The seventh regular Meeting of the Faculty Senate for the academic year 2005-2006 was held April 13, 2006 at 3:30 p.m. in the Business Building 2.06.04 University Room with Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia, Chair, presiding.
I. Call to order and taking of attendance
Present: Diane Abdo, Mark Allen, Rosalie Ambrosino, Thad Bartlett, Manuel Berriozábal, Ron Binks, Rajendra Boppana, Lorenzo Brancaleon, Aaron Cassill, Stacey Davis, Mansour El-Kikhia, Daniel Engster, Kirsten Gardner, Timothy Goles, Eugene John, Craig Jordan, Paul LeBlanc, James McDonald, Jolyn Mikow, Elizabeth Pate, Debajyoti Paul, Diane Rahm, Robert Renthal, Earle Reybold, Mariela Rodriguez, Ron Rutherford, Rocky Shih, L.J. Shrum, Ted Skekel, Betty Travis, Raydel Tullous, Judith Walmsley, Karen Williams, Wan Yao.
Absent: Ron Ayers, Robert Bayley (excused), John Byrd, MaryEllen Garcia (excused), David Hansen, Lars Hansen (excused), Kim Keller, John McCray (excused), Patrick McDaniel, Cherylon Robinson (excused), Michael Ryan (excused), Jon Thompson (excused).
Total members present: 34
Total members absent: 12
Dr. El-Kikhia reported that Dr. Rosalie Ambrosino has been appointed as Provost for the University of Texas at San Antonio. He expressed his disappointment that very few faculty members made an appearance at the various Provost Search Committee forums held at the 1604 and Downtown UTSA campuses. He urged faculty members to become more involved in issues involving the UTSA community. Dr. El-Kikhia concluded that Faculty Senate members should receive recognition for their service, and he will be researching that.
Dr. McDonald thanked everyone who attended and participated in the Provost Search Committee forums. He also introduced Dr. Sandy Norman as the new Secretary of General Faculty, who will be serving the Faculty Senate and University Assembly from 2006-2008. Dr. McDonald concluded that he will be creating a final newsletter which will be available on the UTSA Governance website. He added that he would like to add any pieces of information that the Faculty Senate members have authored into the newsletter.
Dr. LeBlanc called for a suspension of the Faculty Senate bylaws since only one nomination for Chair of the Faculty Senate was received. The bylaws state that at least two nominations must be received in order to hold an election. Motion approved.
Dr. LeBlanc then called for nominations from the floor. Seeing none, he made a motion for Faculty Senators to vote for the nominee to accept a two-year term as Chair of the Faculty Senate. Motion approved. Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia will continue to serve as Chair of the Faculty Senate for the next two years.
Dr. Skekel informed Faculty Senators about the committee’s report which outlines probable changes to the current IDEA survey. He added that members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Evaluations are Drs. Rajendra Boppana, Paul LeBlanc, Earle Reybold, Raydel Tullous, and Ted Skekel. Mr. Doug Atkinson was invited to attend the initial meeting since he is responsible for managing the IDEA surveys. Dr. Skekel noted that the committee looked at the length of the current survey, appropriateness of questions for particular courses, number of respondents, use of scales, length of time it takes for the results of the survey to be returned to the department, and interpretation and use of those survey results. Dr. Skekel added that the committee will research these items as well as cost benefit issues of the current IDEA survey. The committee is currently researching ways in which a course survey can be completed on-line by students. Dr. Skekel concluded that he will report future findings and suggestions from the committee to the Faculty Senate.
Dr. Cassill distributed copies of a general policy regarding on-line education to Faculty Senators. He noted that members of the Ad Hoc Committee on On-line Education are Mr. Bill Angrove, Drs. Kirsten Gardner, Ron Ayers, Clyde Phelix, and Aaron Cassill. The purpose of the policy is to provide guidance regarding the proper steps that must be taken to offer online courses. He added that in order to ensure faculty are taking the proper steps to set up an online course, they must work with Mr. Angrove and the Distance Learning office in order to develop the content and online presentation. Dr. Cassill noted that training for online courses will be made available for faculty on WebCT. A motion was made to change the verbiage under the procedures section from ‘the faculty member or department chair must obtain approval in advance from the Center’ to ‘the faculty member or department chair must register with the Center’. Motion approved.
