The second regular Meeting of the Faculty Senate for the academic year 2005-2006 was held October 13, 2005 at 3:30 p.m. in the Business Building University Room (BB 2.06.04) with Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia, Chair, presiding.

  1. Call to order and taking of attendance
  2. Present: Diane Abdo, Rosalie Ambrosino, Ronald Bagley, Thad Bartlett, Robert Bayley, Manuel Berriozábal, Ron Binks, Mark Blizard, John Byrd, Aaron Cassill, Stacey Davis, Mansour El-Kikhia, Kirsten Gardner, Eugene John, Paul LeBlanc, John McCray, Patrick McDaniel, James McDonald, Jolyn Mikow, Elizabeth Pate, Debajyoti Paul, Dianne Rahm, Robert Renthal, Cherylon Robinson, Mariela Rodriguez, Ron Rutherford, Michael Ryan, Rocky Shih, L.J. Shrum, Ted Skekel, Betty Travis, Raydel Tullous, Judith A. Walmsley, Karen Williams, Wan Yao

    Absent: Mark Allen (excused), Ron Ayers, Rajendra Boppana (excused), Lorenzo Branceleon (excused), Daniel Engster, MaryEllen Garcia, Timothy Goles (excused), David Hansen (excused), Lars Hansen (excused), Craig Jordan (excused), Kim Keller, Earle Reybold

    Total members present: 35 Total members absent: 12

  3. Reports
    1. Senate Chair Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia
    2. Dr. El-Kikhia proposed a resolution regarding the suspension of the Faculty Senate at Texas A&M University. He said that The University of Texas at San Antonio rejects the forceful measures by which the President of Texas A&M University silenced the voice of the faculty. Dr. El-Kikhia added that President Romo alleged that the President of Texas A&M University no longer had the legitimacy of his faculty. The members of the Faculty Senate decided to delay the development of this resolution until additional information can be gleaned regarding the suspension of the Faculty Senate at Texas A&M University. Dr. El-Kikhia also added that he received a letter from Chancellor Mark G. Yudof regarding a written search policy. The letter stated that in regard to Resolution 2 requesting that each member institution have a written search policy for filling academic or health-related upper-level administrative positions, Chancellor Yudof agreed in principle as well. The policy should be developed jointly by the faculty governance body and the administration. The search policy should describe the size, composition, and process by which members are nominated and appointed to such committees. After consultation with Mr. Art Martinez, Assistant Secretary to the Board of Regents, it was determined that Regents' Rules and Regulations , Series No. 20102, Section 3, could be amended to affect this change. Dr. El-Kikhia also added that Dr. Geri H. Malandra has asked Faculty Senate members to consider the top two or three key issues or priorities that the UT System will encounter over the next five to ten years. Dr. El-Kikhia asked every Faculty Senator to send these responses back to him by October 31, 2005.

    3. Secretary of the General Faculty Dr. James McDonald

      Dr. McDonald discussed his attendance at the System Faculty Advisory Council meeting in Austin. He said that Dr. James Bartlett provided a summary of the latest Board of Regents meeting where a key concern was with the System's capital improvement plan. The legislature's focus has been on the health campuses, which in many ways reversed the current critical shortage of space on rapidly expanding academic campuses, such as the University of Texas at San Antonio. He added that the Student Advisory Council has been promoting a student honor code, which the Regents support in principle. Another issue that was discussed at the System Faculty Advisory Council meeting included bridge funding for NIH grant proposals that received high scores but are still unfunded. The System Faculty Advisory Council supported the idea, but does not have the funds for such a project. They also encouraged campuses to create their own funding strategies. Dr. Shine, the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, has started a nursing initiative which will make funds available for the construction of facilities. Dr. McDonald added that UTSA should be on the look out for a public health initiative. Ashley Smith, Vice Chancellor of Governmental Relations and Policy noted that the legislature was not struggling with a $10 billion dollar shortfall, as the Appropriations Bill provided an 8.14 percent increase to health institutions and a 1.4 percent increase to academic institutions. Dr. McDonald also discussed the items that did not pass at the System Faculty Advisory Council meeting, such as the revocation of tuition deregulation and tuition revenue bonds. Dr. McDonald added that Terri Sullivan, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, provided an overview of a recent UT System Workshop on graduation rates. She noted that all campuses are developing a plan to address improving graduation rates. She also noted that many in the legislature believe that this is an institutional problem: too many prerequisites and complicated programs of study. Finally, Ms. Sullivan said that a workshop on faculty mentoring is on tap. Dr. McDonald noted that he has the honor of chairing the Provost Search Forum. He said that their first meeting is October 21, 2005, and he added that he would like to conduct a series of forums with different constituencies on campus. He said that they will be setting up a forum for the faculty at UTSA on October 21, 2005, and will be sending an email out to faculty members that provides when and where the forum will meet. Dr. McDonald concluded that there will be a separate forum held for students as well, and that he will report back to the Faculty Senate on progress made.

