The first regular meeting of the Faculty Senate for the academic year 2006-2007 was held September 14, 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, Sos Agaian, Mark Allen, Rosalie Ambrosino, Thad Bartlett, Ron Binks, Rajendra Boppana, Lorenzo Brancaleon, John Byrd, Aaron Cassill, Mansour El-Kikhia, Juanita Firestone, MaryEllen Garcia, Kirsten Gardner, Timothy Goles, Heather Hill, Amy Jasperson, Eduardo Jimenez, Paul LeBlanc, Melody Lo, John McCray, Jolyn Mikow, Sandy Norman, Elizabeth Pate, Debajyoti Paul, Dianne Rahm, Robert Renthal, Thomas Ricento, Cherylon Robinson, Mariela Rodriguez, Ron Rutherford, Michael Ryan, Rocky Shih, Ted Skekel, Raydel Tullous, Karen Williams, Wan Yao.
Absent: Rena Bizios (excused), David Bruenger (excused), Fengxin Chen, Craig Jordan, Randall Manteufel, L.J. Shrum, John Simonis, Jon Thompson, Judith Walmsley (excused).
Total members present: 37
Total members absent: 9
Dr. El-Kikhia welcomed new and returning members of the Faculty Senate, and asked everyone to participate. He also reminded everyone that the Faculty Senate must be involved in the functioning of the University of Texas at San Antonio. Dr. El-Kikhia concluded by welcoming Faculty Senators’ opinions and ideas on what the Faculty Senate can accomplish this year.
Dr. Norman notified Faculty Senators that the System Faculty Advisory Committee will meet in October, and that he will give a SYSFAC report at the next Faculty Senate meeting. He also noted that a number of issues, such as Periodic Performance Evaluation and the erosion of Faculty Governance, will need to be discussed during future Faculty Senate meetings.
POST ELECTION RESULTS (* indicates new members elected at the September 14, 2006 Faculty Senate meeting).
|Officers and Executive Committee|
|*Rocky Shih||Vice Chair and representative from College of Engineering|
|Aaron Cassill||Past Chair|
|*Sandy Norman||Secretary of the General Faculty|
|Karen Williams||College of Business|
|*Elizabeth Pate||College of Education and Human Development|
|*Ron Binks||College of Liberal and Fine Arts|
|*Jolyn Mikow||College of Public Policy|
|*Robert Renthal||College of Sciences|
|*Jon Thompson||School of Architecture|
|Ted Skekel||Chair Graduate Council|
|Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee|
|*Michael V. MillerCoLFA|
|Alan R. Shoho||CoEHD|
|Academic Policy and Requirements Committee|
|*Diane Abdo||Freshman Initiative|
|Evaluations, Merit, Rewards, and Workload Committee|
|John Pete Blair||CoPP|
|Nominating, Elections, and Procedures Committee|
|University Curriculum Committee|
|Warner F. Fassnidge||CoB|
|James D. Calder||CoLFA|
|Jerrell D. Coggburn||CoPP|
Dr. Cassill discussed a policy recommendation regarding Section 2.10.K of the Handbook of Operating Procedures. This section outlines a process by which reviews can be undertaken for untenured, tenure-track faculty in years one and two of their probationary period of employment. Dr. Cassill suggested a few revisions of the policy, which included the Department Faculty Review Advisory Committee as a standard part of the Early Review Process. A concern was brought forth regarding the language in revision number four. A motion was made to delete the word “in” so that the sentence will read, “The review process will begin with the DFRAC, which will convene a subcommittee to review the faculty member’s performance and generate a report to the Department Chair.”
Motion to approve policy revision with correction made, seconded and approved.
Dr. Gardner reported that the Ad Hoc Committee on Student Grading had been investigating the creation of a plus and minus grading system at UTSA. She noted that the committee first distributed an informal survey to faculty, then created an on-line survey in which faculty could also record their opinions of instituting a plus and minus grading system. Results of both surveys showed that fifty-three percent of faculty were in favor of instituting a plus and minus grading system at UTSA, and forty-seven percent were opposed to instituting the new system. The committee felt that continued research into the plus and minus grading system would not be beneficial at this time, give the split results of the surveys. Dr. Gardner concluded that the Ad Hoc Committee on Student Grading had completed their charge, thus relieving the committee of continued duty.
Motion to approve report made, seconded, and approved.
Dr. Skekel reported that the committee met throughout the summer, and discussed the current IDEA survey. He said that issues with the current survey were based on Faculty Senators’, students’, faculty, and administrators’ concerns. Dr. Skekel added that the committee has split its research of a new survey instrument into two parts. The first part would focus on changing the current instrument and developing a new instrument that can be administered, scored, and reported in-house. The second focus of the committee would be to re-examine policies and procedures related to the ways in which faculty are evaluated by the IDEA survey. Dr. Skekel requested a motion to amend the current charge of the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Evaluations. Dr. Skekel also requested a motion to approve the addition of two new faculty members into the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Evaluations. These new members are Dr. Michael Baumann from the Department of Psychology, and Dr. Paul Shutz from the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, Adult and Higher Education.
