THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT SAN ANTONIO
DOCUMENTS AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
SUMMARY MINUTES OF THE
FACULTY SENATE MEETING
OF DECEMBER 11, 2003
The fourth regular Meeting of the Faculty Senate for the academic year 2003-2004 was held in room JPL 4.03.08, December 11, 2003 at 3:30 p.m. in the Business Building University Room (BB 2.06.04) with Dr. Aaron Cassill, Chair, presiding, Dr. Roger Enriquez, Secretary.
Dr. Aaron Cassill welcomed Diane Abdo as the non-tenure track representative from the Freshman Initiatives Program and announced that David Hansen was elected as the new non-tenure track representative from the College of Liberal and Fine Arts.
Present: Diane Abdo, Rosalie Ambrosino, Stephan Bach, Guy Bailey, Manuel Berriozabal, Ron Binks, Steven Boyd, David Bruenger, Janis Bush, Aaron Cassill, Anthony Chronopoulos, Manuel Diaz, Mansour El-Kikhia, Vic Heller, Michael Kelly, Dan Kiley, Melvin Laracey, Randy Manteufel, Hayley Mayall, James McDonald, Bill Mullen, Sandy Norman, Frank Pino, Chris Reddick, Michael Ryan, Carlos Salinas, Rudy Sandoval, Linda Shepherd, Ted Skekel, Sandra Welch
Absent: Ron Ayers, Jerry Barloco, Fred Bonner, Felecia Briscoe, Roger Enriquez, James Gallas (excused), Roger Garza, Timothy Goles, Norma Guerra, Lars Hansen (excused), Eugene John, David Johnson, David Larson, Raquel Marquez (excused), Kenneth Masden, Alyson Ponomarenko (excused), Todd Ryska, Joseph Stafford, Armando Trujillo, Yiuman Tse (excused), Raydel Tullous (excused)
Total members present: 30 Total members absent: 22
Dr. Frank Pino requested information on the resolution passed at the last Senate meeting on Professor Joseph I. Michel. He said he had hoped a framed certificate of the resolution would have been prepared for President Romo to present to Dr. Michel's widow. Dr. Cassill noted this should be discussed under New Business.
Dr. Bailey reported on the development of long-range building plans, which include having a new building come online every two years between now and 2009. But even when the buildings currently under construction are finished, UTSA will still have significant space deficits. The plans include three parking decks that will handle some of the parking issues. Approval has been received for new science laboratories with a goal to have 120 additional laboratories by 2007. These additional spaces will alleviate some of the problems encountered in hiring scientists and engineers.
In addition, it is anticipated that 350 new faculty positions will be added over the next seven years. This provides a minimum of 700 tenured and tenure-track positions by 2010. Search committees are encouraged to work hard to fill the current vacancies. Dr. Bailey suggested that David Larson, Vice President for Business Affairs, be invited to give a presentation on campus planning at the next Faculty Senate meeting. He noted that he has been appointed to chair a search committee to hire a replacement for Mr. Larson, who is retiring at the end of April.
Dr. Bailey said there are three things the university plans to do to support the Blueprint for Excellence plan: hire a number of endowed chairs and professors; develop a teaching academy to reward faculty for excellence in teaching; and, set up a reward and recognition program for assistant professors.
Dr. Bailey then asked Dr. Sandy Welch and Ms. Ysabel Trinidad to discuss problems with technology equipment being stolen from classrooms. Dr. Welch reported several projectors have recently been cut loose from the ceiling and removed. Each technology classroom has approximately $10,000 worth of equipment, including a camera, VCR, computer, and projector. The university has decided to install a locking system for technology classrooms. Faculty will be able to enter any of these classrooms using their UTSA identification card. Some funds originally earmarked for adding technology to additional classrooms will have to be used for this project, which will be phased in during the Spring 2004 semester. The electronic locks will be coded so that the classroom is locked at the end of the last class each day. In addition to the new locking system, the police are increasing their presence, both undercover and visible, on a 24-hour per day basis. Dr. Ted Skekel suggested an email be sent to inform faculty teaching night classes of the new procedures. Dr. Welch agreed this should be done. She also reported the State of Texas Attorney General has ruled that faculty or staff will be held liable for equipment theft if they are found negligent. Senators are encouraged to inform constituents of the situation and urge them to be extremely cautious at all times.
