Texas Tech University
Faculty Senate Meeting
Meeting # 252
May 11, 2005
The Faculty Senate met on Wednesday, May 11, 2005 in the Escondido Theatre in the Student Union building, with President Gene Wilde presiding. Senators present were: Brooks, Doerfert, Johnson, Perry, Wilde, Drager, Dunham, Grass, Hart, Held, Howe, Jeter, Myles, Nathan, Schaller, Smucker, Toda, Wenthe, Hein, Jones, Cejda, Halsey, Olivarez, Collins, Jackson, Lakhani, Letchford, Masten, Sinzinger, Blum, Reifman, Kreidler, Spurrier, Whitfield, Reeves, Watts, Garner, Gelber, Meek, Wilson, Marbley and Spallholz. Senators excused were: Camp, Soonpaa, Sherif, Chambers and Donahue. Senators unexcused were: Kahera, Louden, Carr, DíAmico, Miller, Rahnama, Troyansky, Mercer, Duemer, Baker, Amor, Gustafson, Lucas, Bixby, Ellis, Smith, Tacon and Tombs.
I. Call to Order. President Gene Wilde called Meeting #252 to order at 3:18 May 11, 2005.
II. Recognition of Guests in Attendance. President Wilde recognized guests including: President Jon Whitmore, Provost William Marcy, Vice-Provost Jim Brink, Student Government President Nathan Nash, Incumbent SGA President Brian Phillips, incoming Faculty Senators (Maushak, Niwayama, Santos, Gallegos and Davis) and Roland Stearns (FS recording engineer). Also in attendance were SGA members: Ralph Pettingell, Ryan Worley, Casey Harmon and Seth Phillips.
III. Approval of Minutes. Motion to approve the minutes as corrected was made by Senator Howe, seconded by Senator Reifman, and passed. [1:29]
IV. Invited Guest: Dr. Jon Whitmore, President Texas Tech University [2:45-29:16]
The theme of my discussion today is money, and where the budget is. I stood here before you in September, or late August, one of the two, and said here are the things weíre asking of the Legislature for this year, if you will remember that. And Iím here to tell you that we are still asking those things from the
Legislature and we will not know for sure about them until the very end of the session. But I wanted to update you on a few things related to that because I do think the biggest single issue, for the Presidentís Office is, as I said to you when I met with you at the beginning of the year, the legislative session. Here are some developments in the Legislature that are up in the air. So everything that I say is filtered through my optimistic self. We really wonít know anything until the end. Our first request, as you recall, was to put together a budget that was 95% of the total from the last biennium. So our first issue was to restore that five per cent cut. And it looks pretty good that that first step will be taken, except for special line items that are individual projects that are funded by the State. Those have not yet been placed in anyoneís budget as having been restored, but the general cut for the university is likely to be restored, and that is the biggest chunk of all, that five per cent. Now what happens, as most of you know better than I because youíve been in Texas longer than I, is that a Senate budget is developed, and a House budget, and then in conference committee they come together and a final budget is achieved. These two budgets at this time are simply quite different from each other. I also understand that this is normal. Itís also normal for the Senate side to be more generous in putting a straw budget together for higher education and the House less so, and that is the case this year. If we get what we think might be on the Senate side, I think we have a good budget for the following year. If we get what I think is in the House side, we have a positive budget but not nearly so positive as in the Senate version. The fact is that this conference committee is really important and our Senator Duncan is on the Senate side of the conference committee and will play an important role in this. So, I guess the bottom line of what Iím saying is that the general budget the university will receive is quite a bit up in the air; that certainly I donít think we will face any cuts for the upcoming year, and the budget could be positive for us. That is, it should contain additional resources to deal with basic formula funding that we have been under-funded for, because we grew and did not receive extra dollars.