All motions made, seconded, and approved.
Dr. Allen reminded Faculty Senators that two terminations had taken place within the College of Sciences in the spring of 2006. The Ad Hoc Committee had developed a report outlining that during the termination process, there was no official input from Department or College level Faculty Review Committees. Both faculty members’ second year annual reviews were not used as an opportunity to inform them of what improvements or accomplishments would be expected to overcome their unsatisfactory reviews. The Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Termination met with the two faculty members in question, received offers of support from students, and met with Dr. Patrick Nash, and with Dr. George Perry, Dean of the College of Sciences. Drs. Nash and Perry indicated that there was informal input from faculty and that they understood from the Provost’s office that there was no need for the involvement of DFRAC or CFRAC in the terminal appointment of faculty who are in a second year at UTSA. However, the Handbook of Operating Procedures 2.10.E indicates that the DFRAC and CFRAC should be involved in the termination process. A motion was made to table the report, and the committee’s investigation of this matter until both faculty members in question had been contacted to determine if they had taken employment elsewhere.
Dr. Robinson reported that the purpose of the committee was to assess the current state of Periodic Performance Evaluations at UTSA. She had met with Dr. David Johnson, and he determined that the committee should incorporate guidelines into the Periodic Performance Evaluation regarding remedial efforts for faculty members who received a report of deficiency. He added that the Ad Hoc Committee on Periodic Performance Evaluation should review the 2001 Merit Review Policy and identify possibilities for individual and departmental choices. Dr. Robinson concluded that the committee will review historical materials on the original recommendations from SYSFAC regarding remediation and focus on strengthening the grievance process.
Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia mentioned that the committee may review these PPE policies and determine their weaknesses. However, the Ad Hoc Committee on Periodic Performance Evaluation should not make changes to these policies.
Dr. Ambrosino reported on the UTSA strategic planning process, graduation rates and undergraduate curriculum, faculty hiring, and the Faculty Fellows Program. She reminded Faculty Senators that if they are not part of the nine committees set up to focus on the UTSA strategic planning process, they should visit the Institute Planning page on the UTSA Today website. Part of the strategic planning process will be to focus on building a sense of community and identity across Academic Affairs, as well as to educate the university community about academic needs.
Dr. Ambrosino also discussed graduation rates and undergraduate curriculum. Dr. Patricia Glenn, Executive Director of the Tomás Rivera Center, will lead UTSA in initiatives to increase graduation rates and student success.
Dr. Ambrosino reported on the issue of faculty hiring at UTSA and college budget increases. Every college at UTSA increased from Fiscal Year 2002-2003 to Fiscal Year 2006-2007. The College of Public Policy received the largest increase at 81.69%, and the College of Liberal and Fine Arts received the smallest increase at 13.08% throughout Fiscal Years 2002-2003 and 2006-2007. Dr. Ambrosino added that the Provost’s Office considered compacts submitted by each college and compiled information based on faculty teaching ratio, number of students enrolled in each college, current tenure/tenure-track faculty, and the needs of each college. From this data, the Provost’s Office allocated funds based on that information available for each college. Dr. Ambrosino also reported that 75 faculty were hired last year, and 35 faculty were hired this year. The funds for this year’s faculty hires came from vacant positions and funds shifted from the library. She added that the Provost’s Office is working with the library to increase its funds. An increase in faculty diversity at UTSA is also an important focus. Dr. Ambrosino added that she met with the deans of each college, discussed their needs, and allocated funds in block grants to them.
Lastly, Dr. Ambrosino discussed the Faculty Fellows Program with Faculty Senators. The Faculty Fellows Program was designed for faculty interested in developing leadership skills, faculty who possess a passion for teaching effectiveness, and faculty interested in tenure and promotion policies, as well as in student success across campus. The deadline to apply for the program is September 30, 2006, and the length of service will be for three years.
Faculty Senators raised a couple of questions regarding the Faculty Fellows Program:
Dr. Ambrosino responded that the goal is to hire two or three fellow, and allow them to have a rotating schedule. She also added that the Faculty Fellow applicants must be tenured.
Dr. Patricia Glenn, Executive Director of the Tomás Rivera Center, and Ms. Melissa Thomas, Program Coordinator for the Tomás Rivera Center, reported that the Tomás Rivera Center now offers many workshops for graduate students. These workshops include Graduate Learner Series, Online Workshops, and Mix and Mingle Events. Ms. Thomas added that most of these workshops will be available online. She also asked Faculty Senators to send their workshop suggestions to her.
Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia invited Faculty Senators to volunteer to serve on an ad hoc committee, which will research the development of a Faculty Club, and he asked for faculty input regarding the club.