The first Regular Meeting of the Faculty Senate for the academic year 1998-99 was held in room 4.03.08, John Peace Library Building, on September 8, 1998 at 3:30 p.m. with Dr. Arturo Vega, Chair, presiding, and Dr. Sheila Johnson, Secretary.
Present: Ron Alexander, Deborah Armstrong, Donde Ashmos, Ron Ayers, Guy Bailey, Eugene Dowdy, Patricia Harris, Sheila Johnson, Michael Kelly, James McDonald, Susan Nordhauser, F. Alexander Norman, Tom Ricento, Walter B. Richards, Jr., James Schneider, R. K. Smith, Betty Travis, Raydel Tullous, Maggie Valentine, Anthony Van Reusen, Arturo Vega, Matthew Wayner, Sandra Welch
Absent: Lola Boyce, Mansour El-Kikhia, Robert Hiromoto, Timothy Jones, Constance Lowe, Lalatendu Misra, Jeanne Reesman, Clemencia Rodriguez (excused)
Total members present: 23
Total members absent: 8
April 2, 1998 - Special Meeting
April 14, 1998 - Regular Meeting
April 23, 1998 - Special Meeting
Dr. Thomas Ricento asked how the amount of $125,000 was determined?
Dr. Bailey replied that he did not know but that the Provost's Office is currently arguing for additional funding.
Dr. Donde Ashmos said it was her impression that during the last exercise there was not enough accounting for performance evaluation. She asked what is now different which will ensure that does not happen again.
Dr. Bailey replied that a significant amount of weight was given to performance evaluations in determining the target salaries. In other words, the target salaries are adjustments of the peer salary based on years at UTSA, years in rank and with average merit evaluation being a very significant part of the adjustment.
Dr. Ricento asked if there is a sense that there would be money forthcoming in the coming years and how that might effect which model is to be used this year. He pointed out the long-term issue of compression as it might effect the university's ability to attract and retain good faculty.
Dr. Bailey replied that the concept of a compression, or equity, exercise is an internal decision. This has been an extremely beneficial exercise in demonstrating that there needs to be a long-term commitment, adding that there is genuine realization that it needs to be ongoing. Dr. Bailey reported he would do a similar exercise for staff within the Academic Affairs area.
Dr. Walter Richardson asked if the committee would make the report available, taking privacy issues into consideration.
Dr. Bailey responded that there is no reason that the draft of the report could not be made available since it is a discussion of the work of the committee, their models and their recommendations. The report itself is a real argument for a need systemically to address salary issues and UTSA can only gain by making that publicly available. Dr. Bailey said that he is looking for input from the Faculty Senate if it cares to give it. He said he is very optimistic that the exercise could happen again. The salary issue would be one way to improve the institution since faculty is woefully underpaid and staff pay is even worse.
Dr. James Schneider said that he sees the real issue as whether it would be better for the university to try to get a little for a lot of people right now and hope that things continue to improve or whether the big problem is really that the 55 faculty who are most underpaid might leave the institution.
Dr. Bailey agreed that the issue was really an issue of values. He is not asking the Senators to vote but rather to provide any feedback that it wishes to provide on all of the possibilities. The Senate's feedback will be taken into consideration in anything that is done.
Dr. Ricento said he felt the Provost was in a good position to make a philosophical decision and that he was willing to put his faith in the Provost's ability to the right thing. He feels that the Provost would consider the needs of the university.
Dr. Vega expressed his belief that a sense of closure was needed on some of the issues. He said that the Senators had been elected by their colleagues to make the hard decisions. The decision at issue with the salary exercise is whether to award 55 people, 250 people, or some number in between.
Dr. Patricia Harris expressed interest in a compromise skewed toward a small number getting most of the available money, but broader than the 55; a compromise that would take into account assistant professors who are being hurt dramatically when new people are hired at much higher salaries.
Dr. Ashmos made a motion that the Faculty Senate recommend that the Provost and the Task Force on Faculty Salary Compression pursue a compromise model somewhere between the two methods presented. Motion passed.
Dr. Travis asked if a merit exercise were also being conducted and, if so, if that would be included in salaries for the current year.
Dr. Bailey said that many faculty members would receive merit in addition to any equity adjustments.