The other two major things that are up in the air for us, and theyíre big items but separate from the general budget, is money to build buildings. There are two ways that we get money to build new buildings, or perhaps three: one of them is from private donations, but that is separate from the state process. The state process has tuition bonds to help build buildings and then it has HEAF money. There is still a lot of positive activity in the Senate and House side, both, in trying to get funding for HEAF and TRBís, but these are things that are always decided at the end of the budget. So, we donít know where they stand. Youíll recall we asked for in TRBís the basically fifty six million dollars for tuition revenue bonds that the state could pay off that we could issue to build three projects. One is the Rawls College of Business building that would be twenty-five million dollars of that fifty six million. Twenty five million additional money from TRBís, if we get it all, would go toward totally renovating the existing business building to a general office and general high-tech classroom building for the whole campus. So if we got the whole amount we would have a little less than half of the money for building the business building, the other half of the money coming from private donations. We have the full amount of money to totally renovate the old business building. And then there is six million dollars more which is half the money needed to put an addition on the Law School. The Law School already has six million dollars in private donations so that that twelve or thirteen million dollar project is half way there. Now it is always possible that we get no TRBís. The other way we build buildings is HEAF funds (Higher Education Assistance Funds). Now that can be used not just to build buildings, it can be used for equipment purchases and renovating buildings. But there is a move afoot by some people to increase that HEAF funding rather significantly. HEAF is very valuable to us because money is given out on a ten year cycle so you can plan accordingly, and can bond some of that money to build buildings. There are some people who want to increase the HEAF funding by fifty percent, which would be a major increase in funding coming into the university, again for building, renovating or equipment purchasing. It remains to be seen where that is going to go, but there are several key people that would like to see that happen. Now, in an ideal world you get an increase in HEAF and TRBís, and/or you get one or the other, and that is all up in the air at this point. But we feel hopeful that funding in one of those categories or the other or a split between two categories will allow us to do the next major building projects that we have on our schedule. So those are some of the major things that we have been asking for as an institution.
The other thing is research money that used to be called excellence monies, now Research Development Funds. And if you recall the first year of this present biennium we got those funds cut out as a line item vetoed by the governor. We were able to capture a lot of that money back for this current budget year, and those of you in the research business know that this came in two chunks, and about half of it came earlier and that other half just recently arrived. Now, the good news is that there is every indication that that research money will be restored and in our budget for the next biennium and back into a permanent slot. No guarantee of it. But it looks like there are enough people supporting so that something like that will happen, and that is very important to us in terms of building the research infrastructure that we all want.
So, thatís my general update on where we are with the Legislature. The next couple of weeks will be very important. Thereís a lot of indication that senators and house members are trying very hard to finish the budget by the end of the legislative session, which means the end of May. There are some people you talk to who say they may not get it done and will have to have a special session, and I have no way of forecasting either way. What I increasingly hear is that more people would like to see it finish within the regular legislative cycle than have a special session, and there are a lot of key people working toward that. Until we get to the end we wonít really know. Now once the budget is set, and it could be as early as the very end of May, then the governor has an opportunity for line item veto. So, even when we get the budget and itís announced, there is some possibility for some items in the budget not to end up in the final budget. So, that could be an issue, which it was last time that research development funds were cut.
I have a few other things I want to talk about but I would maybe take some questions on that before I go on to other two or three items.
In response to Senator Perryís question regarding tuition increase. President Whitmore responded that they would like to keep tuition down. [16:05] President Whitmore continued to report on new faculty hires: there were 43 new positions, 17 fully hired, contracted; four offers out; 22 searches continuing which may continue until the right person is found. They plan to announce new faculty positions in the fall. There is $850,000 to hire new advisors in every college. There is also approximately $50,000 for equipment for classroom use. Regarding the position for Vice-President for Research, there were five candidates invited in.