Ms. Trinidad said an evaluation process had been used to determine the most efficient method for securing the classrooms and also protect the institution's recourses. Any recommendations will be considered as it will take a team effort to make the project successful. Dr. Sandy Norman asked if faculty identification cards will be the sole access for faculty. Dr. Welch responded affirmatively and reminded faculty to obtain new identification cards with their Banner number. Dr. Hayley Mayall asked if classrooms were locked during the day? Dr. Welch replied they are not locked down during the day because that is disruptive to the class session. This is a compromise based on the premise that there is less opportunity for theft during the day because so many people are around. Ms. Trinidad noted there is some flexibility within the system and they expect to have to do some tweaking along the way. Dr. Norman said if a faculty member either loses or has an identification card stolen, there would be a lot of work to have the number changed. Ms. Trinidad explained the system is set up so it can automatically lock out a number attached to a lost or stolen card. Dr. Carlos Salinas noted that students might need access to classrooms at times other than class times. Dr. Welch explained the classrooms will be available until after the last class of the day. Dan Pena, UTSA Police Department, said if special access is needed after hours, an access control request form can be submitted and the faculty member would be added to the system. If a faculty member is unable to use the identification card for some reason, the police department will have cards available for check-out at the police communication center on a 24 hours per day, 7 days per week basis.
Dr. Welch said a notification is being developed to provide information on the incremental changes that will occur between now and sometime mid-Spring. Faculty will be notified that a new identification card will be necessary to access technology classrooms. She encouraged faculty to do the best to protect themselves and reiterated that, if the Attorney General determines there is no evidence of a break-in, the loss is considered a negligent act and the faculty person can be billed for the equipment. One thing that can be done is to purchase cable locks. These do nothing to actually protect the equipment but a cut cable is evidence of a break-in. Dr. Welch requested feedback from faculty as the system is put in place so any glitches will surface early.
Dr. Norman asked Dr. Bailey to address the full Senate on issues he discussed with the Senate's Executive Committee - Freshman Initiative Program, faculty grievance process, and administrative leave.
Dr. Bailey said it had been brought to the attention of the Provost's Office that the current grievance policy in the Handbook of Operating Procedures was not the most recent version passed by the Senate. However, a newer version cannot be located. He will check with the UT System Office of General Counsel to determine if an updated version is available. Dr. Bailey said he would like to see the Senate discuss methods to resolve as many grievances as possible informally before they escalate to the formal process.
Dr. Bailey said there had been several instances in the past where faculty had been put on administrative leave. In some cases, the leave period was extensive. When an issue is presented to the Provost's Office, they attempt to resolve it informally if at all possible. Issues brought to the police usually involve the person being removed from campus and separated from the people who are affected. Following that, an investigation is conducted. If the investigation is local to campus, it proceeds fairly rapidly. If off-campus police become involved, the university no longer has any control and the investigation can take much longer.
Dr. Norman acknowledged that the complicated nature of any administrative leave policy and that the university might be restricted in its actions. However, the university could have a reasonable policy not to make changes that are going to penalize the person given administrative leave when they come back into their position. There have been instances where somebody was put on administrative leave only to have their job removed. The university as a whole should have a policy so that people who are put on administrative leave are not punished by actions that the university takes to dismantle their job. Dr. Bailey said if the Senate wants to propose such a policy, he would carry it forward through the approval process. Any new policy on administrative leave would have to be approved by the President and the UT System.
Dr. Rudy Sandoval asked if sexual harassment issues go directly to the Office of Legal Affairs. Dr. Bailey responded that sexual harassment issues are handled by the Office of Institutional Diversity.
Dr. Bill Mullen asked for clarification on the status of the Faculty Grievance Policy. A subcommittee of the Academic Policy and Requirements Committee has made some very helpful recommendations to change the grievance policy that is currently in the Handbook of Operating Procedures. However, this report should be tabled if it is not based on the policy approved by the Senate. Dr. Mullen noted that at his previous university, there was a Director of Faculty Relations who met every month with the Faculty Union President. This relationship provided an effective type of mediation for many of the grievances. Dr. Bailey agreed there needs to be open communication between faculty and administration so many grievances could be mediated in the early stages to avoid the long grievance process. He suggested the Senate invite Liz Mitchell from Legal Affairs to give a presentation on the current administrative leave and grievance policies.
Dr. Pino said he had heard concern from the community regarding the number of students enrolled in graduate classes. Thirty students in a graduate class certainly effects the amount of attention that can be given to an individual student. There are also graduate classes with 50 to 80 students. Will the hiring of new faculty alleviate this problem? Dr. Bailey replied the number of students in a class is an issue for the departments and colleges. Any questions about this should be discussed with the dean. He acknowledged the entire university is concerned about the student/faculty ratio overall. While recent budget cuts have had a negative impact, the hope is that planned hiring of new faculty will have a significant positive impact on the ratio. As a university, the goal is to attain the state average and significant progress has already been made. The college deans are aware there are particular problems in some disciplines.