Dr. Travis requested clarification on the guidelines provided by the Office of the Provost in relation to post tenure review. She notes that the policy on Periodic Performance Evaluation did not specify the size of the committee but that the guidelines issued by the Office of the Provost stated the committee would consist of a minimum of three faculty and a maximum of five. Dr. Travis asked if this composition could be changed by a division's Faculty Forum.
Dr. David Johnson responded, on behalf of the Provost, that when the Faculty Senate Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee developed the policy they purposely did not specify a number, the idea being that the individual divisions would decide who would be on the committee. The number, as specified in the guidelines, was determined in discussion with the academic deans in order to have workable committees. Dr. Johnson reminded the Senate that there would be a report to the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee about how the process worked during the initial year, adding that the size of the committee could be an issue to present to them.
Dr. Travis asked if the Faculty Forum of a division could determine the size of the committee.
Dr. Vega requested that Dr. Travis present her question again under New Business.
Dr. Sandy Norman asked Dr. Bailey the intentions of the Provost's Office related to expediting the hiring process for new faculty. He pointed out the difficulties divisions have in receiving administrative approval for hiring announcements and in bringing candidates to campus for interviews.
Dr. Bailey responded that, since replacement positions are already authorized, the deans have the authority to begin advertising for these positions. Some of the other processes, such as approval of the candidate short list, are being decentralized and the deans will receive guidelines on these. For new positions, the Office of the Provost with consult with the deans to develop a strategic plan for Academic Affairs that will ensure recognition of past commitments as well as plan for future programs.
Dr. Richardson suggested that the workshops related to Affirmative Action be held earlier in the calendar year.
Dr. Bailey reported that his understanding is that the Presidential Search Committee will begin reviewing applications very soon and the search should move quickly during the fall.
Dr. Vega requested a suspension of the regular order of business. The following presentation was conducted:
Dr. Vega: One of the things that it is important that we do, as a Senate, is to recognize the individuals who have played an important role in service to the Senate. Therefore, we want to present Dr. Richardson a commemorative gavel and I asked Dr. Bailey and Dr. Travis to say a few words.
Dr. Travis: The issues that have faced us as a faculty over the past couple of years have become increasingly more complex and difficult and so, I believe, we are indeed fortunate to have had the leadership of Dr. Richardson to see us through these times and then to assist us as we look forward as well. So, with our sincerest appreciation, we present this to Dr. Walter Richardson, 1997-98 Chair of the Faculty Senate.
Dr. Bailey: The last year or so demonstrates more than ever how crucial it is for faculty to participate in faculty governance.
Dr. Vega said that UTSA is changing and, as change occurs, the Faculty Senate must engage in preparing for a new vision and a new perspective and the vision has to focus on the university. He said he would like to place this year's focus on four principal areas: 1) changes in bylaws to make the Senate a more effective body; 2) studying and strengthening current governance structure; 3) having a sense of closure on issues pending from last year, specifically grievance, equity and the evaluation of administrators; and 4) creating a plan of action for issues.
Dr. Vega said the Senate needs a plan, and needs to be proactive rather than reactive. The Senate should work with others to bring issues to the Senate and have them resolved. He said that, until the bylaws are changed, the Senate would have to use special meetings to resolve the issues of the day. Dr. Vega recommended the Senate participate in a strategic work session during which key issues facing the university would be identified and plans for the future would be discussed.
Dr. Vega listed other issues to be considered by the Senate such as, divisions versus departments, family leave in relation to maternity leave, assessing how teaching is evaluated by students, registration of faculty organizations, and consideration of the proper role of the Senate. He said the Senate's role is to represent the faculty before the administration but it also includes participating in the development of policies and procedures of the university and assisting the administration to spell out the manner in which business is to be conducted and providing a congenial work environment. The Senate must help the administration understand that the first principle of the university is that the faculty are the university, not solely employees and it is incumbent upon faculty to solve the issues and plan for the future.
Dr. Wayner made a motion that the remainder of the election be handled as written ballots to be returned to the Nominating Committee after the meeting for tabulation. Motion passed.
