The second Special Meeting of the Faculty Senate for the academic year 1999-2000 was held in room 4.03.12, John Peace Library Building, on March 2, 2000 at 3:30 p.m. with Dr. James Schneider, Chair, presiding.
Present: Ron Alexander, Raul Aranovich, Deborah Armstrong, Guy Bailey, Russell Briner, Keith Fairchild, Patricia Harris, Robert Hiromoto, Kellye Jones, Juliet Langman, Constance Lowe, F. Alexander (Sandy) Norman, Walter Richardson, Jr., James Schneider, Betty Travis, Raydel Tullous, Arturo Vega, Sandra Welch
Absent: Diana Allan, Ron Ayers (excused), Mark Blizard, Eugene Dowdy, Jahan Eftekhar, Wanda Hedrick, Michael Kelly, Louis Mendoza, George Negrete, Jeanne Reesman, R. K. Smith, Anthony Van Reusen
Total members present: 18
Total members absent: 12
*Dr. Russell Briner, College of Business
Dr. Aaron Cassill, College of Sciences and Engineering
Dr. Bridget Drinka, College of Fine Arts and Humanities
*Dr. Keith Fairchild, College of Business
*Dr. Kelly Jones, College of Business
*Dr. Arturo Vega, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Harris reported that the Academic Policy and Requirements Committee had discussed and evaluated proposed policy changes to the 2000-2002 Undergraduate Catalog. In addition, the Committee recommended various text revisions to enhance clarity, reduce misleading interpretations, and eliminate grammatical errors. The Committee rejected a proposal to eliminate the grade of EP.
Dr. Keith Fairchild asked why there was a proposal to calculate GPAs differently for transfer students.
Dr. Rosalie Ambrosino explained that the request for this change came from the Office of Admissions and Registrar because current students are advised that taking a course to replace a grade will count toward the 45 hour rule and transfer students are not. The 45 hour rule states that if a student takes 45 or more hours past the number of hours needed for their degree, they will have to pay out-of-state tuition for any courses above those 45 hours.
Dr. Fairchild noted that paying out-of-state tuition for one extra course would have a monetary effect at the time but the calculation of the GPA had a life-long effect. Dr. Arturo Vega made a motion to accept the recommendations of the Committee except for the policy establishing a new method for calculating the GPAs for transfer students and to add the approval of the instructor to the policy of dropping individual courses after the deadline for automatic Ws. Motion approving the following changes passed.
In addition, the Senate approved the Committee's recommendations for various text revisions for enhancing clarity, reducing misleading interpretations, and eliminating grammatical errors.
Two proposals were rejected. These included a proposal to eliminate the grade of EP and a policy establishing a new method for calculating transfer students' GPAs. The latter policy, which would have counted Fs in cases where courses were successfully repeated, would create disparate GPA accounting practices among transfer and non-transfer students.
Dr. Schneider noted that the Senate had received proposals for additional changes to the Undergraduate Catalog which would be referred to the Faculty Senate's University Curriculum Committee. In order for these to be placed on the Consent Calendar for the University Assembly meeting, Dr. Schneider recommended that the Senate vote electronically on the Committee's recommendations. He asked if there were any objections to handling the process in the manner. Receiving none, he stated that he would proceed with electronic voting.
Dr. Guy Bailey explained that the report from the Office of the Provost should not be interpreted as a full scale response to issues raised in the Report of the Faculty Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Women Faculty Issues. It should be viewed as one initiative that would be particularly useful in identifying and promoting women for administrative roles. He noted that recent hiring practices indicated that women were being hired or promoted into higher administrative positions. He clarified further that the report did not mean to imply that women need training and men do not. All administrators need more and better training. Beginning in August, the Provost's Office will conduct a series of workshops for all current and aspiring administrators. These workshops will address such issues as conflict resolution and budgeting.
Dr. Betty Travis noted that women are not usually in key decision-making positions. She asked if women were being targeted in the vice presidential and dean searches currently being conducted.
Dr. Bailey replied that there is a concerted effort to recruit women to apply. He noted that the current athletic director was someone that the institution sought out and did not merely wait for women to apply. Dr. Bailey acknowledged that the institution had not done a good job, in general, in the hiring of new faculty.
Dr. Harris said that the types of positions that women were being hired for had sent a message. She noted that training will not accomplish anything unless administrators are held accountable for acting on the values and on the lessons in the training. She remarked that the climate at UTSA contains a great deal of prejudice toward women. Dr. Harris said that if search committees are run in a prejudicial way, people should be held accountable.
Dr. Bailey acknowledged that people should be held accountable and an effort would be made to develop measures of accountability that coincide with the training. He stated that it would be good to reexamine the criteria used in the evaluation of administrators to ensure that those criteria, in fact, receive the kinds of values the institution wishes to promote. He agreed that it is important for women to be in decision-making positions.
Dr. Vega asked when the Senate could anticipate a full report from the Office of the Provost responding to the original report.
Dr. Bailey said he would have a report for the last Faculty Senate meeting of the year.
