The fifth regular Meeting of the Faculty Senate for the academic year 2005-2006 was held February 9, 2006 at 3:30 p.m. in the Business Building 2.06.04 University Room with Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia, Chair, presiding.
Present: Diane Abdo, Mark Allen, Rosalie Ambrosino, Ron Ayers, Thad Bartlett, Robert Bayley, Manuel Berriozábal, Rajendra Boppana, Lorenzo Brancaleon, Aaron Cassill, Stacey Davis, Mansour El-Kikhia, Daniel Engster, MaryEllen Garcia, Kirsten Gardner, Timothy Goles, Eugene John, Paul LeBlanc, John McCray, James McDonald, Elizabeth Pate, Debajyoti Paul, Robert Renthal, Earle Reybold, Cherylon Robinson, Mariela Rodriguez, Ron Rutherford, Rocky Shih, Ted Skekel, Betty Travis, Raydel Tullous, Judith Walmsley, Karen Williams, Wan Yao.
Absent: Ron Binks (excused), John Byrd, David Hansen (excused), Lars Hansen (excused), Craig Jordan, Kim Keller, Jolyn Mikow (excused), Diane Rahm (excused), Michael Ryan (excused), L.J. Shrum (excused).
Total members present: 34
Total members absent: 10
Dr. El-Kikhia reported that he is serving on the Information Technology Oversight Committee, and asked Faculty Senators to e-mail him questions or concerns regarding Information Technology. He added that he would like faculty members to e-mail issues, concerns, visions, and what he or she would like to see happen at UTSA in the next five years. Dr. El-Kikhia will send these messages to Dr. Rosalie Ambrosino and Dr. Sandra Welch.
Dr. El-Kikhia is also a member of the Task Force on Student Success and Graduation Rates, chaired by Dr. Larry Williams. The task force will be providing questionnaires regarding teaching and faculty mentoring, which will be available for faculty use.
In addition, Dr. El-Kikhia reported that the new Vice President for Research is Dr. Robert Gracy. Dr. Gracy will be invited to share his vision with Faculty Senators at the next Faculty Senate meeting.
Dr. El-Kikhia concluded that he attended the Executive Leadership Council, and that various topics were discussed including federal funding, tuition and fees, and the possible development of a football team at UTSA.
Dr. McDonald reported on the Provost Search. He reminded Faculty Senators that the Provost Search Committee began the search with a series of open forums, finalized the job description, made all subsequent information available on http://www.utsa.edu/provostsearch, and began collecting applications. Dr. McDonald added that the Provost Search Committee is analyzing over eighty applications, and that they will be holding off-sight interviews for select candidates in a few weeks. He concluded that the committee is charged with providing three finalists to Dr. Ricardo Romo.
Dr. El-Kikhia brought forward the Grade Change Petition that had been discussed during the December 8, 2005 Faculty Senate meeting. The purpose of changing the four standard letter grades into plus and minus grades is to provide faculty members and students greater flexibility. He added that faculty members who do not wish to utilize the plus and minus grade scale may use the standard four-grade format. Dr. El-Kikhia said that he would send out a copy of the Registrar’s classifications of the plus and minus grade scale. A motion was made for Faculty Senators to poll their fellow faculty members to find out if he or she would have an interest in investigating a change of grade from standard letter grades to a plus and minus format.
Motion seconded and approved.
Dr. Paul LeBlanc reported that the Department of Communication is still in the process of resolving the issue of grade profiling. He added that faculty members in the Department of Communication are trying to match the annual review to the tenure requirements as closely as possible, and that he would like to compare language of other departments’ merit reviews. Dr. Leblanc noted that the Department of Communication’s merit review should reflect language in the Handbook of Operating Procedures. Dr. MaryEllen Garcia said that the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee will explore the issue of grade profiling, will receive input from the general faculty, and will report their findings to the Faculty Senate in future meetings.
Dr. Berriozábal presented approval for BAAS Programs change, approval for non-substantive program request for Bachelor’s of Art in Honors Studies, approval for Learning Community Course change, approval for amended course in Political Science 1213, and approval for amended course description in MTC 1073 and MAT 1093. A motion was made to approve the BAAS Programs change.
