The first Regular Meeting of the Faculty Senate for the academic year 1999-2000 was held in room 4.03.08, John Peace Library Building, on September 14, 1999 at 3:30 p.m. with Dr. James Schneider, Chair, presiding.
Present: Ron Alexander, Diana Allan, Raul Aranovich, Deborah Armstrong, Ron Ayers, Guy Bailey, Mark Blizard, Russell Briner, Eugene Dowdy, Keith Fairchild, Patricia Harris, Wanda Hedrick, Robert Hiromoto, Kellye Jones, Michael Kelly, Louis Mendoza, George Negrete, F. Alexander (Sandy) Norman, Jeanne Reesman, Tom Ricento, Walter Richardson, Jr., James Schneider, R.K. Smith, Betty Travis, Raydel Tullous, Anthony Van Reusen, Arturo Vega, Sandra Welch
Absent: Jahan Eftekhar, Constance Lowe (excused)
Total members present: 28
Total members absent: 2
Dr. Romo reported on the University's involvement in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Reaffirmation of Accreditation Self-Study, which represents an important milestone in UTSA's development. This milestone should be taken seriously, as it has tremendous potential to shape how UTSA defines itself as a university in the coming decade. Dr. Romo thanked Dr. Jim Schneider for the outstanding job he has done as Director of the Self-Study. He reported that the Steering Committee had recently been enlarged to include additional faculty, two of the deans, the vice president for business affairs, the associate provost for UTSA Downtown and a student representative. Many of these new members have experience as participants in the last SACS review or have been members of evaluation teams at other universities. Dr. Romo also thanked Dr. Martinello, chair of the Thematic Self-Study Committee, Dr. Terri Leal, Chair of the Compliance Committee, the Chairs of the Thematic Self-Study Task Forces, and all other faculty, staff, students and community members for their involvement in the process. He reported that the Site Visit is scheduled for April 24-27, 2000 and the University is currently involved in making recommendations for the site visit team, which will be composed of 19 members, including Dr. David Carter, SACS liaison for UTSA. Dr. Romo announced that there will be numerous opportunities for the University community to participate in forum and panel discussions related to the Self-Study. These include a panel discussion on October 11, 1999, and Open Forums on October 28, 1999 (ed. note: rescheduled to November 15, 1999) and January 28, 2000, as well as being able to offer opinions and suggestions in response to the reports posted on the UTSA Web Page.
He reported that the Thematic Self-Study is concerned with how the University may become a learner-centered community with a supporting environment in which everyone is a learner. SACS expects specific objectives stated in each of the areas addressed by the task forces, which must result in specific recommendations that are in place at the time of the SACS visit. It is important to note, however, that the task forces are not charged with providing the full framework for the development of the University but, rather, provide starting points for discussion and building. Their work will serve as a springboard as the institution moves forward to reshape the University in the next decade. Dr. Romo noted that the issues being addressed include faculty and staff performance, incentives and rewards, student learning and development, instructional program development and the culture and community of the University.
He reported that the initial work of the Compliance Committee is near completion. The Committee has responded to more than 550 "must statements" included in the SACS Criteria for Accreditation and identified fewer than 30 areas of non-compliance. Some of these areas can be met by actions which can be taken prior to the SACS Site Visit. The Self-Study also requires documentation of how change has been achieved in the organization and how planning and assessment have been used to achieve UTSA's mission. He said that it is essential that all areas participate in documenting changes and improvements over the last decade.
Dr. Romo said that a Self-study Progress Report was recently mailed to members of the UTSA community and would also be posted on the Web Site. He continued that both elements of the self-study would reinforce each other. The Thematic portion of the study offers a tremendous opportunity to address the significant concerns expressed by faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders and to modify the mission of the University to coincide with practices and policies. Other opportunities include revision of the planning process for greater involvement and assessment of the University community.
Dr. Schneider noted that his appointment as Director of the Self-Study reflects an attitude on the part of the current administration for much greater faculty involvement in planning issues than previously. He reiterated that UTSA is currently out of compliance with only 28 of the more than 500 "must statements". Some of these areas are substantial issues that cannot be remedied immediately, such as the ratio of tenured/tenure-track faculty to non-tenure track faculty. He said that it is important to include adequate documentation of compliance in the Self-Study Report in order to avoid follow-up after the Site Visit. Dr. Schneider stated that he feels the current administration is interested in encompassing bottom-up input in the planning process. The Self-Study is an opportunity to do that, as well as provide a comprehensive, honest look at UTSA in order to see where UTSA currently is and to get involved in shaping the University's future in a constructive manner. It is hoped that Senators choose to get involved and will encourage involvement on the part of their divisional faculty. Dr. Schneider offered to answer particular questions and queries about the process at any time.
