THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT SAN ANTONIO
DOCUMENTS AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
SUMMARY MINUTES OF THE
FACULTY SENATE MEETING
OF NOVEMBER 11, 2004
The third regular Meeting of the Faculty Senate for the academic year 2004–2005 was held November 11, 2004 at 3:30 p.m. in the Business Building University Room (BB 2.06.04) with Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia, Chair, presiding.
Present: Ron Ayers, Stephan Bach, Guy Bailey, Robert Bayley, Manuel Berriozábal, Felecia Briscoe, Aaron Cassill, Stacey Davis, Mansour El-Kikhia, Damon Garcia, Timothy Goles, Eugene John, Michael Kelly, Richard Lewis, Hayley Mayall, Patrick McDaniel, James McDonald, Peter Pfordresher, Frank Pino, Alyson Ponomarenko, Dianne Rahm, Robert Renthal, Rudy Sandoval, Betty Travis, Raydel Tullous, Jude Valdez, Sandra Welch, Karen Williams, Wan Yao
Absent: Diane Abdo, Rosalie Ambrosino, Ronald Bagley, Jerry Barloco, Thad Bartlett, Ron Binks, Fred Bonner, Steven Boyd, John Byrd, Anthony Chronopoulos, Daniel Engster, Roger Enriquez, James Gallas, David Hansen, Lars Hansen, David Johnson, Craig Jordan, Kerry Kennedy, Kenneth Masden, Bill Mullen, Carlos Salinas, Rocky Shih, Ted Skekel, Joseph Stafford, Yiuman Tse, Venetta Williams
Total members present: 29 Total members absent: 26
A Provost – Dr. Guy Bailey
Dr. Bailey announced the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (CB) had recently approved the proposal for a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry. A proposal for a Ph.D. in Physics should be on the agenda for the next Board meeting and a M.A. in Communications has received UT System approval and is currently being reviewed by the CB. Recent actions by the CB are expected to slow down the approval of doctoral programs; however, UTSA does not expect this to have an adverse affect. The Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research and the Dean of the Graduate School work very hard to ensure every proposal sent to the Coordinating Board is first rate and well-prepared before it leaves the campus.
Dr. Bailey reported that, due to the State’s focus on accountability, the CB will begin reviewing UTSA’s doctoral programs. Items such as enrollments and persistence in graduation rates will be considered. The national graduation rate is only about 50 percent. UTSA would like to be above that rate. The Dean of the Graduate School will form a work group to strategize about how the university can ensure students coming into doctoral programs can move through those programs successfully. The expectation is that Coordinating Board staff might begin making recommendations to eliminate non-productive programs.
The next session of the State Legislature, which will begin in January 2005, is expected to be a critical session for UTSA. Even with the mandated budget cut over the past two years, UTSA has done well, partly because of an increase in student fees. These fees cannot be raised again because there are limits of how much students can be expected to pay and what can be covered by financial aid. The Provost’s Office would like to meet with the Senate Budget Committee in December to discuss budget issues for the next legislative session. Student input will also be sought in order to develop a coordinated legislative strategy. The students are very helpful and have a big impact on legislative decisions. If the budget for the next biennium has a five percent reduction, faculty hiring would suffer. However, that type of reduction is not expected. In fact, there may be some increase in funding. The university would be in excellent condition if the State would simply fund the enrollment growth over the past four years. The key will be to help the legislative delegation focus on UTSA’s achievements, such as having done a better job of “Closing the Gap” than any other institution in the state. The State of Texas is not in bad shape financially but public education and healthcare are expected to be the major issues driving budget allocations.
Questions to the Provost:
1 How are Distinguished Professors chosen?
These professorships are granted by the President of the institution to reward distinction in the field. Anyone can be nominated by having a nomination submitted to the Provost. The Provost reviews the submission and either makes a recommendation to the President to grant the professorship or returns the nomination with an explanation of the reason for not sending it forward.
2 Provide an explanation of the new Tenure and Promotion standards.
There are no new standards yet; the university is still operating under the same standards as last year. The Office of the Provost has begun a revision of the policy, which will be forwarded to the Faculty Senate for review. UTSA expects solid teaching and more people have been denied tenure or have been terminated in their first six years for teaching problems more than anything else. Dr. Robert Bayley noted the merit standards should be changed at the same time as the tenure standards. Dr. Bailey stated the policy on merit standards is also being reworked. There are always discrepancies in expectations from department to department and college to college, as well as national expectations varying from discipline to discipline. Drafts of these policies will be sent out for review. It should be noted that the University Faculty Review and Advisory Committee has provided internal consistency across the campus with its recommendations.
