Apartments and adjacent environs. Concerns for
maintaining the archeological integrity of the site were also discussed.
Appropriate words of assurance were stated.

Pres. Supple indicated that "water well negotiations" with the city
continue. Meanwhile construction of the Art-Technology-Physics building
is on hold.

VPAA Gratz indicated that tenure and promotion notification is on schedule for
later in April. NOTE: UPPS 04.04.021 (par. 14.02) states that March 22 is the
"approximate key date" for "notification of President's recommendation to the
Board," whereas a calendar distributed to the deans by the VPAA's office (dated
8/98) lists 04/16 as the date for the "List of faculty members eligible for
consideration in FY 2000 Tenure and Promotion process."

3. Update on search for VPIT

A few months ago Pres. Supple put the VPIT (Vice President for Information
and Technology) search on hold. Three executive search firms are being
considered to help find a "suitable" set of candidates. One will be
selected soon, and it is expected that thereafter the process will take
another two or three months. A timetable for this process is expected in
two or three weeks. Typically such search firms charge around 1/3 of the
candidate's annual salary, plus expenses.

Pres. Supple gave assurances that all "stakeholders" will be consulted in
this process.

The firm of KPMG is being hired to do a needs assessment for information
technology at SWT. This "broad-based" effort has a base price of $39K.
It could cost more if additional requests are made, depending upon their
findings. Issues such as buying vs. locally producing software, platform
selection, academic vs. administrative computing needs, will be studied.

A question related to whether or not the VPIT search should wait for the
needs assessment was raised. The search is going forward.

The question of the candidates who were submitted by the SWT search
committee not having "vision" or there being a "lack of enthusiasm" was
raised, again. Pres. Supple indicated that he felt that the candidates
reflected a strong "operational" knowledge in computing, but he wanted
someone who would say, "Fix it," rather than actually fix it.

In response to the question of whether or not the president was simply
holding out for a candidate from an affected class or a female, the
president indicated that such a candidate would be preferable, but he
wanted the best qualified person, above all.

At this point two other ancillary issues were raised. First Sen. Sawey
indicated that if the accreditation effort were to move forward in
Computer Science movement on space concerns for the department needed to
take place forthwith. A plan must be submitted to the accrediting agency
by April 15. AssocVP Cassidy indicated that Computer Science had the
"highest priority." Sen. Sawey asked if this would translate into action,
and Cassidy indicated that he hoped so. When the president and VPAA were
asked if they knew anything about this problem, they indicated not.

Sen. Conroy asked if the search for the new AssocVP in charge of research
and outside funding would include a broad-based set of the faculty and not
just scientists. She was assured that the search committee would possess
such a broad base.

4. Fall enrollment figures

Pres. Supple indicated that there is considerable concern over the
fact that the overall enrollment applications have been running 25% behind
those of last year, although recent figures show an "improvement" to 19%
behind those of last year. SWT seems to be the only institution is such a
situation. Several possible explanations have been put forward,
although none seems fully satisfying:

The freshman essay requirement.

Publicity of the recent fraternity-related deaths.

The complicated nature of the new "common application" forms and high
school counselors being unfamiliar with them.

Our new admissions director needing to become "acclimated" to Texas.

There still remains the nagging concern that other institutions do not
seem to be having similar experiences. However, our SAT and ACT score
submissions are exceeding those of last year. It was also noted that
there is a large number of requests for financial aid unaccompanied by
enrollment applications, which seems very odd.

Pres. Supple said that he hoped that last fall's enrollment increase and
our retention efforts could mitigate the effects of a possible drop in
enrollment this year. He also indicated that if the 25% reduction in
enrollment holds, it could mean as much as a $1.5 million shortfall and
that if this occurs, we will need to do an in-depth analysis of what we
are going to do next year to try to turn around the situation.

Chair Bible raised the issue of the dormitory applications being down
significantly, and Pres. Supple said that he thought it was a little
early to give these numbers much credence since the numbers were small
and small variations could affect the results greatly.

Pres. Supple indicated that UT-Austin was significantly over-subscribed.
Sen. McGee asked if there would be time for those not getting into UT
to apply to SWT. Pres. Supple indicated that there would be.

Pres. Supple also said that there are two bills before the legislature
that relate to funding at SWT. The one in the House is considerably
less favorable to SWT than the one in the Senate, and depending on which
(or some combination thereof) leaves the legislature, they could help
mitigate a possible lower enrollment next fall.

VPAA Gratz reminded the group that 2000 is a "counting year," used to
calculate state funding and a lowered enrollment next fall could affect
state formula funding for sometime to come.

5. Coordinating Board -- Field of Study

The question of where matters stand with respect to various fields of
study was raised. VPAA Gratz said that there are two fields of study up
for review at the Coordinating Board: criminal justice and early childhood
education. However, he knew of no plans for a widespread review of fields
of study underway at the Board. We should know more about the situation
after its April meeting.

6. Gratz memo to Nance proposing elimination of step system

The matter of the step system used to determine salaries was discussed
briefly. Pres. Supple voiced his preference for the elimination of this
system. VPAA Gratz indicated that since there are discussions underway
(a vpfss committee) concerning software re-design, he has proposed the
elimination of the step system for discussion in that committee.

7. Status of Art-Technolog-Physics building

The building is currently on hold. See #2, "Board of regents report."

8. Possibility of getting regent to sponsor Senate resolution proposing
board rules be amended to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.
See #2., "Board of regents report."

9. Other

Sen. Pascoe asked about the status of the University Farm. Pres. Supple
indicated that several responses to a request for proposals are under
consideration. He indicated that the university had no intentions of
selling the property.

Sen. Conroy invited everyone to the current faculty exhibitions in the
university art gallery.


Sen. Anderson, newly-appointed chair of the Senate's Academic Policy
Oversight Committee, led a discussion concerning the charge of and the
process of study to be used by the committee in its investigation of
whether departments are following stated policies in matters of merit,
tenure and promotion. After extensive discussion this matter was RTA'd
to the agenda of the next meeting.

MINUTES OF 2-24-99 were approved.

The Senate adjourned at 6:05 p.m.