Dr. Bailey reported that the Faculty Salary Compression Exercise is part of an overall compensation package. One component is faculty merit increases averaging three percent. In addition, the deans in each college were allocated the equivalent of .25 percent of total faculty salaries in order to address salary and equity problems in their college. The third component is the compression study, the first of a four-year commitment with $275,000 allocated each year to bring faculty salaries up to 95% of peer institutions.
Dr. Bailey explained that the 1997-98 model, with minor refinements, was used for the 1998-99 study. Modifications for 1998-99 included: 1) the ineligibility of faculty who have not taught during the last two years; 2) to be eligible, the faculty member must have a performance evaluation on record; 3) faculty on modified service were ineligible and, 4) administrators who meet the criteria were included but only their academic rates are affected, not their administrative rates. The model used the mean faculty evaluation and one standard deviation for each college to establish the pool for merit. The maximum increase was two and one-half percent of the total funds available and the minimum increase was $750. Three hundred thirty-seven faculty members were determined eligible, with 117 receiving at least $750.
Dr. Bailey said that the exercise revealed problems that need to be addressed, such at the process for performance evaluations and the need for consistency across the institution. He said that faculty will be asked to review the performance evaluation process and make recommendations for equivalence across the campus.
Dr. Walter Richardson asked how many divisions utilize the merit criteria issued by the Office of the Provost in 1993?
Dr. Bailey responded that most of the divisions have policies in use for conducting performance evaluations for merit. He continued that the current model needs to be reconsidered and that a different model might need to be developed. He requested that the Faculty Senate appoint a committee to work with the Office of the Provost to re-examine the model in order to ensure that the fairest, most equitable model possible is used for the next three years.
Dr. Tom Ricento asked when appointment letters would be sent and if they would include information on salary adjustments as a result of the compression study, merit pay, and college adjustments?
Dr. Bailey responded that this information would be listed in the letters, which will be sent out before October 1, 1999.
Dr. Betty Travis asked who assigned the merit money and how it was distributed?
Dr. Bailey said that each college was given a merit allocation and the manner of distribution was left to the discretion of the college dean.
Additional administrative changes include the addition of the position of Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Studies, filled by Dr. Rosalie Ambrosino. Dr. Ambrosino will be responsible for re-examining the advising efforts across campus and for retention efforts initiated by the Office of the Provost. Retention efforts, termed student success, will include the freshmen seminar programs and freshmen learning communities. Dr. Bailey said that he would continue to inform the Faculty Senate of reassignment of the responsibilities of the office staff so everyone will know who to contact for assistance. He also reported that Dr. Rudy Sandoval was appointed as the Associate Vice President for Administration in the Office of the President. His responsibilities will include affirmative action issues and hiring practices.
Dr. Ron Ayers asked how the teaching of summer classes would be handled since, in the past, non-tenure track faculty were assigned to summer classes in order to make a profit?
Dr. Bailey explained that the colleges had been allowed to retain any profits generated during previous summer sessions but during budget years the emphasis will be on assigning as many tenured and tenure-track faculty as possible to increase the student credit hours ratio.
Dr. Travis asked if only lower-division undergraduate courses were counted toward the total of student credit hours and if TASP courses counted?
Dr. Bailey responded that all undergraduate for-credit courses were counted but he would need to determine if the TASP courses were included. He noted that the state funding formula did not penalize an institution for having graduate courses taught by non-tenure track faculty, but the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools did not approve of that practice.
Dr. Bailey responded that those who meet the criteria, as stated in the bylaws, would have voting rights.
Dr. Raul Aranovich asked if the salaries for teaching assistants and graduate research assistants were being reviewed?
Dr. Bailey explained that the Office of Graduate Studies is developing policy statements related to those salaries. There are two sources of funds that can be used to create a compensation package for graduate students - non-tenure track salary funds and graduate incremental tuition.