Dr. Richard Diem was present to answer questions regarding the Bachelor’s of Art in Honors Studies proposal. He said that there are three parts to the program. First students would enroll in UTSA core classes, then enroll in honors core classes, and take several sets of seminar courses. Then they would be able to design their own major with 15 upper division courses and nine electives. This program would allow students to pursue pre-professional preparation for degrees in law, medicine, or teaching. A motion was made to approve the Bachelor’s of Art in Honors Studies.
A motion was made to approve the Learning Community course change.
In regard to the amended course in Political Science 1213, a motion was made to delete the word ‘democratic’ from the sentence ‘an examination of Texas and American political systems in comparison of other democratic systems’. A motion was made to approve the amended course in Political Science 1213 with the verbiage change.
Dr. Betty Travis was present to answer questions regarding changes in MTC 1073 and MAT 1093 courses. She said that the changes in verbiage to MTC 1073 will provide greater flexibility to the instructors, and in order to prepare students for pre-calculus courses, they should enroll in MTC 1073, Algebra for Scientists and Engineers. A motion was made to approve changes in MTC 1073 and MAT 1093.
Motion to approve all programs as made, seconded, and approved.
Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia brought up the issue of paid travel for faculty members for discussion. He said that in order for UTSA to be a Tier One institution, conferences and research are needed. Funds for these items have been diminished in every department. The issue of paid travel and funding for research will be explored further by members of the Faculty Senate.
Dr. El-Kikhia also brought up an issue regarding the UTSA Library. Dr. David Johnson and the University Library Committee passed a memo stating that faculty were allowed to borrow only a certain number of books, and that these books must be returned by a designated time. Fines may occur if such books are not returned in the time designated in the memo. The purpose of this memo was to act as an enforcement policy for the library to prevent books from being lost or never being returned.
Dr. Ambrosino discussed the strategic planning process for UTSA. She said that UTSA does not have a clear systematic budgeting process, and that UTSA has many infrastructure needs. In order to set up a systematic budgeting process in terms of priorities, Dr. Ambrosino asked the Chairs and Deans of each department to prioritize critical budgeting issues that will disrupt UTSA if they don’t take place quickly, issues that will create an inability to achieve goals if they are unfunded, and items across the university that are needed, but not immediately. She asked Faculty Senators to work with their departments to make these prioritizations. Dr. Ambrosino explained that the next step towards a strategic plan is to put together compacts for each college. Last year, these compacts reviewed the visions of UTSA, colleges and departments. They also determined the priorities of needs for faculty and retention. The UT System requires a university-wide compact, and that compact revision is due in May. Dr. Ambrosino said that each department needs to plan which courses will be offered in the future, the departments’ areas of excellence in terms of teaching, research, and students, and what these departments need in order to reach the next level. She also discussed allowing extra funds to be available for faculty so that they may travel to conferences and submit research. Dr. Ambrosino also reported that a retreat is planned towards the end of the Spring 2006 semester, and will include Vice Presidents of the university, deans of colleges, directors, faculty, and students. The purpose of this retreat is to facilitate and begin to outline a long-range strategic plan for UTSA.
Dr. Ambrosino also reported that even though funds are short for faculty searches, UTSA is going to continue these searches so that these positions may be filled.
Dr. Ambrosino reported on the Board of Regents meeting held recently. The Board of Regents unanimously approved a resolution stating that improving graduation rates is a high priority of the UT System. Every institution will be expected to set targets in terms of numbers of students that will graduate in four, five, and six years. Each institution in the UT System is expected to meet or exceed national standards for graduation rates, and should review every policy regarding curriculum and graduation rates.
Dr. Ambrosino discussed results of the 2004-2005 Collegiate Learning Assessment. This assessment was the result of the UT System testing college freshmen and seniors from UT System institutions. Results confirmed that UTSA was the only UT System institution in which college seniors that were tested performed at above expected rates. Dr. Ambrosino said that UTSA is increasing the value of education in the students enrolled.
Dr. Manuel Berriozábal asked Dr. Ambrosino if UTSA would be lessening course difficulty due to incoming students with low SAT and ACT scores, and the need to graduate students from UTSA quickly.
Dr. Ambrosino responded that UTSA will not lessen course difficulty, but instead will help students meet UTSA expectations, and work more extensively with the public school system in order to prepare in-coming UTSA freshmen.
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Last updated March 28, 2006