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Nov 11, 2009 Minutes

Faculty Senate/PAAG

Members present: Senators Feakes, Bond, Brown, Caldwell, Conroy, Furney, Hazlewood, Martin, Melzer, Morey, Shah, Stone, Warms.

Guests: President Trauth, Provost Moore, Dr. Bourgeois, Collins (University Star), Hohensee, Sigler, Gellica

Meeting called to order at 4:00.

PAAG Meeting
Cancer Awareness Month: Cancer continues to be a major health concern in our nation and one that touches the lives of many members of our institutional family. The Faculty Senate in collaboration with the Staff Council and the Associated Student Government request that the President join us in support by designating April as Cancer Awareness Month at Texas State University.

President Trauth understands the impact of cancer on people’s lives and believes that supporting this topic does raise awareness of the topic. However, the University also has to consider the resources that are being used as employees of the state of Texas and we have to justify the time and resource required for any activity that is out of the normal scope of our employment:

Faculty aren’t on the “clock” and do their work throughout the week, including evenings and weekends, so are afforded more flexibility in their schedules to do volunteer activities. For faculty volunteer activities are a choice versus being mandated by a supervisor, especially when considering most faculty work more than a 40 hour week while completing their research and service responsibilities in addition to their teaching assignments.

Staff members are “on the clock” to complete their work in a 40 hour work week and, thus, don’t have flexibility with their schedules to do volunteer activities during the work day unless taking vacation time. Thus, how the University uses staff resources for non-University activities must be monitored and clarified. The Staff Council has been discussing this issue to make sure staff members understand that this is a volunteer activity and cannot to be done on work/state time. Also for consideration is when those employees are being asked to complete something additional versus have the ability to choose to do the additional task not in their work expectations. When there is a supervisor “requesting” the staff member do something outside of their work responsibility it can create a problem and, thus, the issues need to be clarified and all staff made aware of their rights.

Of additional concern last year was the solicitation of donations. Once a donation comes into the University it becomes state money and a monitoring system must be in place to assure that money coming in for a specific purpose is being used for that specific purpose. Last year the group was in contact with Becky Prince and Bill Nance to make sure the group was following proper procedures, but the better mechanism is for the money to be donated directly to an organization involved with the cause and not to the University.

The final issue for consideration is that there are also other topics that need to be supported, too, and those issues need to be sorted out (e.g. diabetes, heart disease, etc.).

Recommendations from the President’s Work Life Advisory Council: The President’s Work Life Advisory Council has recommended that the University participate in a program similar to UT Advantage, a program that offers counseling services and a database of service providers to employees, including faculty, staff, and graduate students. The Faculty Senate would like the President to address any reservations that the administration has regarding the program.

President Trauth agreed that employee assistance is important to have, no matter the source of that assistance. 

Funding is the issue when the request was received last year. However this year there is an opportunity for “one time funding” to be able to fund the program for 2 years. There is sufficient money available for this project, but the evaluation process needs to be completed for all “one time funding” requests.

A budget request has been included in consideration as part of those “one time” funds. That decision should be made in the next few weeks, with funding should be in the budget by the end of November. The money is available, but the process needs to be completed.

Outside Employment: The Texas State University System Rules and Regulations provide that “no full time employee shall be employed in any outside work or activity or receive from an outside source a regular retainer fee or salary during the period of employment by Texas State until a description of the nature and extent of the employment has been filed with and approved by the President or designee.” The Faculty Senate would appreciate a discussion of why part-time employees are required to also complete this form. 

*  President Trauth reported that this issue took research to find its history. It was determined the discussion started in 2000 with UPPS 04.04.06 and approved in 2002. It was intended as a requirement for full-time employees, but morphed into both full-time and part-time employees in the UPPS. What wasn’t determined during the research of the topic, however, was if there had been an incident that triggered the inclusion of part-time individuals or if the change was due to an editorial error. The good news is that this PPS is in the review cycle and will come, as part of that review, to the Faculty Senate to make recommendations for changes. Even if the part-time employee is eliminated from the requirement, the “Conflict of interest” rules will still apply to all faculty involved in outside employment.

The forms have to be submitted in hard copy as there is not currently a mechanism for an “electronic paper trail” and there are required signatures that must be obtained before the form is reviewed in the Provost’s Office. Dr. Bourgeois has the responsibility to make sure they have been submitted. They become part of faculty records and HR reviews them to make sure the benefits that Texas State is providing are appropriately “synched” between agencies if the outside employment is another state agency.

Compliance Modules: The Faculty have received your memorandum describing the compliance modules that will be implemented on campus. As a result, we have received a variety of questions regarding the nature of the modules. The Faculty Senate would appreciate an elaboration of the goals of this program and the methodologies that will be used.

*  President Trauth confirmed that “compliance education” is required of all employers by law. Texas State decided to do it via “on-line modules” versus courses to allow staff and faculty some flexibility in completing the modules.

*  There are 17 modules that have been developed for the campus employees; however, Faculty will be required to do 7 of 17 modules including modules on: intro to compliance; copyright laws; sexual harassment; equal opportunity in employment; appropriate use of information; FERPA, information security. A faculty senate representative is needed to review and provide feedback, as well as review faculty feedback.

*  Although concern has been expressed that the use of the employment date as the “start date” may cause a large number of employees to be completing the modules in September or January that probably won’t be changed as the modules are short and shouldn’t require a lot of extra computer time to complete.

Credit for Significant Service Commitments: There are several service commitments on campus, such as the Chair of the Faculty Senate and the Ombudsman, that receive a workload reduction; however, there are additional service commitments, such as the Chair of the University Curriculum Committee and the Chair of the Honor Code Council, that potentially warrant a similar workload reduction. The Faculty Senate would like to investigate the potential to increase the number of service activities that warrant the workload reduction, as well as explore how such reductions can be funded, and would appreciate your input on the matter.

