The third regular meeting of the Faculty Senate for the academic year 2006-2007 was held November 9, 2006 at 3:30 p.m. in the Assembly Room (JPL 4.03.08) with Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia, Chair, presiding.
Present: Diane Abdo, Sos Agaian, Mark Allen, Rosalie Ambrosino, Thad Bartlett, Rena Bizios, Rajendra Boppana, John Byrd, Aaron Cassill, Mansour El-Kikhia, MaryEllen Garcia, Timothy Goles, Amy Jasperson, Craig Jordan, Paul LeBlanc, Melody Lo, John McCray, Patricia McGee, Sandy Norman, Elizabeth Pate, Debajyoti Paul, Dianne Rahm, Robert Renthal, Thomas Ricento, Cherylon Robinson, Nestor Sanchez, John Simonis, Ted Skekel, Jon Thompson, Raydel Tullous, Karen Williams, Wan Yao.
Absent: Ron Binks (excused), Lorenzo Brancaleon (excused), David Bruenger, Fengxin Chen, Juanita Firestone (excused), Kirsten Gardner (excused), Heather Hill (excused), Eduardo Jimenez, Jolyn Mikow (excused), Steve Murdock, Mariela Rodriguez (excused), Ron Rutherford (excused), Michael Ryan (excused), Rocky Shih (excused), L.J. Shrum, Judith Walmsley.
Total members present: 32
Total members absent: 16
Dr. El-Kikhia reported on the most recent System Faculty Advisory Committee meeting. The Board of Regents brought up the issue of training, and proposed that a leadership conference between departmental chairs, deans, and vice provosts be established to ensure that these individuals have proper training for their positions.
Dr. El-Kikhia added that Chancellor Mark Yudof may provide a memo that will link salary with tenure. Barry McBee, Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations, discussed the upcoming legislative session and a possible surplus. The Texas State Legislature had requested that UTSA cut its budget by ten percent for the next biennium.
Dr. El-Kikhia also discussed health plans for UTSA faculty. He noted that health plan costs will increase because the State of Texas has not been willing to finance a nine percent increase each year. He also added that UTSA’s health plans will no longer include HMO’s, but will instead remain as PPO. New retirement programs have also been implemented, and several new vendors have been set up since September, 2006.
Dr. El-Kikhia also noted that the Coordinating Board will not accept PhD programs as it had in the past, and will focus on implementing PhD programs in the Sciences and Physics. The Coordinating Board is now encouraging strong undergraduate and graduate programs in each discipline requiring a PhD.
In conclusion, Dr. El-Kikhia reported that the SYSFAC discussed the UT Service and Civic Participation. This program requires faculty to include community service as part of their employment in the UT System. Mr. John De La Garza, Director of Business Relations, will head up this program within the UT System. Ms. Jennifer Storm, Assistant Director of External Affairs, will be in charge of this program at UTSA.
Dr. El-Kikhia requested a motion to suspend the agenda so that Dr. Robert Renthal could discuss an incident that occurred in the College of Sciences.
Motion made, seconded, and approved.
Dr. Renthal reported that the participation of faculty in departmental chair evaluation and selection had been compromised. He noted that Dean George Perry had removed three departmental chairs without seeking CoS faculty input. The process of removal did not follow the Handbook of Operating Procedures guidelines. These guidelines require that a department chair be reviewed during his or her third year and that this review should be done in consideration for possible renewal of the chair’s term. Dr. Renthal requested that the Faculty Senate look into this issue and make recommendations to clarify departmental chair selection and removal procedures.
Recommend approval of the 2007-2009 Graduate Catalog – Approved
Mr. Kapalko and Ms. Wilcox gave a Power Point presentation regarding parking and traffic issues at UTSA (attached to and made a part of these minutes).
The following questions were raised by Faculty Senators regarding parking and traffic issues at UTSA:
Mr. Kapalko responded to the following questions by reiterating the following:
Mr. Porter, Vice President for Student Government, brought forth for discussion a resolution on the Student Bill of Rights approved by the Student Government Association. A motion was made to allow Faculty Senators to review the resolution, and discuss it at the next Faculty Senate meeting.
Motion made, seconded, and approved.
Dr. Ambrosino discussed the issue brought up earlier regarding the College of Sciences. She noted that she had discussed this situation with several faculty and had interviewed twenty-five faculty in the College of Sciences. She compiled faculty’s comments and presented their feedback to Dean George Perry. Dean Perry will consider the information and will meet with Dr. Ambrosino at a later date.
Dr. Ambrosino also discussed the Legislative hearing held with the Senate Finance Committee earlier in the week. She noted that there was extensive concern regarding the increase in tuition and fees across the state of Texas. She also mentioned that UTSA faculty may be asked to consider a type of promise plan. This plan proposes that students who have a certain income will qualify for free tuition and fees if those students graduate in four years with a particular GPA. Dr. Ambrosino discussed that this plan could cost UTSA millions of dollars, and the Tuition and Fees Committee will be asked to look into this issue.
Dr. Ambrosino noted that the Tuition and Fees Committee will also explore flat rate tuition as well as graduation and retention rates. The UT System is considering implementing an accountability system which would distribute funding to UTSA based on the type of students UTSA serves. In the past, this funding was contingent on graduation and retention rates at UTSA.
Dr. Ambrosino also noted that the top ten percent rule at UT Austin is a concern regarding access, and the UT System may attempt to eliminate that rule. She mentioned that the final exam schedule for Fall 2006 has changed to include some exams on Saturday and Thursday evening.
During the Faculty Senate meeting held October 12, 2006, Dr. MaryEllen Garcia brought up a concern regarding students adding courses after the official drop date. Dr. Ambrosino reported that she had discussed this issue with Dr. Lawrence Williams, and he determined that students may add classes only after the official drop date if they have obtained the instructor’s signature.
Dr. Steve Kellman brought up a concern regarding Congressman Henry Bonilla’s recent visit to UTSA before the election to distribute TRIO Program grants. Dr. Kellman was concerned about UTSA remaining a neutral ground for political parties. A concern was also brought forth regarding Vice President Richard B. Cheney’s visit to UTSA as well. A motion was made that a letter of resolution should be sent to President Romo to encourage UTSA to remain politically neutral.
Motion made, seconded, and approved.
Dr. El-Kikhia noted that he will ask the Committee on Operating Procedures to review the Handbook of Operating Procedures and revise policies and procedures pertaining to departmental chair appointment.
A Faculty Senator asked Dr. El-Kikhia why the due date for the application of Faculty Research Grants was postponed. Dr. El-Kikhia responded that he will ask Dr. Robert Gracy and report back on this matter.