The second regular meeting of the Faculty Senate for the academic year 2006-2007 was held October 12, 2006 at 3:30 p.m. in the Business Building University Room (BB 2.06.04) with Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia, Chair, presiding.
Present: Diane Abdo, Mark Allen, Rosalie Ambrosino, Thad Bartlett, Ron Binks, Rajendra Boppana, Lorenzo Brancaleon, David Bruenger, John Byrd, Aaron Cassill, Juanita Firestone, MaryEllen Garcia, Kirsten Gardner, Heather Hill, Amy Jasperson, Eduardo Jimenez, Craig Jordan, Paul LeBlanc, Melody Lo, Jolyn Mikow, Elizabeth Pate, Debajyoti Paul, Dianne Rahm, Robert Renthal, Cherylon Robinson, Mariela Rodriguez, Ron Rutherford, Michael Ryan, Rocky Shih, John Simonis, Ted Skekel, Jon Thompson, Raydel Tullous, Judith Walmsley, Karen Williams, Wan Yao.
Absent: Sos Agaian, Rena Bizios (excused), Fengxin Chen, Mansour El-Kikhia (excused), Timothy Goles (excused) John McCray (excused), Patricia McGee (excused), Randall Manteufel, Steve Murdock, Sandy Norman (excused), Thomas Ricento (excused), L.J. Shrum.
Total members present: 36
Total members absent: 12
Dr. Aaron Cassill chaired the Faculty Senate session in Dr. El-Kikhia’s absence. Dr. Cassill announced that Dr. El-Kikhia forwarded the name of Dr. Melvin Laracey to serve as Ombudsman. Dr. Laracey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Geography. Dr. Cassill also asked for a formal vote from the Senators to continue the Ad Hoc Committees on Faculty Evaluations, Faculty Termination, and Periodic Performance Evaluations until these committees have completed their charges.
Motion made, seconded, and approved.
Dr. Raydel Tullous asked Faculty Senators to review packets containing University Standing and Faculty Senate Standing Committee information. She asked that Senators consider if these committee charges should be revised, combined, and if they should report directly to the Faculty Senate.
Dr. Allen brought forth for discussion the second report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Termination. The committee’s first report was tabled during the September 14, 2006 Faculty Senate meeting until subsequent information was gathered. Dr. Allen discussed that the two faculty members whose employment had been terminated expressed that they did not want their cases reconsidered. In light of this, the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Termination withdrew its motion that the Faculty Senate recommend reconsideration of their cases. Dr. Allen recommended Faculty Senate approval for three motions in his report. The first motion was the Faculty Senate resolves that the University takes immediate steps to ensure that faculty members cannot be terminated for academic reasons without benefit of faculty review. This resolution reiterates the recommendation of the Ad Hoc Committee on Early Review that the appropriate sections of the Handbook of Operating Procedures be revised to mandate faculty involvement in early reviews.
The second motion was that the Faculty Senate keeps on record as public documents the reports of the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Termination. A Faculty Senator noted that the word ‘archival’ should be inserted as an amendment so as to protect faculty privacy. The amended motion is that the “Faculty Senate keeps a record as archival documents and reports of the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Termination”.
The third motion involved issuing apologies to the faculty members who were terminated on behalf of the faculty of the University. The second paragraph of the apology letter was amended to read: “Furthermore, we wish to express our regrets to you on behalf of the faculty of the University for your termination without benefit of faculty review, and convey to you our appreciation of your contributions and achievements during your time at UTSA.
Motion to approve all motions and amendments made, seconded and approved.
Dr. Renthal informed Faculty Senators that colleges around the University are developing and will be implementing new workload policies. He noted that the Evaluations, Merit, Rewards, and Workload Committee will collect information regarding implications of these new workload policies, and how various colleges are dealing with these new policies. Dr. Renthal concluded that he will provide Senators with a report and recommendations in future Faculty Senate meetings.
Dr. Ambrosino offered congratulations to the UTSA College of Business who were just named by the Princeton Review as one of the top ten business programs for minority students in the United States. She also discussed strategic planning efforts for UTSA, and informed Senators that a committee has been charged with developing a value statement, and to re-structure the mission and vision statements. She also noted that Dr. Mauli Agrawal is chairing a committee that is charged with exploring the infrastructure at UTSA. This committee will research the number and type of students and faculty that UTSA plans to house up to the year 2016. Dr. Ambrosino discussed that the UT System recently released its strategic plan, and their plan is similar to the plan being developed at UTSA.
Dr. Ambrosino also discussed a few priorities at UTSA. One of the most critical areas is the development of a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math building. This building will provide needed space and labs for students and faculty at UTSA. She also noted that the graduation and retention rates are still a concern and priority. These rates have increased slightly since last year.
Dr. Ambrosino informed Senators that the summer schedule may change from ten sessions per summer to four sessions per summer. These sessions will include a mini-mester, a ten week session, and two five and a half week sessions. The purpose for this change is to relieve pressure on the Financial Aid Office and administrators. The four summer sessions will provide students with forty-five contact hours and will meet Coordinating Board standards.
Dr. Ambrosino noted that she has received ten applications for the Faculty Fellowship Program. She also suggested that the Evaluation, Merit, Rewards and Workload Committee work with Dr. Robert Gracy to determine that UTSA is in compliance with faculty workload.
In conclusion, Dr. Ambrosino reminded Senators that the President’s Dinner will be held on Tuesday, October 17, 2006. Dr. Romo will be honoring Mr. and Mrs. Carlos Alvarez who donated two million dollars to UTSA to fund study abroad projects, the Ace Scholars program, research support for students, and scholarships for students who would not normally qualify for financial aid. The following are questions from Faculty Senators to Dr. Ambrosino:
Dr. Ambrosino responded to each question as follows:
Dr. MaryEllen Garcia asked Dr. Ambrosino why students were allowed to add courses beyond the scheduled registration date. Dr. Ambrosino said that Dr. Larry Williams may be able to provide more information as to why the student is adding a course late. She noted that the student may have been dropped due to financial aid or administration issues. Dr. Ambrosino concluded that she will look into the issue of students ‘course and faculty shopping’ and what academic advisors can do to discourage that process.