Dr. Walter Richardson asked if evaluations of deans and other academic administrators were done annually and, if so, were these done in writing?
Dr. Bailey responded that those annual evaluations, including his recommendations to the President, were done orally.
Dr. Tullous noted that the February 25, 2000 Provost's memorandum to the deans and division directors stating specific weights for merit rating criteria appeared to be detrimental to the performance of service.
Dr. Bailey said that the memorandum was trying to enforce the existing policies and summarize previous information. There have been substantial inconsistencies from division to division and college to college in conducting evaluations. It was also important for faculty members to know what their ratings were and for the Division Faculty Advisory Committee to have a role in setting criteria.
Dr. Schneider asked if any consideration had been given to the impact of the decrease in the weight of service in the performance standard.
Dr. Bailey responded that there is a need for the entire merit evaluation policy to be re-evaluated. He suggested that the Faculty Senate should be instrumental in reviewing the policy.
Dr. Bailey said that he would review the Faculty Senate report on the Status of Women's Issues to ensure that the Committee on Women's Issues was properly structured.
Dr. Schneider reported on the upcoming site visit of the SACS Reaffirmation of Accreditation Site Visit scheduled for April 24-27, 2000. He said that the team would consist of 11 compliance team members and five consultants for the thematic report. Dr. Schneider noted that extensive interviews involving administrators, faculty, staff, and students would be held on April 25 and 26. He said that the outcome of the site visit review could have significant impact on the institution in the future as it conducts follow-up to the recommendations of the team. The Compliance Committee had already identified 20 areas that were not in compliance, including areas of assessment. There were also some very large issues identified by the Thematic Self-Study and progress has already been made to address some of these.
Dr. Richardson asked if members of the Site Visit Team would meet with members of the general faculty.
Dr. Schneider responded that the team requests the interviews they wish to conduct and UTSA has very little control.
Dr. Schneider asked if it was the sense of the Faculty Senate to have the situation discussed by the Senate and, if so, on what basis.
Dr. Richardson said that faculty in the Division had participated in the mediation meetings for several months with the intention of moving things forward. But there was now a strong sentiment within the Division that the meetings stop.
Dr. Vega asked for information on the current status of the process.
Dr. Bailey responded that the process was currently being reevaluated and the mediator's interim report being reviewed. The meetings had been suspended because of a grievance that had been filed against the mediation process itself. Dr. Bailey said that he had met with the grievant and discussed some actions that this person thought would be useful. These actions include surveying the faculty in the Division to determine if they felt that the mediation process was successful, asking faculty if they thought that they could function separately as a division, and whether they wanted an administrative solution to the problem.
Dr. Vega raised a point of order as to what exactly was being raised for discussion.
Dr. Schneider replied that they were discussing whether or not the Senate had any role in the situation at this point. He said that his impression was that there was a general sense around campus that a successful resolution to the situation was something that everyone desired. The question becomes, what, if anything, the Faculty Senate can do to make the process succeed.
Dr. Norman said that there is a role that the Senate could play, not necessarily in the current situation, but in devising mechanisms for handling similar situations that would be much more effective than what the Office of the Provost designed.
Dr. Russell Briner asked if there was a Senate committee that could undertake such a study of the issues and make recommendations on any role of the Senate in the future.
Dr. Robert Hiromoto said it would be important for everyone to understand what motivations or influences created the problem and to put the entire situation into perspective. He said he felt the problem was created by the University's administrative structure.
Dr. Richardson said that the issues were very important to everyone at the University. Similar situations at other institutions had been handled differently. When a department at UT Austin was placed into receivership, the decision was made by the dean and the provost without consultation with the UT System Office of General Counsel. Dr. Richardson stated his concern about the mediator's attempt to become involved in issues of shared governance, such as being ready to develop new bylaws for the division. He said that the entire atmosphere had become very charged and the meetings had become non-productive in terms of resolving issues.
Dr. Vega asked if the Senate was being requested to do anything in this particular case. If so, he said he would prefer to wait for a full report of the mediation process, rather than act on an interim report.
Dr. Travis said that the issue should be referred to a Senate committee to make recommendations on a process that would include faculty involvement in such a situation. This should include what happens to the division both when problems begin and when it gets to the level of intervention. She said that the faculty in the Division were never allowed to be a part of the solution and that the administration had taken no responsibility for any of the problems.
Dr. Vega agreed that there were issues affecting the entire University that need to be resolved, but intervention by the Faculty Senate at this time would not let the process complete itself.
Dr. Tullous said the Senate should look for a way to identify problems early and then look at what the procedure or process would be for Senate involvement in the future. She said that study of such a process could begin before the situation in the Division of Mathematics and Statistics was completely resolved.
Dr. Schneider agreed that nothing should preclude the Senate from addressing contingencies that might arise in the future. He said he would prepare a charge to the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee that would include examination of the question of internal conflict of faculty and what kinds of constructive remedies might be proposed short of the drastic steps taken in the current situation.
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Last updated Sept. 1, 2005