The fourth regular meeting of the Faculty Senate for the academic year 2006-2007 was held December 14, 2006 at 3:30 p.m. in the Assembly Room (JPL 4.03.08) with Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia, Chair, presiding.
Present: Diane Abdo, Mark Allen, Rosalie Ambrosino, Thad Bartlett, Rajendra Boppana, Lorenzo Brancaleon, Aaron Cassill, Mansour El-Kikhia, Juanita Firestone, MaryEllen Garcia, Timothy Goles, Eduardo Jimenez, Craig Jordan, Patricia McGee, Jolyn Mikow, Steve Murdock, Sandy Norman, Elizabeth Pate, Debajyoti Paul, Thomas Ricento, Mariela Rodriguez, Rocky Shih, L.J. Shrum, John Simonis, Ted Skekel, Jon Thompson, Raydel Tullous, Karen Williams, Wan Yao.
Absent: Sos Agaian, Ron Binks (excused), Rena Bizios (excused), David Bruenger, John Byrd (excused), Fengxin Chen, Kirsten Gardner (excused), Heather Hill, Amy Jasperson (excused), Paul LeBlanc, Melody Lo (excused), John McCray, Dianne Rahm (excused), Robert Renthal (excused), Cherylon Robinson (excused), Ron Rutherford, Michael Ryan (excused), Nestor Sanchez (excused), Judith Walmsley (excused).
Total members present: 29
Total members absent: 19
Dr. El-Kikhia reported that a letter has been sent on behalf of the Faculty Senate to President Romo encouraging that UTSA remain a politically neutral campus. He also noted that President Romo met Vice President Cheney as a representative of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, not as the President of UTSA.
Dr. El-Kikhia also reported that he sent apology letters to Drs. Patrick Greene and Arthur Lue as requested by members of the Faculty Senate. The apology letters were created regarding Drs. Greene and Lue’s termination from UTSA.
Dr. El-Kikhia noted that the University Standing Committee on Teacher Education has been disbanded. He also encouraged Faculty Senators to participate in upcoming strategic planning forums and retreats.
In conclusion, Dr. El-Kikhia noted that he recorded Mr. Raymond Peredes’s discussion of doctorate programs during the System Faculty Advisory Council meeting. This recording is available for use by Faculty Senators. Dr. El-Kikhia also reported that he has proposed to nominate Dr. Melvin Laracey to fill the position of UTSA Ombusdman.
Dr. Norman reported on the most recent SYSFAC meeting. Mr. Raymond Peredes, commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, discussed that the Coordinating Board will be taking a closer look at doctoral programs. Dr. Norman also reported that the UT System has hired an individual who will oversee the UT System Information Security Office. Dr. Norman noted that rules regarding the handling of sensitive information may change.
Dr. Norman also discussed highlights of the most recent University Assembly meeting. He noted that President Romo discussed the football feasibility study, and a land purchase consisting of one hundred twenty-five acres near the 1604 campus.
Dr. Welch provided a Power Point presentation regarding the strategic planning process at UTSA (made a part of and attached to these minutes). Dr. Welch also stressed the importance of the plan, and that it will be a living document which will be reviewed frequently. The presentation highlighted many aspects of the strategic planning process including the Timeline for the UTSA Strategic Plan, Creating a Shared Vision, First Retreat Outcomes, the UTSA Planning Structure, Nine Action Themes, Team Work, Focus Groups, Community Input, Central Planning Team Workshop, Next Steps for the Strategic Plan, and Other Strategic Plan Implementation Suggestions. Dr. Welch also provided information about the different teams working to create the strategic plan. Dr. Betty Merchant chairs the Accountability Team, Mr. Albert Carrizalez, Mr. John Davis, and Ms. Gina Mendez chair the Community Engagement Team, Dr. George Norton chairs the Enrollment Management Team, Ms. Cyndi Orth chairs the Faculty/Staff Success Team, Dr. Julius Gribou chairs the Globalization Team, Dr. Mauli Agrawal chairs the Infrastructure Team, Dr. Robert Gracy chairs the Research Team, Mr. Martin Baylor chairs the Resource Development Team, Dr. Steve Wilkerson chairs the Student Success Team, and Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia and Mr. David Gabler chair the Vision/Mission Team. Each team has developed goals, objectives, and strategic steps which are necessary to the implementation of the strategic plan. Dr. Welch noted that these teams will be submitting their finalized drafts of the strategic plan on Friday, December 15, 2006. A writer will be hired to compile these drafts into a strategic plan. She also added that there will be more focus group meetings and forums, and encouraged faculty to be more involved in these processes. Dr. Welch noted that faculty and staff may visit http://utsa.edu/ir/strategicplanning/index.html for additional information. Faculty Senators raised the following questions to Dr. Welch concerning the UTSA strategic plan:
Dr. Welch responded to each question by reiterating the following:
Dr. Ambrosino reported that faculty who have been appointed for three-year non-tenure track contracts will receive retro-active merit reviews effective September 1, 2006. She added that a case to make this merit program permanent and to include a greater number of non-tenure track faculty has been made.
Dr. Ambrosino noted that a special project will be initiated in the Spring of 2007. This project will identify all senior UTSA students who have not yet graduated and are not on track to graduate in the near future. UTSA will create a personal outreach program to each of these students to determine what they need in order to graduate in a timely manner. Dr. Patricia Glenn, Executive Director of the Tomás Rivera Center will create statistical reports which will reflect subsequent data regarding this group of seniors.
Dr. Ambrosino also reported that the UTSA Access Program will be implemented soon. This program will provide tuition and fees to any incoming UTSA freshman whose family income is $25,000 or less per year. These students must be eligible for financial aid, and must apply for admission into UTSA as well as for financial aid by the priority deadline. In order to continue funding, these students must complete thirty hours of coursework within an academic year with a grade point average of 2.0 or higher. Dr. Ambrosino added that a signed agreement will be provided to these students, as well as specific academic and retention advising.
Dr. Ted Skekel asked Dr. Ambrosino what would happen with the tuition and fees provided to the student if the student’s GPA drops below 2.0, or if they complete less than thirty hours of course work within an academic year. Dr. Ambrosino responded that these details are still being worked out. The student would still be eligible for financial aid, but they would not receive the free tuition and fees from the UTSA Access Program.