THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT SAN ANTONIO
DOCUMENTS AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
SUMMARY MINUTES OF THE
FACULTY SENATE MEETING
OF DECEMBER 9, 2004
regular Meeting of the Faculty Senate for the academic year 2004–2005 was held December 9, 2004 at 3:30 p.m. in the Business Building University Room (BB 2.06.04) with Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia, Chair, presiding, Dr. Steven Boyd, Secretary.
Present: Diane Abdo, Ron Ayers, Stephan Bach, Thad Bartlett, Robert Bayley, Manuel Berriozábal, Ron Binks, Steven Boyd, Felecia Briscoe, Aaron Cassill, Anthony Chronopoulos, Stacey Davis, Mansour El-Kikhia, Daniel Engster, Timothy Goles, Eugene John, Craig Jordan, Hayley Mayall, James McDonald, Michael Ryan, Frank Pino, Alyson Ponomarenko, Dianne Rahm, Carlos Salinas, Ted Skekel, Thankam Sunil, Betty Travis, Yiuman Tse, Raydel Tullous, Sandra Welch, Karen Williams, Venetta Williams
Absent: Rosalie Ambrosino, Ronald Bagley, Guy Bailey, Jerry Barloco, Fred Bonner, John Byrd, Roger Enriquez, James Gallas, Damon Garcia, David Hansen, Lars Hansen, David Johnson, Michael F. Kelly, Kerry Kennedy, Richard Lewis, Kenneth Masden, Patrick McDaniel, Bill Mullen, Robert Renthal, Rudy Sandoval, Rocky Shih, Joseph Stafford, Jude Valdez, Wan Yao
Total members present: 32 Total members absent: 24
A Senate Chair – Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia
Dr. El-Kikhia reported on items discussed during the December meeting of the UT System Faculty Advisory Council. Faculty can expect the State Legislature to initiate another accountability exercise in the near future. UT System components have already done accountability studies and are going quite well in this regard. In fact, the State will use many of the variables already used by the UT System.
Dr. El-Kikhia distributed a document titled, Texas Public University Cost Study, FY 2002 and FY 2003, which is a proposal to change the higher education funding system. If the proposed funding system is approved, UTSA would gain funding; however, many other institutions would lose funding. The current legislative trend is to expect higher education institutions to raise their own funds in various manners, such as going to the business community for support. Much of the money previously used for higher education will be needed for public education, Medicaid, and prisons.
UT System reported the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board seems to be moving toward more flexible use of the Permanent University Funds (PUF). The study recently conducted by the Washington Advisory Group (WAG) indicated two items the UT System should address – the ability to attract good students and the lack of faculty collaboration across System components. Currently in the works is a databank into which contact information for all high school juniors and seniors will be input. Letters will then be sent to good students inviting them to join the UT System. They would also like to set up a database to show all current faculty research grants, as well as pending grants. Of course, this would be on a voluntary basis. Then, perhaps, a system-wide chat room could be established to encourage faculty collaboration. The most important initiative under consideration is to fund good research proposals that have not been able to receive funding. Many very good proposals do not make the final cut. UT System found that 97% of proposals that were turned down the first time actually received funding the second time around.
Another issue discussed at the meeting was allowing faculty to teach less than 50% without losing tenure. The Chancellor stated he has no opposition to such a policy and individual campuses can develop their own policies.
B Secretary of the General Faculty – as submitted by Dr. James McDonald
The latest UT System Faculty Advisory Council meeting in Austin on December2nd and 3rd yielded some very interesting discussion of the larger trends in the political economy of higher education as well as trends within the state in terms of the shape of higher education.
Terri Sullivan noted that there is a move in some states like Virginia and Michigan toward privatization of their flagship institutions. The key to keeping budgets afloat at the Universities of Michigan and Virginia is to off set the loss of state support with out-of-state students and the higher tuition that they pay.
Dr. Sullivan also discussed some of the emergent issues in the state at the level of the Coordinating Board, which has recently accepted a report on doctoral program development within the state. The CB currently seems to be stressing undergraduate education rather than graduate-level training, especially at the doctoral level. Part of the reason for this is an overall decline in the number of doctoral students coupled with the expense of supporting doctoral programs. Additionally there is the feeling at the CB that campuses should be focusing on undergraduate education. As a consequence, one prevailing position at the CB is that doctoral programs should be concentrated on just a few campuses in order to contain cost. It was suggested that new doctoral programs would be entertained from institutions that already have them up and running. On the other hand, it was further suggested that the CB is taking the position that if a campus does not have a full suite of doctoral programs on line, then new ones proposed should have a “regional” focus. It was not clear what the implications of the CB’s position are for UTSA.
