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Feb 11, 2009 Minutes

Minutes for 02/11/09

Members present: Senators Feakes, Bond, Brown, Caldwell, Conroy, Furney, C. Hazlewood, D. Hazlewood, Martin, Dr. Christine Norton (for Melzer), Minifie, Shah, Stone, Warms, Wilson
Guests: Micky Autrey, Dir. Of Curr. Serv.; Dr. Amanda Boutot, Curr. & Instr.; Dr. Marilyn Goodwin, Curr. & Instr.; Dr. Sandra Mayo, Multi-Cultural Gender Studies; Dr. Larry Wheeler, Curr. & Instr.; Dr. Rebecca Bell-Metereau, English; Dr. David Wiley, HPER
Meeting called to order at 4:00
Info Items:  The Chair announced some informational items:
  • TCFS: The meeting of the Texas Council of Faculty Senates will be held March 6 and 7. The Chair is still looking for a Senator or Senators to attend.
  • Spring Mace Bearers: Senator Melzer has volunteered for one of the graduation ceremonies. Dr. Byron Augustin, Geography, was suggested as another possible candidate. More are needed.
  • Sponsored Programs: The Chair circulated a note detailing the expenditures for Sponsored Programs.
  • CAD: Concern was raised in the Council of Academic Deans regarding a possible 2.5% decrease in funding for this academic year, compounded, by a possible two-year freeze on tuition increases. The group is working on a contingency plan. If both of the above happen, it will probably mean there will be no new faculty lines or there be no merit increases in the near future.
  • Scholarship Concerns: The Chair announced that Dr. Rebecca Prince, Vice President for University Advancement, will meet with the Senate at the March 4th meeting to discuss concerns.
UCC Recommendation:  The Senate discussed the recommendation for three new programs: a Certificate in Autism, a Certificate in Learning Disabilities/Inclusion, and a Certificate in Behavior Disorders/Positive Behavioral Supports – all from Curriculum & Instruction; a name change from a minor in U.S. Ethnic Studies to a minor in Diversity Studies, from the Center for Multicultural and Gender Studies; and changes to PPS 2.01, Courses, Additions, Changes and Deletions, which were recommended for approval by the University Curriculum Committee. A formal vote for acceptance of the recommendations will be considered next week by the Senate.
Honor Code Council:  Dr. Rebecca Bell-Metereau, Chair, and Dr. David Wiley, Co-Chair, met with the Senate to express some concerns regarding the Honor Council:
  • What to do with Distance Learning courses in issues related to enforcement of the Honor Code?
  • Staff support for the operation of the Council.
  • There are no provisions for a student with more than one Honor Code violation. What should the Council do?
  • What to do about the general ignorance of faculty, chairs and deans regarding what the Honor Code policy, PPS 7.10.01, actually says?
Some concern was also expressed regarding the Honor Council’s authority to recommend particular disciplinary actions. The Chair and Co-Chair feel that the Council should not take action on academic penalties. 
It was suggested that the Honor Council might seek staff support from Student Justice. The Senate also suggested that the Honor Council make a recommendation for suggested changes in PPS 7.10.01, but cautioned that, since the document was initially approved by both the faculty and students, any substantive changes to the policy could not be made without agreement from both groups.
Faculty Grievance: The Senate discussed the proposed revisions to PPS 8.08, Faculty Grievance Policy, that was sent by Dr. Bourgeois. The Senate was generally pleased with the committee structure proposed in paragraph 3c, but would suggest additional modifications to the policy statement. Several of the modifications provide clarification, while at least one other is substantive.
In Paragraph 6, the Senate recommends the following changes:
If the mediation does not result in a finding which is satisfactory to the grievant, the faculty member may file a formal grievance, using a form provided by the Ombudsman (Attachment A).
There are a few places in the document that refer to “Chair, Faculty Grievance Committee”.  This is a bit ambiguous since it appears that the reference is to the Chair (of the department) and the entire Faculty Grievance Committee.  The Senate recommended changing this wording to Chair of the Faculty Grievance Committee.
In Paragraph 7, the Senate proposes the following changes:
The President will activate the Faculty Grievance Committee to hear the formal grievance.
The Senate also recommends part e be deleted.
The most substantive issue involves defining a procedure for the Formal Grievance Hearing.  The Senate would like the PPS to include either a detailed procedure for the hearing, or to offer a reference to a document outlining an appropriate procedure.  Senator Stone has offered to draft a description of the hearing procedure, which delineates the specific details, which are currently missing.  The Senate will review the draft at our next meeting.
Minutes:  Minutes were approved as amended for 02/04/09.