    4. Committees
    5. Academic Policy and Requirements Committee Dr. Robert Renthal

      Dr. Renthal presented a policy for Undergraduate Certificate Programs, and he requested approval to change the Test of English as a Foreign Language requirement from 133 to 97 in order to receive conditional admission to The University of Texas at San Antonio. A motion was made to discuss the Undergraduate Certificate Program. Dr. Larry Williams attended the Faculty Senate meeting in order to answer questions regarding this policy. The following questions were raised regarding Undergraduate Certification Programs:

      Dr. Larry Williams responded to each question by explaining that: 1) the Undergraduate Certificate Program would not be a degree, and the hours would be noted on the transcript; 2) graduation rates at UTSA would not be impacted if the students enrolled in this program were non-degree seeking; 3) the Undergraduate Certificate Program would not create conflict with other community colleges since many other state universities are offering the same program; and 4) the purpose of this program is to offer students who already have degrees to come back to UTSA and learn a new skill. Students who are degree-seeking would have the opportunity to receive a certificate in a subject of interest as well as a degree.

      Motion seconded and approved

      Dr. Renthal also brought up a request to change the Test of English as a Foreign Language requirement from 133 to 97 in order to receive conditional admission to UTSA. This request came from the English as a Second Language Office at UTSA. Dr. Robert Bayley added that this request will not change admission requirements to UTSA, but will change conditional admission requirements into the ESL program. He said that this occasion was in part of our government's requirements to grant visas, as they are quite reluctant to give visas to students unless the students have some type of conditional admission. Changing these TOEFL scores will simply allow more international students to enroll in the ESL program. A motion was made to discuss changing the TOEFL score. The following questions were raised regarding this change:

      Dr. Renthal responded to these questions by reiterating that in changing these TOEFL scores: 1) the ESL program will test often, and in order for students to gain conditional admission to UTSA, they must earn a score of 32 in taking the TOEFL internet exam, a 97 in taking the TOEFL computer exam, and a 400 in taking the TOEFL paper exam; 2) students who are coming into the ESL program understand that they have conditional, not regular, admission; 3) the ESL program is 18 hours a week; 4) forty to fifty students will enter this ESL program per year; and 5) this change in the TOEFL scores will not set students up for failure, as they should be able to meet conditional admission within a semester and perhaps a summer session.

      Dr. Renthal continued that these exact scores are being used around the state in universities such as The University of North Texas.

      Motion to approve all policies as presented made, seconded, and approved.

      The Undergraduate Certificate Program proposal and the request to change the TOEFL score from 133 to 97 were presented to President Ricardo Romo and Dr. Guy Bailey for approval on October 17, 2005. Both President Romo and Dr. Bailey approved of these changes on October 19, 2005.

      Graduate Consent Calendar

      Recommend approval for nonsubstantive approval for Master of Education (M. Ed.) in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Approved

      President Ricardo Romo and Dr. Guy Bailey also approved the Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies on October 19, 2005.

      Provost's Report Dr. Rosalie Ambrosino

      Dr. Ambrosino discussed UTSA's budget, faculty hiring, the Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering Building, the Dean's search in the College of Sciences, graduation rates and ceremonies at UTSA, and the President's Dinner. Main points about these items are as follows:

      The UT System has requested that UTSA prepare its budget by asking for any increases and fees for the next two years. Dr. Ambrosino added that developing a two-year budget is positive because it will give students the understanding of what they will be required to pay UTSA in terms of tuition and fees for the next two years. Faculty Senators were reminded that UTSA must have its tuition and fees charted out and sent to UT System before December 1, 2005. All colleges have been asked to consider any incidental fees, lab fees, and emergency source fees so that they may be placed in the two-year cycle plan.