3 Explain the process for recruiting and hiring endowed chairs.
There are two types of endowed chairs. One when the endowment is given to a specific department or discipline area, such as the Brackenridge Endowed Chair in Literature and the Humanities. That type of search must ensure the position is filled by somebody who meets all the criteria specified in the endowment. The other type of endowed chair is one that is open to anybody from any area. The UT System has asked the university to appoint a committee to vet the recommendations for hiring of endowed chairs, as well as any faculty hired with tenure. In the future, hiring material must be forwarded to this committee for its review and recommendations. There are a number of endowed chair positions currently being recruited. One of the goals of the university is to significantly increase the total number of endowed chairs.
4 Explain the concept of “areas of excellence.”
Of course, the long-term goal of the institution is to not have any “bad” areas. All of the university’s disciplines are still developing and each area will be excellent because the faculty make it that way, not because of mandates from administration. What happens at the department levels is the key.
5 Dr. Aaron Cassill asked if there would be a standardized policy on hiring faculty through centers.
A workgroup is being assembled to review that practice. There are some advantages to having the ability to hire through the centers. There are also problems since nothing in university policy provides the centers with an administrative structure for processes such as merit pay or promotion. Currently the centers provide a substantial part of the funding for these faculty and work with departments for the tenure process.
Vice Provost for Academic Compliance and Institutional Research – Dr. Sandra Welch
Dr. Welch discussed material that had been forwarded to the members of the Senate: 1) an Excel spreadsheet titled, “Draft Accountability Measures and Definitions;” 2) a report by Joseph C. Burke, titled, “Focusing Accountability on Improvement Putting Academic Departments in the Accountability Loop” (documents attached to and made a part of these minutes). The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (CB) is currently collecting data for which every state university will be held accountable. These data are posted at: http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/accountability/ The CB is loading the data and graphing it so an institution can compare itself to other institutions, particularly its peers. Dr. Welch asked the Senators to review the sets of measure provided in the spreadsheet and, if possible, provide an antidote from their department related to the measure that tells a good story about UTSA. This should be something Dr. Romo or other administrators could share with legislators during the upcoming session.
Dr. Welch reported the accountability trend is nationwide and the Texas governor’s office is taking the trend as a crusade. Higher education has argued it has many rigorous accrediting bodies to hold it accountable on a regular basis and, therefore, should not be treated like public schools. However, this accountability trend has been imposed by those who provide funding and institutions cannot choose to opt out of the responsibility. Due to the national decrease in funding for higher education, all universities have begun to understand the value of grants and it is expected that competition will quickly become even more rigorous. Fortunately, UT System is ahead of the accountability issues and has even provided input to the statewide measures. As Dr. Bailey noted, faculty and departments are the source of excellence and the success of UTSA rests on them. Dr. Welch said the Burke article talks about the key role departments play in accountability at the university level, without which a university cannot be successful. She asked Senators to work with their departments to be creative in ways to help the administration meet the ambitious goals it has set.
Dr. Welch announced the hiring of Gerard (Gerry) Dizinno as the new Director of the Office of Institutional Research. Mr. Dizinno is nationally recognized and comes from St. Mary’s University. There are plans to hire an additional researcher, who will have the ability to analyze data rather than just provide the information.
B. Special Assistant to the President – Dr. Richard Lewis
Dr. Lewis distributed a diagram describing the development of the UTSA Compact (attached to and made a part of these minutes). The next step will be the development of compacts at each vice presidential level. Departments will not be expected to develop compacts; they will probably develop initiatives and goals, which will then be rolled into a college compact.
Dr. Lewis announced a contract with Management Solutions to facilitate focus groups aimed at trying to get a handle on the university’s diversity climate. Questions such as – is the institution diverse? if so, is this diversity by design or by happenstance? – will be examined. In connection with the university-wide diversity committee, Management Solutions will assemble five focus groups, one each for administrators, faculty, and staff and two for students. Each group will consist of 20 to 25 people. The Faculty Senate will be asked for recommendations for the faculty group. The expectation is that reports outlining what the university needs to do regarding diversity will be sent to the President and to the Provost by the end of the Spring 2005 semester.
C Senate Chair – Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia
Dr. El-Kikhia reported on items discussed at the recent UT Faculty Advisory Council meeting:
· The Board of Regents will begin a review of the salary compression issue for upper-level faculty within the System.
· UT System is expected to request $9 billion in capital improvements during the upcoming legislative session. Components are being asked to find ways to collaborate with business and industry to acquire additional funding.
· UT Austin will begin work to stabilize its enrollment and to revamp its core curriculum.
· Chancellor Yudof is taking an active role in the distribution of Permanent University Funds (PUF) money. Refinancing of loans has recently increased these funds by $20 million.
· The Vice Chancellor for Administration reported the System had recently revamped the paid time off policy and the extended illness package. This impacts staff more than faculty.
· Chancellor Yudof urged the components to continue to fight for deregulation of higher education. He also said faculty searches should always be open and go through the entire review process. He believes in conducting searches for administrators, although under special circumstances it might be necessary to appoint someone.