Dr. Manuel Diaz asked if the policy could be revised for undergraduate elective classes since it can be difficult to meet the minimum requirement of 20 students and classes often have to be cancelled. Dr. Bailey explained that the Provost's Office will consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
A motion was made and approved to move to Section III.D., Committees on the agenda.
B. Senate Chair - Dr. Aaron Cassill
C. Secretary of the General Faculty - Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia
1. Academic Policy and Requirements Committee - Dr. Melvin Laracey
Dr. Laracey presented the committee report recommending approval of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as an alternative to the TOEFL test. The committee further recommended the proposal to accept the international baccalaureate test be referred back to the Office of Admissions for circulation to the colleges and departments to determine acceptable test scores. Motion made and approved to accept the report. Mr. Laracey announced that Dr. Dan Engster would become the Senate representative from Department of Political Science and Geography starting in January.
2. Curriculum Committee - Dr. James McDonald
Dr. McDonald reported the committee recommends approval of the following:
· 2004-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Revisions
· Minor in African American Studies
· Minor in Military Leadership
Dr. Mantaufel asked if the committee representative from the College of Engineering had provided any input regarding the addition of an engineering course to the Core Curriculum in Domain B. The college is very interested in having this course available as part of the core. Dr. McDonald said this had not been presented to the committee.
Motion made and approved to accept the report.
Recommend approval of a Substantive Degree Program Proposal for a Master of Social Work - Dr. Ted Skekel
Dr. Skekel reported the Graduate Council had discussed the proposal extensively prior to final approval. He introduced Dr. Dennis Haines who provided an overview of the program and reasons for implementing a graduate program without having an undergraduate degree. He explained a significant need for such a program had been identified. There are currently several Bachelor of Social Work programs in Hispanic-serving institutions in Texas that do not have a Master's program. Our Lady of the Lake University has Social Work programs at the bachelor's and master's level. Dr. Diaz asked if students will be able to take courses on both campuses and count those courses toward a degree at one campus. Dr. Haines replied any courses taken in a program that is in candidacy for accreditation or any accredited institution can count those courses across institutions. Dr. Pino noted the program does not contain a Spanish language component. Dr. Haines replied the plan is to have some of the classes taught in Spanish in order to develop the language component.
Motion made and approved to accept the recommendation of the Graduate Council.
Dr. Michael Ryan commended the Provost's Office for the use of the electronic ballot for input on the proposed UTSA Access Program. The notion of seeking faculty involvement is very powerful and very useful during a time when so many program changes are occurring. Seeking that type of faculty input might put to rest some of the grievances as people feel they are more involved. Dr. Ryan suggested there might be additional survey processes that could be conducted through the Faculty Senate. Dr. Bailey agreed and noted it was always the intention for the Access Program to go through the Senate as implementation would require a lot of work to ensure current programs are not undermined in any way. Concerns expressed by Senators would probably reflect concerns shared by administrators. Dr. Ryan underscored he thinks there is significant value in seeking input from the general faculty and seeing them as partners to help work out issues of curriculum and instruction. This could generate a very powerful sense of collaboration. There are electronic means of vetting issues with faculty through the Faculty Senate and the results brought forward. Dr. Bailey said he would really like for the Senate to take the lead on curricular issues because of the need for broad faculty support. All faculty input is greatly appreciated.
Dr. Bailey then provided background on the development of the Freshman Initiative Program, which consolidated several things that might seem unrelated. Approximately four years ago, the Learning Communities initiative began, the supplemental instruction program expanded, and advising services were greatly enhanced. These major initiatives contribute to the success of freshmen students and needed to be institutionalized in order to ensure the future of the programs. At the same time, lecturers in mathematics had been assigned to a unit separate from the mathematics department due to personnel issues. Also the Provost's Office became aware that lecturers in English had not received pay raises for several years, even though funds had been allocated for that purpose. Therefore, the mathematics and English non-tenure track faculty and the Learning Communities program became the basis for the Freshman Initiative Program. There are no plans to do anything else with the program or to move any other disciplines into the program.
Dr. Norman noted tenured and tenure-track mathematics faculty had nothing to do with non-renewal of lecturers' contract; that was done by a department chair no longer at the university. But the bigger issue is faculty control of academic matters. Essentially the Provost's Office has created an academic unit in which tenured and tenure-track faculty have no authority. The unit was apparently established without any consultation with mathematics faculty. Non-tenure track faculty now have control of the core mathematics courses and can make curricular changes without any input from tenured/tenure-track faculty. Typically curricular changes must go through a process that includes department, college, and university approvals. Dr. Bailey agreed further development of mathematics curriculum would require input of tenured/tenure-track mathematics faculty. However, removing the non-tenure track faculty from the department has been positive for them.
