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Nov 7, 2001 Minutes



Approved Senate Minutes

November 7, 2001
All Senators were present.

Guests: Robert Gratz,  Matthew Swartz, Margaret Vaverek, Sue McCullough, Barbara Sanders (Council of Chairs representative), Karen Brown, Bob McLean, Lori Hughes, Anitra Abdullah-Levy, Selene Hinojosa, Mike Moore and Neal Wilson.

Meeting was called to order by chair Renick at 4:00 pm.

Dr. Gratz, absent his tap dancing partner, responded to a number of items for the Senate. The first issue was about grounds for termination of Tenure Track faculty.  Dr. Gratz reminded the Senators that when the faculty member was Tenure Track (not tenured) the issue is actually not termination but non-renewal.  No faculty member hired in a tenure track line has a guarantee of tenure.  When pre-tenure faculty are dismissed the University does not have the burden of proof unless constitutional rights have been violated.  This decision is normally based on recommendations of the department.  The VPAA could override the departmental recommendation but rarely does; and then, only after consultation.

The question of collegiality was raised because it is not usually listed separately in tenure criteria.  It is, however, considered an important pre-tenure issue for departments.  The VPAA sometimes interviews faculty members in an affected department to help make these decisions.

When asked about the reasoning behind the VERY LARGE salary increases for assistant and associated Vice Presidents while no ìequityî increases were given to the lower ranks of the staff the virtuoso tap dancing began.  Dr. Gratz said the discussion about the base staff salaries which was initiated by a study of staff salaries made by Staff Council has not yet occurred.  On the other hand, the discussion of salaries for assistant and associate VPs had been on the table for at least a year.  The PC determined that Associate VPs would be paid at 75% of the supervisors salary and Assistant VPs would be compensated at 65% of the supervisorís salary. It would have been better to do it during an equity year but that is another two years off.  The rationale was that faculty have access to merit raises while administration do not.  How many merit raises have you noticed that were 40 steps?    The Senate continues to feel that at least some of the money could have gone a long way to boosting moral among the staff.

Senator Hindson wondered why we seem to have an increasing number of assistant and associate VPs ?  Gratz suggested that much of it is due to external pressures such as developing more grant activity, record keeping, shifting to and supporting electronic technology,  and accrediting agencies.   The Senate thinks that they may clone themselves.

Senator Blanda wondered how appropriate salary comparisons are set?  Gratz responded that it often depends on where we must recruit.  Faculty and some staff are recruited nationally while other staff are recruited regionally, but mostly locally.  This is an important decision because they differ widely in desired target audience.

Liaison Vaverek asked about library staff salaries since the base salary for new hires was lowered and the ceiling for some current staff was capped.  Dr. Gratz suggested that library staff visit with personnel and explore titles for jobs to see why these figures came out they way they did.  Sometimes, when comparing salary data with other institution there are not comparable job titles and these could make a difference in how positions are paid.  If there is something lacking in the data it needs to be discovered.

The Senate strongly encourages the PC to look carefully at the issue of staff salaries.  There seems to be a real need for equity and a good faith gesture from the upper administration.
This elicited a veiled threat about increasing those salaries would mean decreasing summer school teaching.  That didnít seem to keep them from giving HUGE raises to the assistant and associate suits.  So if we donít have full summer school teaching we know who got the money.

The next issue was the Senateís proposed change in Developmental Leave policy which would disqualify chairs from applying.  Gratz explained that a leave for a chair that is stepping down is not guaranteed.  Also, if a chair did receive a developmental leave before or during time as a chair, that person would have to wait the required 6 years before another could be approved.  There was some conversation about trusting the VPAA and President to see that this was, in fact, followed. Senator Gillis suggested adding specific language about chair eligibility (6 year waiting period after equivalent of Developmental Leave often given by president to outgoing chairs as "Special Project" in the Developmental
Leave policy.

When discussing the evaluation of the VPAA and President, Gratz commented that there were no objections but wondered why we would evaluate an outgoing president.  The replies included: a bench mark for the incoming president, a precedent, how much money we might decide to spend on a going away present, shear ornriness.

The final issue on the PAAG agenda included a status report on a number of ongoing projects.
 1.  Where is the Post Tenure Review study committee?  Gratz is looking for one more committee member.  The committee should be up and running in one or two weeks.
 2.  Has the newly required grievance officer been appointed?  This should be accomplished with in the next week.
 3.  Where are we on the swTSU name change? The President continues to stump for it.  It will be going before the Regents in February.
 4.  How is our gravitation to Division IA going?  The NCAA continues to circulate changes in what would constitute IA.  An average attendance of 15,000 continues to be one of them.
 5.  How is the current Presidential Fellow Project going?  Bob McLean was on hand to respond.  He is currently exploring the problems, benefits, models, and costs of moving to Carnigie classification, Doctoral I.  Stay tuned!  He is also investigating a way to inform the faculty and staff about what the various Colleges within the University are doing.  We are often ill informed about the number and nature of activities being carried out across the campus.  A newsletter or some other way of keeping us all informed could help interdisciplinary exchange.

In an off agenda item Senator Blanda wondered why the University has no title for Post Doctoral members?  They have no status and are treated like non persons and yet they are important to many of our programs.

Senator Hindson wondered if the University had any plans to institute a fall break other than Thanksgiving, which comes so late in the semester?  The Senate will pursue these questions with dogged determination.

After an exhilarating break the meeting resumed with a reminder that the Senate needed to review a Post Tenure Review policy document that was given us by Ken Margerison.

Karen Brown, chair of the Council of Chairs, came before the Senate to inform us of issues that this body has been considering.  The CoC seeks an identifiable role in university governance that would allow it to be involved in decision making that is likely to impact the chairsí responsibilities.  They are seeking some access to the President and a CAD/CoC meeting. The attendance of CoC is up!  The majority attend and they have an active email interconnection.  It is very issues oriented.  The CoC seeks greater interaction with the Senate on those issues that are of concern to both bodies.  For example, the Chairs were left out of the Presidential Search Committee until they found out about the committee from faculty.  They are now represented.  In addition Dr. Brown presented the Senate with three motions that were recently passed unanimously by the Council and are included here.
 1.  In accordance with the Universityís goal to enhancing quality and prestige, we request again that the requirement of advertising for positions "contingent on funding" be dropped.
 2.  We urge speed action on departmental requests to replace faculty members.
 3.  We recommend that the University add to the Administrative Change Form "Departmental Discretion" as a reason for changing a studentís schedule.

Senators Blevens, Stimmel, Hays and Renick were appointed to an Ad Hoc committee to try to determine the qualities and characteristics that the swTSU faculty might prefer in a president.  We would like our representative to the Selection Committee to be truly representative.  Stand by, we'll be in touch!

Senator Blanda reported that he is in the process of reviewing the existing report/evaluation of Dean of Fine Arts Cheatham.  His job is currently to validate, as the Faculty Senate representative, the work that has been done.  He expects finalization soon.

Senator Peeler has asked for volunteers to serve on the Parking Ticket Appeals Committee.  Anyone who is tired of finding unauthorized vehicles in restricted spaces might find this a satisfying experience.

The Senate will meet with the CAD Nov. 13, 2001, 1:30-3:30 pm on the 11th floor of JCK.

The Senate will meet Nov. 14, at the regular time and place to review Developmental Leave Proposals.  Two meetings in one week? Eek!

Minutes for the Oct. 31, 2001 were approved.  There will be some corrections for previous minutes forthcoming from the Staff Council.  Those will be made and notification made as soon as possible.

Minutes indefatigably submitted by Joan Hays