Dr. Gardner reported on the committee’s findings regarding the plus and minus grade scale change. Members of the ad hoc committee are Drs. Daniel Engster, Debajyoti Paul, Timothy Goles, Judith Walmsley, Elizabeth Pate, and Kirsten Gardner. Dr. Gardner noted that the report on plus and minus grading, which was distributed at the Faculty Senate meeting in March, illustrated that the majority of faculty polled were in favor of researching the plus and minus grade scale change. However, the committee felt that not all faculty received the poll, thus creating an insignificant mandate. Dr. Gardner suggested that a link to an online survey regarding the plus and minus grade scale change should be distributed to each faculty member in the UTSA community. If the majority of faculty agree that the plus and minus grade scale change should be researched, then a university-wide task force will be appointed. This task force will consist of faculty, staff, and students in order to explore changing UTSA’s current grade scale to a plus and minus grade scale. Dr. Raydel Tullous made a motion that the online survey should be conducted. Motion approved.
Recommend approval for Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing, and substantive approval for Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Theory and Practice Degree Program – Approved.
Dr. Jolyn Mikow noted that she had received many e-mails regarding technology issues. She asked Dr. El-Kikhia what the results of these e-mails were. Dr. El-Kikhia responded that the Master Planning Committee and the IT Oversight Committee distributed these e-mails asking faculty to report any technological problems that they were having. The committees are currently developing a policy to relieve these problems, and once the policy is complete, Dr. El-Kikhia will bring it forward to the Faculty Senate. Dr. Sandra Welch added that if any faculty member does not know who their representatives on these two committees are, they should contact her.
Dr. Manuel Berriozábal discussed the scholarships that HEB presented to UTSA graduate students. He expressed concern that not one Mexican American had received a scholarship. Dr. Rosalie Ambrosino said that she would look into the issue.
Dr. Ambrosino reported that the highest priority is to prepare the budget for next year. She added that this year’s budget will be based on projected enrollment of one percent with no projected increase in the summer. Dr. Ambrosino also noted that there are no new funds for faculty hires, but there is 1 million dollars in unallocated funding. She is hoping that funding will be available for faculty salaries. The budget for next year will include a three percent merit exercise for faculty and staff. There is also $500,000 allocated for new staff, which priority of those funds may be given to staff involved in research and infrastructure support.
Dr. Ambrosino also reported that she approved of the concept of travel funds to faculty, but those funds have not been included in the budget. She is expecting that extra funds will be allocated to faculty travel.
Dr. Ambrosino asked Faculty Senators to consider chairing each UTSA Standing Committee. She added that these committees are an ideal way for faculty to become involved in the UTSA community. Standing Committee reports should be presented to the Faculty Senate. Dr. Ted Skekel suggested housing these standing committees under the Faculty Senate bylaws. This issue will be discussed in future Faculty Senate meetings.
Dr. Ambrosino reported on the Graduation and Retention Rates Summit held in March, 2006. She said that over 300 individuals attended, and over half of those were faculty members. Various student focus groups met and discussed relationships with faculty in their majors, as well as a desired attendance policy for each class.
Dr. Ambrosino also reported to the Faculty Senate regarding the grade change in the English department that she had previously been asked to research. She said that during the grade appeal process, the faculty member could not be reached, so the chair of the department conducted the grade change. The dean of the department agreed that this process needs to be changed, and the Information Bulletin has been updated to reflect that every individual involved in a grade appeal process will be notified of the results.
A Faculty Senator asked Dr. Ambrosino if faculty shortfall funds were the same funds that were migrated from the library. Dr. Ambrosino responded that they was not, that one million had already been taken from the library, and that these funds have been shifted to fit the budget.
Dr. Rocky Shih asked if additional monies could be used to boost non-tenure track faculty funds. Dr. Ambrosino responded that if the position is vacant, those funds can be used for non-tenure track faculty. Dr. Ambrosino concluded that she will find out if non-tenure track faculty would be included in the three percent merit raise outlined in the budget.
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