OF MARCH 11, 2004

The sixth regular Meeting of the Faculty Senate for the academic year 2003-2004 was held March 11, 2004 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.

Call to order and taking of attendance

Present:  Diane Abdo, Manuel Berriozábal, Fred Bonner, Steven Boyd, Felecia Briscoe, Janis Bush, Aaron Cassill, Anthony Chronopoulos, Manuel Diaz, Mansour El-Kikhia, Daniel Engster, Lars Hansen, Eugene John, Michael Kelly, Dan Kiley, Raquel Marquez, Hayley Mayall, Sandy Norman, Michael Ryan, Carlos Salinas, Rudy Sandoval, Linda Shepherd, Yiuman Tse, Raydel Tullous, Jude Valdez, Sandra Welch

Absent:  Rosalie Ambrosino, Ron Ayers, Guy Bailey (excused), Stephan Bach, Jerry Barloco, Ron Binks (excused), David Bruenger, Roger Enriquez, James Gallas, Timothy Goles, Norma Guerra, David Hansen, Vic Heller (excused), David Johnson, David Larson, Ross Langham, Randy Manteufel, (excused), Kenneth Masden, James McDonald (excused), Bill Mullen, Frank Pino (excused), Alyson Ponomarenko (excused), Chris Reddick, Ricardo Romo, Todd Ryska, Ted Skekel, Joseph Stafford, Armando Trujillo

Total members present: 26                    Total members absent: 28

II. Minutes of the February 12, 2004 meeting were corrected and approved.
III. Reports

Office of the Provost - Dr. Sandra Welch

Dr. Welch provided an update on faculty and staff liability when negligence is determined for lost or stolen equipment. She thanked Dr. Rudy Sandoval for doing a detailed analytical comparison of the law and the policy. Dr. Sandoval provided valuable information for the Provost to discuss with David Larson, Vice President for Business Affairs. Mr. Larson reviewed the process as it is being conducted and agrees changes need to be made. Any person accused of negligence should be able to meet with the committee that conducts the internal investigation to present the rationale as to why they do not believe they are negligent. There also needs to be a shift in responsibility to a larger committee with representation from several areas, instead of a small group composed only of staff from Business Affairs. Another change under consideration is that instead of charging the original cost, the negligent party can determine current market value. An employee would be able to locate and purchase replacement equipment instead of having to write a check to the university. Mr. Larson has also indicated that, although the state requires reporting of the original cost, it leaves the determination of how much the employee should be charged to the local unit. University administrators are currently developing written policies to be distributed to UTSA faculty and staff. Dr. Sandoval's line-by-line comparison showed the policy does not follow the law. All state employees are held liable if any item entrusted to them is lost or stolen. This is not a new statute but the University had not developed a policy until 2004.  Dr. Welch noted equipment purchased with grant funds is the property of the university, even though the grant faculty has primary use of it while the grant is in effect.

Dr. Welch distributed information from UT System academic institutions on faculty salary trends and research funding trends. At UTSA, the trend for both items is very positive. One of Dr. Bailey's major goals since becoming Provost has been to increase faculty salaries to make UTSA competitive at the national level. Currently the university is faring very well compared to other UT System components. Nationally UTSA waivers a bit at the full professor level but is above average for associate and assistant professors. The university has seen a reflection of these increases in the ability to recruit new faculty this year. The plan is to continue increasing salaries, not only for tenured/tenure-track faculty, but also for non-tenure track faculty. The intent is to reward people for what they do extraordinarily well, whether that is research or teaching. The move toward Tier 1 status has placed an emphasis on research but teaching is also valued. Dr. Welch noted federal grants have expanded tremendously even with UTSA's very strict legal interpretation of what is federally funded. Dr. Welch distributed copies of the UTSA University Compact that has been submitted to the state. All System components were required to submit an accountability document and each will be held accountable according to the terms of its compact. Dr. Welch suggested inviting Dr. Richard Lewis in the President's Office to discuss the contents of the compact, keeping in mind this is a living document.

Dr. Sandy Norman asked about UTSA's current classification. Dr. Welch replied it is not quite research intensive, but expects to receive that classification this year.

Chair - Dr. Aaron Cassill

Dr. Cassill reported the following:

ˇ Election of the Senate Chair for the next two years will be conducted at the April meeting.

ˇ The ad hoc committee on faculty diversity, chaired by Dr. George Negrete, has been meeting for the past few months. Committee members expect to have an interim report by the end of the year and, eventually, a full report on how to increase faculty diversity.

ˇ The Academic Policy and Requirements Committee is continuing to work on the grievance policy and revision of the tenure policy. Any comments on either policy should be forwarded to the committee.

ˇ UT System Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC):

ˇ The FAC received preliminary approval to allow faculty members who have already received tenure to reduce their time to as little as 49% without losing tenure. Currently if an appointment goes below 100%, the faculty member loses tenure. The new ruling is important for faculty who need to take maternity leave or who are near retirement and want to work at a reduced rate.

ˇ The FAC has requested the addition of language to the Handbook of Operating Procedures requiring all faculty merit rates be based on peer review.

ˇ UT System Regents have approved a cross-campus initiative that will allow faculty at one UT component to transfer, with full right, to another System component for a short period of time.