D Secretary of the General Faculty – as submitted by Dr. James McDonald
One of the important tasks that I set out to accomplish this year is to begin to enhance Senate and Assembly communications on campus by updating the governance web pages and creating a Senate newsletter so that we can better disseminate information on the activities of this body to the General Faculty.
In the May meeting of the UT System Faculty Advisory Council, Robert Gates (Associate Director of UT Human Resources) and Brett Morris (Chair of the UT Retirement Programs Advisory Committee) provided an overview of the first major overhaul of the ORP information delivery platform since it was initiated in 1968. In 2005 ORP is moving from a paper-intensive administration system to an automated, 24/7, web-based one. Ninety percent of the UT System faculty contract with the eight current companies that provide service to UT component campuses. The other 10% are with grandfathered companies. All eight of the current companies will participate in this automation initiative. Individuals who are still using one of the older companies will have a more limited number of automated capabilities.
ORP is, of course, the Optional Retirement Plan that most faculty opt for as their retirement package. Most faculty find out how their funds are doing by working with representatives from their respective ORP companies or by visiting company web sites and looking at their portfolios.
Over the course of 2005, all campuses will be rolled into a UT System automated platform where we can get a one page summary for each of our accounts. The ORP web page will be on the UT EID web site. Notable new capabilities on this web site will include the ability to split funds between ORP companies and use various retirement planning tools so that faculty can factor in a variety of variables in figuring their retirement (e.g., social security, IRAs, inheritances, etc). Eventually the web page will also include “life event planning” and allow employees to transfer funds between accounts.
In the latest Sysfac meeting last week (10/7-10/8), the upcoming legislative session loomed large in our various discussions. Key issues include: obtaining adequate formula funding to support rapid growth (some Regent’s are concerned about accountability and it is clear that more state funding will also mean more accountability) that would help fund closing the gap initiatives among other things; high quality education and academic practices; excellence in health care; institutional competitiveness for educators and researchers; strengthening educational services to public education and the community; improving efficiency of operations and the productive use of resources.
--Formula funding: this source provides 20-30% of University funding. “Full formula funding” is critical to provide funding that accounts for inflation and growth.
--Closing the gap: support for emerging institutions and doctoral programs that serve large minority populations.
--High quality education and success: funding to support the reduction of student-teacher ratios, provide more advisors, enhance through rates, and enhance the Texas grant program.
--Health care: physicians and other health personnel who are trained in Texas tend to stay here. Major cuts experienced by health components in the UT System from the loss of Medicaid revenues have to be addressed.
--Institutional competitiveness in faculty hiring: the UT System is providing additional funding for start up packages.
--Strengthen collaboration with public education: excellent K-12 partnerships already exist and need to be continued. Most of these are privately funded.
--Increase efficiency and productivity: the UT System and its components initiated accountability measures and it appears that in the upcoming legislative session such measures will be established for all higher education components.
Additionally we heard about the Commission of 125 Report recently released by UT-Austin. This was a report developed by a large group of alumni (numbering more than 200) that emphasizes the revamping of the UT-Austin core curriculum, stabilize undergraduate enrollment, and create better and more empowered leadership at the Department and Center levels of administration.
1 Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Governance – Dr. Felecia Briscoe
Dr. Briscoe provided background on the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Governance, which was formed in Spring 2004. The committee found a general perception of apathy among faculty in that they feel they are not a part of the decision-making process at the university. A recent report from the Washington Advisory Group (WAG), commissioned by the UT System, noted that UTSA faculty are indeed being left out of the process and better communication is needed. The report from the UTSA committee presents recommendations on how to reduce apathy and increase communication. These include enhancements to the Faculty Senate Web site, changes to the Senate bylaws, and better tracking of decisions made by the Senate. There is also a recommendation for a general accounting of absences from Senate meetings and the consequence of those absences. Dr. El-Kikhia asked for a vote of confidence in the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Governance. Motion made, seconded, and approved.
2 University Curriculum Committee – Recommend approval of a Nonsubstantive Program Proposal for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music. APPROVED
Recommend approval of the Program Proposal for a Master of Science degree in Architecture – APPROVED.
1 Dr. El-Kikhia reported that he will forward a request to review various models of the use of ombudspersons, at UT System components and outside of the System, the Academic Policy and Requirements Committee. At a later stage in the process, Dr. David Johnson will be asked to participate in the work of the committee.
2 Dr. El-Kikhia noted the need for revision to faculty-related policies in the UTSA Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP). He asked for input about whether to establish a standing committee or appoint an ad hoc committee to review and make recommendations on these issues. Dr. McDonald suggested an ad hoc committee be appointed quickly to begin the process of review.
3 Dr. Betty Travis said she recently received an update to the HOP policy on research space utilization. She asked if this policy was the same as the policy approved by the Faculty Senate several months ago. Dr. El-Kikhia replied he would check with Dr. George Negrete who chaired the Committee that developed the Senate-approved policy.
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Last updated: February 2, 2005