      Dr. Ambrosino reported that she is looking at what funding is currently available for faculty in the coming years, and how UTSA may receive additional funds for hiring new faculty.

      Finishing the Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering Building is top priority. Part of the building was unfinished due to cost, but the entire BSE building is scheduled for completion on December 1, 2005.

      The Dean's search in the College of Sciences is almost complete as there are three finalists. The new Dean of the College of Sciences should be announced within a week or two.

      UTSA graduation rates are increasing, and graduation ceremonies have been changed for the Fall 2005 semester. There will be two College of Business graduation ceremonies organized instead of one, and UTSA will add two additional graduation ceremonies on Sunday at the end of the Spring 2006 semester.

      In conclusion, Dr. Ambrosino reported on the President's Dinner and said that 1.9 million dollars in fundraising had been completed. This money will be allocated to UTSA's colleges for scholarships. The Terry Foundation, which is the largest private source of scholarships for the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University College Station, will also provide similar financial support for students attending UTSA beginning in the Fall of 2006. Approximately eight freshmen will be selected as the first UTSA Terry Scholars.

      Open Forum

      Dr. Paul LeBlanc discussed grade inflation and the teaching assessment. He asked the Faculty Senate for recommendations or advice regarding how to go forward with any type of grade profile that may go into the Merit Policy for the Communications Department. Dr. LeBlanc also added that he discovered that there is not a consistent way that the fifty percent qualitative portion in the teaching evaluations is assessed university wide. He asked if there was a specific protocol for that. Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia asked for the Evaluations, Merit, Rewards, and Workload Committee to look into the grade inflation issue, and report their findings to the Faculty Senate.

      Dr. Robert Bayley said that he was told that each college should develop their own workload policy. He added that the current workload policy is not reflective in the Handbook of Operating Procedures . Dr. Rosalie Ambrosino said that issue was a concern, and she will talk to Dr. Guy Bailey regarding the workload policy, and discuss either developing a workload, time and effort policy that is applicable to everyone at UTSA, or create general guidelines in the Handbook of Operating Procedures for each college to follow.

      Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia discussed the issue of placing faculty on administrative leave. He said that he would like to create a university-wide policy regarding administrative leave. Dr. Manuel Berriozábal agreed with Dr. El-Kikhia. He said that being placed on administrative leave was a very humiliating, undignified and abusive experience. He added that he hopes the Faculty Senate will create a new policy on administrative leave, and condemn the current practice. Dr. Berriozábal concluded that he hopes his colleagues will not have to suffer as he had. Dr. El-Kikhia asked the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee to create an administrative leave policy, and discuss that policy with the Faculty Senate.

      Dr. Betty Travis was asked by a concerned faculty member to bring up the issue of the Provost Search Committee to the Faculty Senate. Her colleague was concerned that there seemed to be a lack of regular faculty members on the Provost Search Committee. Dr. Travis also brought up a concern regarding faculty voting practices. She said that she received a memo from Dr. David Johnson stating that faculty members could not vote on more than one level for promotion purposes. Her concern was that some faculty members may not realize that they have been appointed to vote at the university level, and may vote at the college level instead. Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia asked the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee to look into these voting practices and report their findings to the Faculty Senate.

      Dr. Rocky Shih brought up a concern regarding opportunity hiring in the College of Engineering. Dr. Rosalie Ambrosino added that only the President and the Provost of UTSA may hire new faculty, but that more of these issues seem to be occurring lately. Dr. Ambrosino said that a policy regarding opportunity hiring should be drafted. Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia has asked the Evaluation, Merit, Rewards, and Workload Committee to draft a policy on opportunity hiring, and discuss this policy with the Faculty Senate.

  4. Unfinished Business
  5. New Business
  6. Adjournment

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Last updated November 23, 2005