ˇ There was considerable discussion about computer content and employees putting inappropriate material on their computers. The University of Texas at Austin even has a new procedure that completely scrubs and rebuilds each computer's hard drive every night. To have every bit of stored information deleted each night is an amazing infringement on the ability of faculty to control their own computers.

ˇ UTSA continues to do well in several areas when compared to other System components. For example, workloads are being increased from four to five courses, merit increases have been reduced due to deans retaining money for contingency funds, and portable buildings are used extensively.

ˇ Texas law forbids tuition waivers for spouses or children of faculty members.

ˇ A recent insurance survey determined the University of Texas PPO system is the best value in the country for academic institutions. An eight percent increase in cost is expected for next year, but the nationwide average increase is expected to be twenty percent. Future decreases in benefits are expected to be made to retiree plans. The elimination of health insurance benefits for retirees within the next decade has even been predicted.


Secretary of the General Faculty - Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia


1.      Nominating, Elections, and Procedures Committee - Dr. Raydel Tullous

Dr. Tullous presented a proposal for revisions to Faculty Senate bylaws (copy attached to and made a part of these minutes). She said the report would be sent electronically to the Senators for review and presented for a vote at the April

meeting. Dr. Norman suggested eliminating "at least" in Article II.1.a. Dr. Tullous agreed to change the wording to delete "at least" and add "(excluding the Chair of the Faculty Senate and the Secretary of the General Faculty)" after the word "division" for clarification.


Academic Policy and Requirements Committee - Dr. Steven Boyd

Dr. Boyd presented a proposal, from the Undergraduate Issues Group, to revise UTSA's undergraduate repeat policy. Currently students who receive a grade of "D" or "F" in a particular course can repeat that course numerous times to improve that grade.  The proposed revision is as follows:

The Undergraduate Issues Group recommends that the University modify the policy on repeating courses so that it applies only to students who have earned fewer than 45 semester credit hours of college credit prior to the beginning of a semester when a course is repeated and only to lower division courses.

Dr. Michael Ryan noted that one of the goals in UTSA's compact is to increase graduation rates. However, for students with low grade point averages based on 130 or 140 hours it will be almost mathematically impossible to graduate unless they can actually replace grades of "F" with higher grades. He asked if the proposed policy wouldn't be counter productive as far as the goal of increasing graduation.

Dr. El-Kikhia asked how the group decided on the 45-hour limitation. Dr. Boyd responded the intent is to give freshmen an opportunity to adjust to college life. In addition, the policy revision is in response to new legislation that does not allow a university to receive state funding for courses repeated for a third or subsequent time. UTSA has decided to assess the student a surcharge for repeated courses that will not receive state funding. The Committee recommends approval of the proposal to modify the repeat policy. Dr. Raquel Marquez suggested the Senate request a list of students close to having sufficient hours to graduate with low grade point averages. Data such as this would help to determine what impact the policy would have on graduation rates.

Dr. Briscoe asked if the position of the committee that proposed the changes is that the new policy would reduce class size and help students graduate sooner? Dr. Boyd responded the current policy encourages students to delay graduation in order to improve their grade point average. Students doing poorly in a class will go ahead and take a "D" or "F" knowing that currently there are no negative consequences to repeat the course in an attempt for a higher grade. Beginning with the Fall 2004 semester there will be a negative financial impact due to the three-attempt surcharge.  Motion made and approved to refer the proposal back to the Academic Policy and Requirements Committee for clarification.

Dr. Boyd noted the Academic Policy and Requirements Committee had previously submitted a report recommending revisions to the Faculty Grievance Procedure. The report was tabled at the time but will be resubmitted to the Senate and presented for consideration at the April meeting.

IV. Graduate Council Consent Calendar

Recommend approval of a Substantive Program Proposal for a Ph.D. in Public Administration - APPROVED

5V. Unfinished Business


5VI. New Business

Dr. El-Kikhia recommended the Senate appoint a committee to evaluate its mission and values. In his opinion, the Senate is not currently fulfilling the expectations of the general faculty. Some have even suggested the Senate should be dismantled. Dr. Norman suggested the membership of the evaluation committee should include people outside of the Senate. Dr. Briscoe asked what kind of power does the senate actually have? Senate resolutions often are not implemented. In the past, the Senate Chair received a class release or monetary stipend but that is no longer the case. Dr. El-Kikhia agreed these are all issues the proposed acommittee should evaluate. The current membership structure should also be reviewed. Dr. El-Kikhia nominated Dr. Dan Engster to chair the committee and to make recommendations for committee members both within and outside of the Senate.

5VII. Questions to the Provost

Dr. Boyd stated faculty in his department are quite alarmed and distressed about the content of proposed revisions to the annual report form. The concerns include the huge block of space for funded research and the request for citations. History faculty do not have a device to count citations. Dr. Briscoe stated there is also extreme concern in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies for the same reasons. Dr. Welch responded she would share these concerns with the Provost. Dr. Berriozábal suggested the problem might be due to an attempt to develop a form to be used by all disciplines. Perhaps each department should propose its own form. Dr. Welch said the Provost is trying to fine-tune the report and perhaps he should meet with the Senate to listen to the concerns of the faculty.


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Last updated June 2, 2005