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April 29, 2009 Minutes

Minutes for 04/29/09

Members present: Senators Feakes, Bond, Brown, Caldwell, Conroy, Melzer, Minifie, Shah, Stone, Wilson.
Meeting called to order at 4:00.
University Research Committee Report:
Dr. Elizabeth Skerpan-Wheeler, Chair, reported that the review cycle for URC went smoothly this year, most past problems having been solved by recent revisions to the process. Dr. Skerpan-Wheeler did, however, offer a few suggestions:
1. Consider bonus points for first-time applicants, in addition to those awarded to those applying in their first year.
2. Update the timeline on the website, and insure that the timeline is consistent wherever the URC process is posted.
3. Compose a document outlining the Committee's process, for use by new members on the Committee, as well as applicants.
4. Urge applicants to keep in mind that reviewers comprise a broad audience, and so their proposals should be accessible by those outside their own specific academic disciplines. Quite often, applicants that fail do so because the Committee cannot understand the proposal.
Academic Governance Committee Report:
Dr William Peeler, Chair, reported on the committee's investigation of merit policies at Texas State. The Committee's overall advice is that all faculty have the information they need to participate fairly and effectively in the merit process. Too, the Committee discovered significant variety in merit policies, and so would like to suggest changes that can make the procedure more uniform while still preserving departments' ability to develop their own guidelines.
1. The Merit evaluation process should be conducted at the time of annual evaluation.  
2. All elements of the merit process should be clearly and openly delineated.
3. The nature and format of materials to be submitted for evaluation should be clearly stated.
4. All departments / schools should adhere to a consistent merit submission, evaluation and notification calendar. The Committee recommends the following sequence:
February 1 – Submission of materials to Chair / Director.
March 1 – Personnel Committee recommendation to Chair / Director.
April 1 – Chair / Director recommendation to Dean.
5. The merit policy should indicate the composition of the body making the initial evaluation and ultimate recommendation to the Chair / Director.
Senators wondered about evaluation committees that included administrators and / or that excluded personnel committees from the evaluation process. For instance, can a Chair / Director merely appoint the committee? It would not then be following national standards for faculty self-governance. Shouldn't personnel committees approve the evaluations, sending their recommendations to the Chair / Director? The Senate would like the Academic Governance Committee to suggest revisions to PPS 8.10 that will refine the composition of the evaluation committees to meet national standards, and to revise PPS 7.10 to reflect suggested changes to 8.10. The Senate would like a report on suggested revisions by mid-October.
Perception Surveys of Deans and Chairs:
The final version is now ready for distribution to the President, to faculty by email, and for posting electronically. Written comments will be available online for 90 days from initial posting. The Senate discussed editing a particular written comment on one survey that named an individual faculty member. A motion to redact the faculty member's name did not pass; no written comments will be edited.
Agenda for May 6 PAAG Meeting:
1. Revisions to requirements in Writing Intensive courses.
2. Results of tenure / promotion results, as well as the administration's attitudes about faculty standing for early tenure and promotion.
3. Update on the State legislative session.