The sixth regular meeting of the Faculty Senate for the academic year 2006-2007 was held March 8,2007 at 3:30 p.m, in the University Room (BB 2.06.04) with Dr. Mansour EIKikhia, Chair, presiding.
Present: Diane Abdo, Rosalie Ambrosino, Mark Allen, Thad Bartlett, Rajendra Boppana, Lorenzo Brancaleon, Aaron Cassill, Kirsten Gardner, Timothy Goles, Amy Jasperson, Eduardo Mimenez, Craig Jordan, Paul LeBlanc, Melody Lo, John McCray, Jolyn Mikow, Sandy Norman, Debajyoti Paul, Dianne Rahm, Robert Renthal, Cherylon Robinson, Mariela Rodriguez, Ron Rutherford, Michael Ryan, John Simonis, Ted Skekel, Raydel Tullous, Judith Walmsley, Karen Williams, Wan Yao
Absent: Ron Binks (excused), Rena Bizios (excused), David Bruenger (excused), John Byrd (excused), Fengxin Chen, Juanita Firestone (excused), MaryEllen Garcia (excused), Heather Hill (excused), Eugene John (excused), Melvin Laracey, Patricia McGee (excused), Steve Murdock, Elizabeth Pate (excused), Thomas Ricento (excused), Nestor Sanchez, L.J. Shrum, Jon Thompson
Total members present: 31
Total members absent: 18
Dr. El-Kikhia introduced the new administrative assistant to the faculty senate and University Assembly.
Dr. EI Kikhia reported on the System Faculty meeting in Austin. He stated that the issue of Global Internationalization is a ten-year plan the UT system is making to expand worldwide and to assume an international agenda.
Dr. EI-Kikhia also reported that the regents are increasing the standards in institutions, and that high schools should be held accountable for producing better students.
He reported that health benefits for UT system employees will basically be the same next year. There will not be any HMOs, but the cost of premiums will not increase in any measurable way.
Dr. Norman reported on a number of topics involving the UT system. The issue of graduation rates is important. He stated that UTSA is working with the regents and legislators to get them to understand that UTSA has a different mission than UT in Austin; UTSA has a different clientele.
One proposed change in the Regents Rules is related to the HOP policies. It will require Faculty Oversight of any HOP item that pertains to the faculty. Also, there are some changes with non-tenured faculty and their appointments.
An addition to the HOP was the proposed change in the smoking policy on campus. All facilities are currently off-limits to smoking. There will be two exceptions. One is for bonafide clinical treatment purposes, and the other is for smoking that is integral to an artistic presentation.
Dr. El-Kikhia proposed a committee to report on the College of Science. The committee will investigate the following issues: Why are the faculty rebelling? Why is the facultyangry, and why are they making it known? Based on the committee's report, the Faculty Senate will determine how to respond.
One of the issues in the college involved the procedure the dean used to remove the department chair. The last report received from the provost was that she was launching an investigation. The provost interviewed several faculty members of the college, but she has not made the outcome of the interview known.
The Faculty Senate asked the provost what happened to the HOP policy relating to the dismissal of the two faculty members in the business department. The provost responded that the HOP policy has been changed to reflect the need for faculty input in early termination of faculty.
Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Evaluations - Dr. Ted Skekel
The committee received student, faculty and administrator feedback on strengths and weaknesses from a questionnaire that contained open-ended questions. One question, concerning online evaluations, got mixed support. The committee will try to build an instrument with two sections. The first section will be generic, to be
usable campus-wide. The second section will contain a development inventory of questions at the department level or at the individual instructor level, where appropriate questions can be selected and are unique to the particular instructor's classroom environment and his/her goals and objectives.
After the next meeting (which will take place after Spring Break) proposed questions will be brought back, and other instruments will be looked at to try to examine what administrators are doing. One of the issues that has been raised is that there is no requirement that administrators discuss, in the annual report, exactly how they used this instrument in evaluating faculty.