However, a presentation by James Phelps reinforced the undergraduate orientation at the CB. Phelps and his team at the CB have developed a data-driven reformulation of the formula funding model. The current formula funding model that sets the state’s reimbursement for student education by field and level of study was created by Senator Ratliffe in, what I believe was, the late 1980s. It is not clear what factors he used to determine educational cost. The Phelps team’s work puts real data behind the formula factors. Overall, as he noted, institutions that emphasize undergraduate education are more advantaged by the new formula factors than research and graduate education oriented institutions. The projection for UTSA is that we would be nominally advantaged by the new formula scheme.
Additionally, all university Presidents are being called to submit nominees for a new Graduate Advisory Policy Committee at the CB.
Along other lines, Dr. Sullivan noted that the UT System was pledging to keep its tuition and fees increases to a maximum of 5%; campus compacts will be put through a mid-term adjustment. She emphasized the need for faculty input and transparency of process; she also noted that the Chancellor likes the “commission” concept for longer-term planning.
In terms of the upcoming legislative session, Dr. Sullivan noted we should be on the look out for Senator Zaffarini to introduce a package of bills in the upcoming legislative session focusing on graduation rates.
Finally, Dr. Kenneth Shine, Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, discussed some issues of relevance to us on the academic side of the system. First he noted that there is a new Texas Academy of Medicine, Science, and Engineering that will be comprised of members of various national academies. The stem cell research initiative in California is having interesting repercussions throughout the country. Here in Texas there may be a biomedical initiative pushed in the legislature, though as you can imagine, there are legislators poised on both sides of that issue. In the “don’t get sick” category, he noted that 85% of the professionals working in public health in Texas have no professional training in public health and in the last admissions cycle, 4,100 qualified Texans were turned down for nursing programs in the state for lack of available slots.
On the home front, we now have a mock up version of a revised set of governance web pages. Once we have that loaded onto the system, we will work toward getting a newsletter up covering Senate and Assembly activities. Additionally, I now find myself on the University Web Portal Committee on the faculty subcommittee. We have just had our first meeting and my understanding is that a portal will integrate our official web pages and keep them consistent, as well provide faculty, staff, and students with the flexibility to customize the UTSA web page on their desktop.
Dr. Manuel Berriozábal expressed concern that Senator Judith Zaffarini’s proposed legislation does not take into consideration the type of students attending UTSA. These are students who cannot afford to study full time since most of these have to work to support their families. It would not be appropriate to encourage those students to work full time and to take a full time study load. The UTSA administration or, possibly, the Senate should address this issue with legislators.
Dr. McDonald noted the bills introduced by Senator Zaffarini are meant to help students and include various kinds of support. For example, it is expected more money will be put into the Texas Grant Program. There will also be incentives for students to complete their degrees more quickly.
D Open Forum
Dr. Anthony Chronopoulos reiterated the need to make legislators aware of the particular nature of UTSA’s student body. It is important they know students are taking longer to graduate because they need to work. Dr. El-Kikhia agreed the Senate could develop a statement to the State Legislature.
Dr. Betty Travis asked if there would be a time limit for faculty who elected to teach less than 50 percent yet retain tenure and still receive full benefits. Dr. El-Kikhia replied UT System has not set a limit. Dr. Michael Ryan suggested a Senate committee should develop a UTSA policy that the Senate could present to the administration. Dr. Daniel Engster asked if the same committee would look at issues of parental leave or maternity leave because it is not clear what the UTSA policy actually is? Dr. El-Kikhia said the leave policy is an important issue but the two items should not be mixed together. Dr. Robert Bayley noted that the Provost stated that, for funding purposes, each course would be counted as 20 percent when faculty buy out for a grant. If the proposal for workload reduction below 50 percent used a different course percentage, there could be the unintended consequence of causing grant buyout amounts to increase because the institution does not have sufficient resources. Dr. El-Kikhia said he would refer the issue to the Evaluation, Merit, Rewards, and Workload Committee.
Dr. Chronopoulos requested that, in the future, when the Provost announces a new rule or policy in a Faculty Senate meeting, the announcement is then followed by the rule or policy, in writing, being sent to the Senate. Dr. El-Kikhia agreed the Senate should be following up on statements made during its meetings.
