The regular meeting of the Faculty Senate for the academic year 2007-2008 was held December 13, 2007 at 3:30 p.m. in the Assembly Room (JPL 4.03.08) with Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia, Chair, presiding.
Present: Diane Abdo, Marian Aitches, Mark Allen, Thad Bartlett, Karen Bhanot, Rena Bizios, Rajendra Boppana, Lorenzo Brancaleon, Susan Bruenger, Aaron Cassill, Fengxin Chen, Sara Deturk, Mansour El-Kikhia, Margaret Flores, Mary Ellen Garcia, Kirsten Gardner, Julius Gribou, William McCrary, John McCray, Patricia McGee, Jolyn Mikow, Sandy Norman, Debajyoti Paul, Dianne Rahm, Robert Renthal, Cherylon Robinson, Alan Shoho, Monga Ashwani, John Simonis, Ted Skekel, Jon Thompson, Raydel Tullous, Judith Walmsley, Karen Williams, Wan Yao
Absent: Ron Binks (excused), Lorenzo Barncaleon (excused), John Byrd, Juanita Firestone (excused), Timothy Goles (excused), Amy Jasperson (excused), Edwardo Jimenez , Eugene John (excused), Craig Jordan, Melvin Laracey (excused), Melody Lo (excused), Nester Sanchez, Rocky Shih (excused), Mary Zey
Total members present: 34
Total members absent: 14
Dr. El-Kikhia announced that a decision had been made to hire Ms. Marjie French as Vice President for Advancement effective January 28. He also announced that Dr. John Frederick has been selected as the new Provost.
Dr. El-Kikhia expressed a concern regarding the issue of salary compression and the cost of living. He requested that the System Faculty Governor’s Committee draft a recommendation to the Board of Regents to ask the legislature to consider cost of living increases.
Another issue discussed at System Faculty is whether the State will pay for health insurance for retirees. As information becomes available, Dr. El-Kikhia will keep the Faculty Senate informed.
Dr. El-Kikhia also requested that the Faculty Senate begin thinking about who would replace him as Chairman.
Dr. Sandy Norman announced that three new Regents were introduced at the System Faculty meeting; work is in progress to develop a faculty regent.
He reported that the university conducted a compression study this past year, which the Provost may be using it to make decisions regarding salary adjustments for individuals.
Dr. Norman reported that the university and the faculty are still working on the HOP.
He also reported on a discussion at the System Faculty meeting which related to money available for retirement and health insurance.
Dr. Norman reported that the anti-immigration act has the border fence running through the middle of the UT Brownsville campus. Half of the campus will be on one side and half will be on the other. He recommended the Faculty Senate might want to make a statement regarding the academic implications of that sort of governmental behavior.
Dr. Bernadette Andrea reported that she was filling in for Dr. Elaine Sanders and will be assisting Dr. David Johnson with the HOP Review and Revisions Committee starting in the spring. She will be replacing Dr. Sanders.
Dr. Andrea read Dr. Sanders’ report on the work which has been completed thus far by HOP Review and Revision Committee.
Dr. Boppana reported that after receiving the students’ comments his committee is ready to form three focus groups. The focus groups will be assigned tasks and an instrument will be developed. This instrument will be compared with the results of IDEA sometime in the Spring.
Dr. McCrary reported that the Graduate Council approved the Graduate Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning and the Graduate Certificate
In Historic Preservation. Dr. McCrary introduced Dr. Nishimoto and Dr. Tangum from theCollege of Architecture to explain the two certification programs.
Mr. Gribou reported that the Strategic Plan is on course and the final draft should be available by December 31st.
Ms. Marjie French has been hired as the new Vice President of Advancement. She was the Associate Vice President for Advancement at UT Dallas. Dr. John Frederick has been hired as the new Provost. He was the Provost at the University of Nevada— Reno. He will begin on February 18.
The University’s Master Plan is in the final stage of negotiations. This has been a lengthy process due to the budget, but the university has identified what will be included in the Master Plan and the entire community will be involved.
The Inclusiveness Taskforce is providing the university community and the Provost’s office with recommendations on the minority programs at UTSA.
The Provost’s office has distributed $200,000 to the colleges for additional faculty travel and $100,000 for graduate recruitment.
Ms. Janet Parker reported on the tuition and fee proposal for the next biennium. She distributed two proposals, one marked “Draft” and one marked “Original.”
She reported that the committee came up with an agreed proposal; however, after UT Austin announced their tuition and fee rates, the System passed a resolution to cap the fee rates at 4.95% for the next two years for tuition, mandatory and incidental fees. The budget is set by the State on a biennium basis. The first year money can be used for merit raises and new faculty benefits. The second year money is received from discretionary tuition rate increases. The university’s physical infrastructure is dependent upon the university to cover the debt service from fee increases to students. A letter has been sent to System requesting an exception to the cap; however, this exception may not be granted. This proposal is due to System by January 16th, and because of the timing, the committee will not have an opportunity to review this proposal with the students, which was one of the original requirements of the guidelines set by System.
Ms. Parker discussed which fees would be affected by this requested exception and stated that in terms of dollars and cents, it would only be $33.00 more per student per semester than what the fees would be at the 4.95% rate. She then explained to the Faculty Senate how the biennium budget would be affected if the exception was disapproved.