The committee is also looking at high-speed scanners so that student feedback on the IDBA survey can be scanned quickly and the forms can be returned to the faculty more quickly. This would prevent the surveys from having to be done so early in the term.
The committee is still waiting on a legal opinion on why the surveys are being scanned and whether the scanning is illegal with respect to freedom of information.
Dr. McGowan discussed his vision for technology at UTSA. He stated that LT. has gone through phase I of reorganization, and is now going into the irreversible phase of reorganization and project engineering within the organization.
Dr. McGowan also discussed his vision of a CIO. First the organization should be very much customer-centered. His department is going through total quality management training and is moving toward becoming a continuous quality improvement organization. The customer service element is new. Associated with that is the software licensing component. Security has become a significant component of what can affect academic freedom. It is important that the faculty is involved in the process. There are also issues of compliance with respect to software capabilities and data and intellectual properties.
Change management control in customer relations will also be implemented. Dr. McGowan has combined and consolidated four different areas: network operations, systems, telephony, and the whole concept of telephony as part oflogistics operations, in general.
He also wants to focus on academics, outreach, and research. He stated that, in the academics base, technology is the enabler. He will be meeting with the psychology department, giving a seminar in computer science, and working with the biology department. Outreach will also be a big part of the focus.
Dr. McGowan shared a diagram of what strategic planning is really about and how it should be done.
His department's goal is to provide feedback and assistance within a 24 hour time period.
A software licensing program has been set up, and all the software is being tracked on Excel spreadsheets. His department is trying to negotiate with SPSS for a statewide contract.
He advised the Senate to make sure they are accessing the university system over a virtual private number (VPM).
Dr. Gracy stated that in moving towards becoming a premiere research institution, UTSA must address a lot ofinfrastructure problems. Research at UTSA has to be understood as including research in the big sense--research in all colleges, all institutes; research that is done by undergraduates, graduates, faculty, post-docs, visiting professors, etc.
If UTSA is going to be a premiere research institution, the university has to accept that the research problems facing society are extremely complex. They are not going to be solved by individuals, by single departments, or a single college. They will require collaborations.
Dr. Gracy said his department has a large amount of infrastructure to repair, correct, and put in place. Metrics and quarterly reports will be put in place. Also, the turnaround times for services will be placed online.
Dr. EI-Kikhia commented that much of the university's problems are not problems of failure, but of success. He also mentioned that the issue of compression is demo ralizing.
Dr. Ambrosino discussed the issue of salaries. A proposal from the appropriations committees calls for a 2.5 percent staff increase for state employees. Human Resources has been working very hard to look at, not necessarily compression, but starting salaries, ranges and whether the university's salaries are competitive. HR is proposing to raise the minimum ranges.
Dr. Ambrosino asked if salaries of faculty who are making below the San Antonio living wage could be increased. She also plans on compression exercises of faculty salaries next fall. The university strategic planning process is now in draft form and on the web. The plan now will be discussed, revised, adjusted, and finalized in May.
Faculty searches are going well. The caliber of recruits has improved from previous years. Dr. Ambrosino is currently performing promotion and tenure reviews. She is setting up a committee to look at the undergraduate experience and the undergraduate curriculum, and the kind of environment UTSA wants for undergraduate students.
Dr. Ambrosino wants key people to revise the HOP. She is looking at different ways to reward faculty for research and teaching.
She reported that department chairs are in the process of developing a faculty workload policy. The departments are reviewing the faculty work merit policy, and it is very parallel to the policy most of the other colleges already have in place.
Dr. Ambrosino is aware that people are concerned with the merit issue. She anticipates that the issue will be finalized after spring break.
Issues to be looked into are: the length of time a person can serve as chair, tenure promotions, and faculty hiring. The HOP is also out-of-date.
Faculty are being hired at higher rates, and an objective group is needed to determine how salaries should be increased, and how counter offers should be made when faculty receive offers from other universities.
Dr. Ambrosino would like to come back and have a conversation about the chairs.