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Jan 22, 2003 Minutes


Approved Senate Minutes
January 22, 2003

Senators Renick, Conroy, Sawey, Peeler, Stone, James, Blanda, Gordon, Riepe, Hindson, Bell-Metereau, Brennan, Stutzman

Guests:  Vice President Gratz, President Trauth, Associate Vice Presidents Cassidy, McLean, Professors Fite, Hazelwood,
and University Star reporter, David Doerr

Chair Renick called the meeting to order at 4:03 and reviewed the agenda.

I.      President Trauth reviewed the parts of the planning process already completed: the reports from four faculty groups and the initiation of an environmental scan or statement and said another group is currently pulling together these reports.  Several common criticisms have emerged:

1.       Academic concerns are not at the center of the planning process
2.       Plans are made but people aren't convinced that these are read or enacted
3.       A "disconnect" between distance education and departments
4.       Lack of horizontal communication or consistency across disciplines, for example in research expectations

II.    Ph.D. Programs
        President Trauth said that the planning process for the Ph.D. was the thorniest, since some plans could be considered "in the pipeline."  The administration is looking at the Health Sciences and Education proposals to determine where these proposals stand in the process.

Senator Hindson asked if 15 is a likely cut-off, and President Trauth said that because of the Carnegie classification, with the first cut-off at 3 and the next at 15, this would be a logical eventual goal.  One important consideration, however, will be how we plan to fund students.

Senator Sawey asked if the financial data would be available to us and President Trauth said of course it would be available.  She cautioned that interpretation of the data is not simple, due to program-specific considerations.  She explained that the budget surplus may look like available money, for example, but we already have some commitments on those reserves.

III.   Legislative Session
        President  Trauth said that the shortfall would probably require spending cuts, but they would be requesting that the governor give us the percentage amount to be cut and allow us to determine where we would cut.   She wishes to protect academic programs such as summer school.  Short term prospects for funding of Round Rock may be delayed, but we will eventually have a permanent facility there because of the strong community support in Round Rock.  San Antonio is less certain.

IV.  Culture of Research
       Chair Renick recommended granting validity to a range of research and scholarship, and President Trauth said the departments need to articulate what falls into this category for each discipline.  Senator Brennan asked what would happen in departments without collegial faculty and how the university would handle complaints.  We need a university policy to provide fairness across departments.

Senator Blanda asked if the term meant more external grant funding or more individual  scholarship and President Trauth said it was both.  Several senators raised the issue of teachers whose teaching load prohibits extensive research.  She said this should be taken into consideration in merit, but that it was a different matter in considering promotion to full professor.  She also said that students at a university have a right to expect their teachers to be on the cutting edge of research.

V.    Committees
        Vice President Gratz announced that the letter was out on the post-tenure review committee, but the IDEA Survey Committee for Deans and Chairs had not yet been appointed.  President Trauth said they were looking at various related issues of promotion, tenure, and terms for chairs.  Chair Renick said that the senate representatives for post-tenure review were Senators Hindson and Stone.

VI.   Faculty Handbook
        Kathy Fite said that they had available Table of Contents from other universities for our reference and she took suggestions for revision and consultation, including the following:
p. 6, Termination, consult with Ken Margerison,
p. 9, Grievance is no longer a committee but is now a hearing office, cross-reference pps 8.08
p. 10, Grievance officer, not committee Text boxes throughout?  Will this be useful in electronic format or should we have links or pop-up boxes?
Affirmative Action is now Equity and Access
p. 31, link to regents rules; change "controller" to "controlled"
p. 33, What is financial exigency?  Use one term throughout.  Do we still have a committee of 21?
Revise Commencement section; remove Freshman Convocation
For Retention, Performance, and Merit, consult with Ken Margerison, add links
p. 42, Research Enhancement Grants
pp. 66-68, Cross reference
p. 45, academic load language, delete "historical" four-course load, Senator Riepe asked that we consider adding mention of graduate advising
p. 47, update three nominations per year for Piper, delete names of previous winners
p. 48, emerita
p. 49, cross reference with 35 faculty authored teaching materials add mention of classroom civility
p. 49, plus and minus grades may be something to discuss, since ASG is considering the issue.  Some senators argued this would be particularly useful for graduate
courses.  This was considered and rejected several years ago.  We may reconsider.
p. 63, Consult with Audrey McKinney on elections.  Look at methods for tie-breaking.
p. 67, Piper section needs revision, perhaps, correct name of research enhancement grants
p. 68, change in grievance
Put in a policy on maternity, paternity, or family illness leave Consult with Jon Bible and John McBride on the issue.
p. 70, revise committees and charges
p. 71, revise committee title

Professor Fite closed the comments with a promise to provide an initial Table of Contents before the narrative would be complete.

VII.  Miscellaneous New Business
        Senator Blanda called on Senators to have their departments select representatives to the College Research Committee for a one-year term, during which time they cannot submit a proposal.  They must be at least tenure-track,with tenured faculty preferred, if possible.  Senators should bring forth nominations for knowledgeable, experienced faculty to chair these committees in Liberal Arts, Education, and Business for a three-year term.  This should be completed by spring break.

Senators James, Bell-Metereau and Peeler were appointed to serve on the IDEA Evaluation of Deans Committee.

Minutes from 1/15/02 were approved with the addition of a request for the
phrase "Culture of Scholarship" to augment or replace "Culture of Research."

Meeting was adjourned at 6:08.

Submitted by Rebecca Bell-Metereau, January 27, 2003.