Dr. Bailey further explained the Office of the Provost only becomes involved in departmental issues if they are asked to be involved and cannot avoid it, or if there are people who, for a variety of reasons, need to be protected. Dr. Norman said he understood that one of the major rationales for forming the new academic unit was to solve personnel and budget problems. Dr. Bailey responded the problems were legal irregularities, not budget problems. Dr. Norman noted the unit was put in place without any notion of where it was going, how long it would exist, and the administrative mechanisms involved.
Dr. El-Kikhia asked for input from non-tenure track faculty. The non-tenure track faculty representative from Freshman Initiatives, Professor Diane Abdo, said they were very pleased to finally receive answers to questions that have been asked for several years. The writing program has not changed in any way; it is still being directed by the same person who directed it before. The only difference is the ability to tighten up the curriculum and ensure everyone is teaching according to the determined curriculum. Most of the non-tenure track faculty teach full time and several have been at the university for more than 20 years. These faculty are very dedicated to UTSA. Now the non-tenure track English faculty have finally receiver very disturbing answers to the question of what happened to their raises for the past several years. Dr. Bailey explained that money transferred to the college and then to the department was not given to the lecturers as was intended. Dr. Norman asked if tenured and tenure-track English faculty were at all involved? Dr. Bill Mullen answered on behalf of the English faculty that they had no knowledge of the reallocation of funds intended for lecturers' raises. However, the report of the Senate Curriculum Committee is correct that changes to curriculum should remain the purview of departmental faculty. It would seem that restructuring of oversight for introductory mathematics and English courses did not abide by the rules and regulations of the Senate. Dr. Mullen recommended the Provost's Office present a proposal describing the Freshman Initiative Program to the Faculty Senate for review. The proposal should include methods for curricular change and supervision and administration of the unit as would be done with any academic restructuring.
Dr. Salinas asked if the Freshman Initiative is the same unit as the freshman college and technology initiative begun last summer? Dr. Bailey responded there is no freshman college and the technology initiative is a separate matter. The Freshman Initiative Program only pulled the English and mathematics faculty into one administrative unit and there have been no curricular changes.
Dr. Pino asked if class size requirements are curricular issues? Dr. Bailey responded that, except for the minimum requirement determined by the Provost's Office, class size is a college and departmental issue. These units must work within budgetary restraints but have complete control over the number and level of course offerings.
Dr. Randy Manteufel recommended evaluation of the Freshman Initiative Program after it has been in effect for a year or so to determine if there have been improvements in learning and retention. It has the potential for very positive results but needs to be evaluated. Dr. Mullen agreed retention is important for the university. He said the tenured/tenure-track English faculty are extremely pleased about the increase in pay for lecturers. But the issues of process transparency and faculty involvement are still valid. Changes made by administration should have been done in collaboration with the faculty. In addition, the size of composition and rhetoric classes matters enormously for pedagogical reasons. Professor Abdo said class caps of 25 have not changed. The same faculty are teaching the same courses in the same way. The only difference is that the director is looking more closely at how the classes are being taught and ensuring everyone is teaching according to the same curriculum.
Dr. Norman suggested the formation of a faculty advisory committee for the Freshman Initiative Program. Dr. Bailey reminded Senators of the draft proposal for a Blueprint for Excellence presented earlier in the semester. This proposal contained two initiatives to improve undergraduate students writing and quantitative reasoning skills. There is interest in developing a "Writing Across the Curriculum" to increase the employability of UTSA graduates. The Provost's Office can forward a proposal for a program to improve student skills in these very important areas. Dr. Norman agreed this is a good idea but would still like to see an advisory committee for the Freshman Initiative Program, consisting of English and mathematics tenured/tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty. Dr. Bailey agreed to present a proposal at the next Senate meeting.
Dr. Steven Boyd said he encouraged the Provost's office to change the method of administrator evaluations for next year. The faculty in his department have been required to sign their evaluation input, which is a problem for those who have not received tenure. Several faculty have discussed this procedure with the college dean since anonymity is particularly important to this process and would result in better evaluations. Dr. Cassill said he would appoint the ad hoc committee on administrator evaluations as approved by the Senate previously.
Quorum was lost and the meeting adjourned.
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Last updated June 2, 2005