Dr. Carlos Salinas expressed concern about what is currently happening with summer profits. In Fall 2002, the Department of Communications met with the Provost regarding course decisions being management decision and how departments must maximize course offerings. At the same time, travel budgets were being cut significantly. The department was told that one of the ways to supplement the travel budget and provide other support was through Summer budgets. In response to that information, the department tried very hard to maximize profits in Summer 2003. Although the breakeven analysis showed the department had generated $76,000 that summer, only $3300 went back to the department as profit. For Summer 2004, $63,000 was generated but the department is now being told there were no summer profits. Dr. Sandy Welch explained that Business Affairs had made the decision to not give out summer profits. She suggested the Provost could discuss further details on this budgeting practice at the next Senate meeting. She noted the state has not funded UTSA with the formula for this entire biennium. If it had funded the actual formula, UTSA would have received approximately $40 million in additional funding. Although the university has experienced rapid growth, it is only being funded at the level it was four to six years ago. Although the breakeven analysis is still a good decision tool to help manage curriculum, it does not reflect actual state funding. Dr. Welch said she would ask the Vice President for Business Affairs to address the Senate at a future meeting and the Provost will be available at the next meeting to discuss budgets and the university’s legislative strategy.
E Provost – Dr. Guy Bailey (Dr. Sandra Welch)
Dr. Welch said Dr. Bailey was currently in Washington with granting agencies continuing to garner support and develop relationships. She continued to discuss formula funding noting that a major legislative goal of the UT System is to have the state actually fund the formula. This would be a tremendous advantage to a growing institution like UTSA.
Dr. Welch announced Dr. Gerry Dizinno had recently been hired as the Director for Institutional Research. Dr. Dizinno is already helping to generate reports that will assist UTSA to tell its story. He is pulling data that will show the current trends of the University, which are favorable. He is very intuitive and should be very helpful to faculty who need data. Possibly, Dr. Dizinno could address the Senate at the next meeting.
Dr. Alyson Ponomarenko asked who had developed formula funding in the first place. Dr. Welch replied this was a deal made by the State Legislature several years ago. The formula was reviewed over the past year and a proposal has been made that would change the funding. This change could help UTSA tremendously but there are politics in place and the final outcome is very uncertain.
Dr. Chronopoulos asked that a committee be assigned to speed up applications for new graduate programs. Dr. Dianne Rahm stated the proposal for a Ph.D. in Public Administration had been in the UT System review process for several months and finding a way, as an institution, to move the process forward is a good idea. Dr. Bayley said it seems that several doctoral programs are coming online fairly quickly; in fact, a lot faster than the institution is providing the infrastructure to support the programs. It was agreed that Graduate Council should look at the situation and provide input to the Senate.
Dr. Welch distributed copies of a memorandum sent by Dr. Dorothy Flannagan to associate deans and doctoral program chairs (attached to and made a part of these minutes). Dr. Flannagan had attended a meeting of the Texas Graduate School Deans and had shared information from that meeting with UTSA administrators.
Dr. Welch noted items of interest to UTSA faculty:
UT System and the Board of Regents will start looking at the size of graduate classes and pay more attention to the justifications for running them smaller than the mandated numbers. It is going to be harder to receive approval for new programs if current programs have low enrollments. Dr. Ryan said it would seem that graduation rates would be better with fewer students, yet there is consistent pressure at all levels to have as many students as possible. If the funding formula is changed, will there still be a benefit from having large numbers? Dr. Welch said high enrollment is not the only factor; there is also the issue of having more graduate than undergraduate programs and UTSA is still very undergraduate dependent.
Over the next three to five years, there is going to be increased scrutiny of graduation rates, especially for doctoral programs. Institutions will be asked to defend nonproductive programs. Dr. Pino suggested that information gathered at the time of doctoral program reviews be shared with other departments, which might be able to provide cross-disciplinary and cross-departmental assistance to the program.
Waivers currently given to funded nonresident students that allow them to pay in-state tuition are not popular with some legislators. UT System is working to prevent this policy from being changed. Dr. Berriozábal stated UTSA had been established to get more minority students educated at the college level. In particular, there were so few graduate programs that were accessible to minority students, especially in South Texas. One difficulty is the lack of preparation for minority students to go on to the graduate level. Faculty are more interested in their research than doing the tough job of mentoring students through a doctoral program. Incentives need to be provided to encourage faculty to advise students in the pursuit of research doctorates.
There is currently a national trend for employers to demand that doctoral programs better train students in workplace skills. Institutions are urged to reform curriculum and practice in response to student and employer demands and to increase public awareness of what doctoral programs train students to do.
A revised version of the GRE will be released in October 2006. Major revisions will be made to the Verbal portion of the test, minor revisions to the Quantitative portion and the Analytical Writing section.
In response to Dr. Chronopoulos’ recommendation to appoint a committee to study the approval process for graduate program proposals and the need for additional collaboration among disciplines, Dr. Salinas made a motion to table the issue until the next meeting. Motion approved.
1 Recommend approval of a Substantive Program Proposal for a Ph.D. degree in Applied Statistics/Demography – APPROVED
2. Recommend approval of a Substantive Program Proposal for a M.S. degree in Computer Engineering – APPROVED
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Last updated May 18, 2005