President Trauth agreed that some positions require additional faculty time and would warrant work load reduction. She recommended that the faculty senate should determine which faculty service positions are sufficient to have that workload reduction and make those suggestions to the Provost for funding.

*  Currently the Provost provides funding or work load reduction for the Chair of several required groups (Institutional Review Board-IRB and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee-IACUC). Provost Moore agreed that funding for these types of activities could come directly from his office versus the faculty member’s Department having to request the funds.

Celebration of Faculty Governance at Texas State: This year, the Faculty Senate will have been active on this campus for 50 years. The Faculty Senate would like to propose that the President host a celebration of Faculty Governance at Texas State at the final meeting in May and invite those faculty members that have served on the Faculty Senate during that time period.

*  President Trauth agreed that this celebration could be included as part of the final PAAG in May.

*  Although initially discussed last year, it was confirmed that the celebration of the Avant Room only included those previous Senators who had known Senator Avant and not all past Senators. This celebration will include all who have completed service as a Faculty Senator at Texas State.

Regents Meeting: President Trauth reported that at the Board of Regents meeting next week Texas State will be presenting:

*  Undergraduate Center plans for approval and to start the building process

*  Update on Fine Arts building which is in the planning phase with groundbreaking projected for summer 2011

PAAG Follow-Up
Cancer Awareness: 
The Senators agreed that this issue in complicated and involves more than just support of cancer.

It was reported that the letter has been completed but not yet sent by the group requesting the support.

*  An update that Texas State received an award at a national meeting was provided, which does lead to raised awareness of the University (CNN was there to film).

University Compliance Program Committee Membership: Dr. Bill Stone will represent the Faculty Senate on the project

Calendar concern about mini-session: It was reported that discussion has been delayed until 2011, so no impact on 2010 mini-session planning.

+/- Grades: It was reported ~45% of departments have responded, with ~60% in favor of investigating the change. This could be a charge to the Academic Standards Committee to investigate in the spring, if the returns continue to be in favor of such a change.

Developmental Leave: It was reported all applicants have been notified and the TRACS site opened for the Deans and Provost Office to complete their reviews of the applications.

Student Information System: Confirmation about the type of information needed to determine who should be invited to provide the information about the system. The Senators were reminded that the issue rose out of questions about tracking enrollment in stacked classes, but that the Registrar needed to know more about stacked classes before being able to respond. A representative who can present a general overview will be invited to start the discussion.

One time expenditures: The Senators agreed that we want to know who applied, as well as who received grants for the funding to be aware of the variety of the awards and faculty receiving it.

Research, service grants. . .Dr. Blanda responded to Debra’s request for additional information:

*  In general, the Faculty Senate would like to know why the definition of research used in the announcement is so narrow. Why wasn’t this announcement sent to only Colleges that would meet the narrow definition (ie. “Liberal Arts and Fine Arts need not apply” was the quote)?

A) The THECB’s narrow definition of research (see appendix A in the Standard Accounting Methods) was used to differentiate the three classifications of all sponsored programs: research, public service and instruction. All public institutions report to the CB annually on their research expenditures as defined in the SAM. Research expenditures will be one criteria for determining Emerging Research Institution status as referenced in the President’s convocation. The AVPR was advised to use the funds to stimulate”research” as per the CB definition.

B) The program announcement was sent to all colleges because there is nothing inherent that prevents the scholarly and creative activities of any faculty member from being classified as research. For example, in FY09 sponsored programs classified as research were administered in the colleges of : Applied Arts, Education, Business Administration, Health Professions, Liberal Arts and Science. FAC was the only college to have these types of classified programs, but again, there is no explicit reason to exclude any person, department or college.

If so, the e-mail distribution did not indicate the $200,000 current grant expectation. Is that the criteria? The email announcement from the AVPR did not indicate any expectation other than what was mentioned to indicate that “faculty who currently have funding or have a consistent record of funding will be given priority”. No monetary level of grant funding will be used explicitly to make decisions. Decisions will be based on the quality of proposals, record of funding, alliance with University research mission and potential for leveraging (e.g. proposal submission, commercialization, intellectual property, increasing research expenditures).

University Distinguished Professor: The criteria is different than for a Regents Professor as Associate can apply for Regent, but only rank of Professor. The following information is a summary of what has been provided to eligible faculty:

Eligibility: A nominee is a full-time faculty member and held the rank of professor for five consecutive years with evidence of: A record of distinguished teaching (40%); record of accomplishment in research or other creative or scholarly activity (40%); record of outstanding service both at the local and state and/or national, and/or international levels (20%).

Process: Each fall provost will issue a formal call for nominations. Faculty may self nominate or be nominated by a chair/director or dean. Each nominee will prepare a Summary Presentation that summarizes achievements in the three applicable categories to be reviewed by a preview committee appointed by the provost. From nominations received, and based on the nominating letters and Summary Presentation, the committee will select a limited number of nominees from whom they will request additional information as specified in the Selection Criteria section. Faculty chosen to submit a portfolio will be notified, and completed portfolios will be forwarded to the University Distinguished Professor award review committee composed of a faculty representative from each of the academic colleges, one academic dean, two academic chairs/directors, and a representative from the Faculty Senate. The committee will be facilitated by the Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness. The committee will review the criteria materials and make its recommendation to the president through the office of the provost. Portfolios for faculty members named University Distinguished Professor for the year the portfolio was created will be reviewed by the president for possible nomination for the Texas State University System Regents’ Professor Award.

Committee replacements: Several faculty members were identified for appointments on several Faculty Senate committees.

Approval of Minutes: The minutes of the November 4th meeting were approved.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:45PM.