POST-MEETING ELECTION RESULTS:
Officers and Executive Committee
James Schneider - Chair-Elect
Sheila Johnson - Secretary
Deborah Armstrong - Parliamentarian
Constance Lowe - College of Fine Arts and Humanities
Deborah Armstrong - College of Sciences and Engineering
Thomas Ricento - College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Matthew Wayner - Chair, Graduate Council
Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee
Robert Hiromoto - CoSE
Mark McLeod - CoFAH
Raydel Tullous - CoB
Academic Policy and Requirements Committee
Ron Ayers - CoB
Patricia Harris - CoSBS
Ron Alexander - CoSBS
Deborah Armstrong - CoSE
Teaching Effectiveness and Development Committee
Deborah Armstrong - CoSE
Ron Ayers - CoB
Maggie Valentine - CoFAH
University Curriculum Committee
The President appointed the University Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on Bylaws and Shared Governance in January 1998. For the purpose of looking at the overall shared governance of UTSA, the eight members of the Committee represented faculty, administration, and staff. When a similar exercise was conducted in 1990 and 1991, it was envisioned by the President that the system would need to be reviewed again in five or six years. The appointment of the new Committee provided an opportunity to revisit some of the items studied in the previous exercise, such as the governance system itself, because it has been found that administrators felt they were not included appropriately, non-tenure track faculty felt they were not represented and students felt they were only token representatives. In Spring 1998, the Committee sponsored a workshop inviting over 200 faculty, student and staff to participate by providing feedback on governance issues. These discussions were summarized from notes taken by the committee members and those summaries were provided to the Senators.
The Committee then divided into four sub-committees. Drs. Ricento and Ashmos' sub-committee looked specifically at governance issues at the college and division levels. The other sub-committees were charged to review items such as the UTSA Standing Committee system, communication and governance issues related to administrators and staff.
Dr. Ricento reported his sub-committee found that the faculty forums were not functioning as had been recommended in the original exercise. In 1991, it was recommended that the forums would meet monthly to receive reports from the college delegation from the Assembly, to discuss these issues and then advise the dean. Currently forums meet only at the beginning of each semester to receive informational materials from the deans. The college bylaws differ considerably in terms of the function and operating procedures of the faculty forum. The college faculty advisory committees are viewed as non-proactive. It is not clear, however, if this is a function of the bylaws or a function of the implementation of the bylaws. Strategic planning does not happen jointly between deans and faculty in three of the four colleges. Many participants of the workshop questioned the role, responsibilities, composition, and leadership of the University Assembly. Discussion from the workshop included a clear feeling that the Senate should meet more frequently and provide quicker action on recommendations. Senate leaders and other academic administrators should be included in more university events. Many participants in the workshop felt the committee structure needed to be reviewed to ensure all existing standing committees were necessary and that each had a clear, specific mandate. They felt committee recommendations should weigh more heavily in administrative decision making. Faculty participants said they wanted and needed to have more input into major matters that directly affect them, particularly the selection and evaluation of division directors. The observation was made that UTSA's college and division structure had not kept pace with its growth and that the current structure works well only where divisions are coherent programmatically. Other issues raised by the workshop participants were related to non-tenure track faculty, professional development, evaluations, teaching loads and responsibility.
The next step in the process is for the committee to meet with the President to report on the work done to date and to discuss how to move ahead. Dr. Ricento recapped that some of the issues are changes in Senate bylaws, the governance structure, committee structure and changing the way in which division directors are hired. The purpose of the shared governance task force is to attempt to make recommendations for the development of a better system of shared governance, not just for faculty but for staff, non-tenure track faculty, and administrators.
Dr. Wayner made a motionto accept the recommendation. Motion passed.
Dr. Vega asked for the Senate's permission to hold a Special Faculty Senate Meeting to discuss the issue of the grievance policy. He said there are two principal issues. One is that the Senate proposed language for the grievance policy and the other is that the UT System Office of General Counsel wrote in different language. At Dr. Vega's request, Dr. Gary Raffaele and Dr. Rudy Sandoval examined a letter from the UT System Office of General Council to Dr. Kirkpatrick which discussed the proposed language versus the adopted language. Both Dr. Raffaele and Dr. Sandoval reported that they believe that both sections have substantial ambiguity and that no grievant could prevail under the current system. Therefore, Dr. Vega would like to devote an entire meeting to the issue of whether to resolve to accept either the proposed or the adopted language. The Senate could also decide whether to form a committee to make substantive changes in the objectionable language that is being used in the policy.
Dr. Richardson offered to distribute a letter from Shirley Goldsmith of the Texas Faculty Associate and to forward a message from the Chair of the UT System Faculty Advisory Council related to the issue of grievance policies.
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Last updated Sept. 1, 2005