Post-Meeting Election Results:
Officers and Executive Committee:
Patricia Harris - Chair-Elect
Eugene Dowdy - Secretary
Art Vega - Parliamentarian
Keith Fairchild - CoB
Louis Mendoza - Chair, Graduate Council
Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee
Ron Alexander - CoSBS
Diana Allan - CoFAH
Kellye Jones - CoB
Tom Ricento - CoSBS
Bennie Wilson - CoB
Academic Policy and Requirements Committee
Juan Gonzalez - CoB
Marita Nummikoski - CoFAH
Raydel Tullous - CoB
Tony Van Reusen - CoSBS
Esther Wheeler - CoSE
Keith Fairchild - CoB
Steve Levitt - CoFAH
Walter Richardson, Jr. - CoSE
Teaching Effectiveness and Development Committee:
Aaron Cassill - CoSE
Eugene Dowdy - CoFAH
Sandy Norman - CoSE
Raydel Tullous - CoB
University Curriculum Committee
Raul Aranovich - CoFAH
Ron Ayers - CoB
Russell Briner - CoB
Eugene Dowdy - CoFAH
Connie Lowe - CoFAH
Rebecca Petersen - CoSBS
Tony Van Reusen - CoSBS
Sandy Welch - CoB
Kathy Wohlert - CoB
Dr. Ashmos reported that last year the Ad Hoc Committee on the Evaluation of Administrators recommended to the Faculty Senate that there should be wider involvement of faculty in the regular formal evaluation of deans and divisions directors and that there should be a process for a mid-point evaluation. The Faculty Senate approved those recommendations. During the Spring 1999 semester the Faculty Senate appointed an ad hoc committee to conduct the first two formal evaluations, one for the Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and one for the Director of the Division of Life Sciences. Dr. Ashmos reported on the results of this pilot process which was the evaluation of the Dean. Responses received from the instruments circulated to all faculty in the College were recorded, summarized and organized. The process included open-ended questions as well as scaled questions. She noted that the evaluation instrument approved by the Faculty Senate included three very important open-ended questions, including one about the strengths and weaknesses of the person being evaluated. The Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences received a copy of the report and was given an opportunity to respond. No response was received. The report was then sent to faculty in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Faculty Senators.
Dr. Ashmos commented that the process was very time-consuming and the Faculty Senate should realize that it has adopted an aggressive agenda for being involved in the evaluation of administrators. She explained that divisions directors would be evaluated every four years and deans every six years, as well as a mid-point evaluation for each of those roles. She said that the Faculty Senate should seek additional staff assistance to become engaged in the process. Dr. Ashmos noted that while the open-ended questions are the most time-consuming, they also are the most revealing aspect and should not be deleted. Dr. Ashmos reported that another concern was the low response rate of 21%. Questionnaires were sent to 300 faculty - 128 full-time and 272 part-time. The Senate should look at whether there is any value in sending questionnaires to non-tenure track faculty. Even though the deadline was extended, the response rate remained very low and a serious endeavor should be made to increase the number of responses. Dr. Ashmos provided some specific policy recommendations that the Faculty Senate should consider:
Dr. Schneider thanked Dr. Ashmos and the other members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Evaluation of Administrators - Drs. Sandy Norman, Betty Travis, and Sandy Welch. They did an outstanding job and should be commended. The recommendations made by the Committee will be referred to an appropriate body, either an existing committee or an ad hoc committee, to review the entire process and make recommendations on how to proceed.
Dr. Tom Ricento noted that the previous Committee had assembled a large amount of useful materials. They are concerned, however, about the entire concept of the president's council as proposed by Dr. Samuel Kirkpatrick. The bylaws of this council would have policy making authority that could bypass the Faculty Senate and bring issues directly to a vote of the General Faculty. Dr. Ricento made a motion that the Faculty Senate recommend to President Romo that the Ad Hoc Committee on Bylaws and Shared Governance be reconstituted and formally charged to complete a set recommendations to be given to the President by the end of the Fall 1999 semester.
Dr. Aranovich said that it appeared that two proposals for governance were mentioned, one from President Kirkpatrick and one from the Faculty Senate. He asked for clarification about these proposals and whether Dr. Romo supported the proposal from Dr. Kirkpatrick.
Dr. Schneider explained that the Faculty Senate's proposal consists of a set of revised bylaws, which did not propose a university governance structure as a whole but contains implications for governance in that the new bylaws do not recognize the existence of the University Assembly. A major difference between the Senate's proposed bylaws and Dr. Kirkpatrick's proposal for a governance structure is that the bylaws state that the Senate would report directly to the president but in the Kirkpatrick proposal, the Senate would report through the provost. Dr. Schneider said that Dr. Romo did not comment about specifics of governance structure but did support a resolution to the issues as rapidly as could be done. Dr. Schneider has had indication from both President Romo and Provost Bailey that they would be favorable to a request to revisit the issue.
Dr. Schneider called for a vote on the motion. Motion approved.
Dr. Ron Alexander made a motion to request that the Provost accept the Recommendations Related to Academic Restructuring and that those recommendations govern the procedure for restructuring efforts on the campus and to invite faculty or interested parties to submit proposals along those lines. Motion approved.
Dr. Betty Travis agreed that additional time was needed and requested that the issue of the receivership of divisions be added to the agenda for the Special Meeting as it may be a grievance issue. She also suggested that the Faculty Senate address how they might become involved in the discipline of faculty who make false allegations against others.
Dr. Schneider said that he would contact the Senators to determine a suitable date for the Special Meeting and would invite agenda items at that time. The Special Meeting should be held prior to the University Assembly meeting in October so that items can go forward for the Assembly's approval.
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Last updated Sept. 1, 2005