Senator Jackson inquired as to current major initiatives, President Whitmore indicated that there is a two million dollar request to the Legislature for funding the new faculty positions initiative. The other initiative is "The Year of the Southwest" and Paul Carlson was appointed director of the center, assuming duties on July 1st. There will be a celebration of the fiftieth year of the Southwest Collection. The increase in tuition has made it possible to pursue some of these initiatives.
Senator Held asked if President Whitmore was still considering implementing the Fall Break in 2005 academic year; and if so how apprised have you been of the concerns of the faculty about doing that? [24:41] President Whitmore: Well I believe that Iíve been apprised very well. I think the students are here to talk about that again. Itís getting fairly late to implement that for fall of next year, but I think they need to have an opportunity to present some new information that they have. They have been going around talking to some people including some in this group who had concerns last time around. But I do think itís getting pretty late to implement something like that for next fall. And, again, I have not approved such a program because in an ideal world if we do that it would be ideal to have students, faculty and staff all finding a way to make this work so that nobody would be disadvantaged. And thatís why the ongoing dialogue and presentation today. I see they have a packet of material on this that Iíve not had an opportunity to read. I received it about an hour ago and had a meeting until this time.
Senator Dunham inquired as to whether faculty raises were part of next yearís budget. President Whitmore indicated that it costs roughly six million for a 3% raise. Only about 1.6 million comes from the modest raise in tuition, so we cannot do it off the back of the tuition increase. If we get a good budget year, faculty raises will be a high priority. President Whitmore concluded by thanking President Wilde for his thoughtful work in listening to the Senate and bringing issues forward, observing that he represented the Senate well. He looks forward to working with President Elect Senator John Howe. He will attend the first Senate meeting next year.
SGA President Nathan Nash presented a "document as a proposal for the implementation of a Fall Break during the 2005 Fall Semester" based on further study and research and
on to Student Senate Resolutions 39.33 and 40.30. President Nash addressed many of the reservations previously raised in the Faculty Senate report on this subject. Senators raised questions regarding the importance of students receiving diplomas at graduation, how did the surveys go out, student concerns, the financial burden for the Department of Theater & Dance, the affect on teaching, the affect on members of the "Goin Band," and Staff Senate approval. [30:05- 51:02]
V. Old Business [51:02- ]
President Wilde read a proposed Bike Lane Resolution: [51:02- 54:37]
Whereas the main Texas Tech University campus does not have bike lanes connecting many areas of campus, particularly in and around the Robert H. Ewalt Student Recreation Center, 15th Street, 18th Street and around Memorial Circle
Whereas bike lanes were originally proposed in the 1997 campus master plan (CMP)
Whereas bike lanes would improve safety for faculty, students, and staff cycling on campus
Whereas development of bike lanes on campus is of interest to faculty, students, and staff
Whereas installation of bike lanes on campus would encourage more students to bicycle back and forth to campus, thereby relieving and reducing vehicle parking demands,
Whereas, as the campus expands beyond the original center of campus, a comprehensive system of bike lanes would permit students to travel between classes safely and more quickly,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
(1) that the Faculty Senate urges the administration to incorporate bike lanes into the revised CMP, and
(2) that the Faculty Senate begin working immediately with the Student and Staff Senates to strongly encourage the administration to seek funds immediately to develop and construct a comprehensive system of bike lanes on campus.
Senator Howe moved to accept the resolution. The motion was seconded by Senator Perry and passed.
Senator Morse (liaison for The Enrollment Management Council) discussed the increase of transfer student advising. Tech representatives held many recruiting sessions in other cities, with positive response. The Council is attempting to change identifiers for students for 2007. [55:37-56:55]
Senator Meek reported on the Academic Council, chaired by Vice-Provost Brink. We were urged to respond to the Staff Senate survey on mobility, available through Tech Announce. [57:06-58:38]
Senator Jackson reported for the Ad Hoc Committee on the Proposed Faculty Lounge. He affirmed that the faculty lounge should be available for fall, and indicated it might be nice to have a reception to inaugurate it following the first Faculty Senate meeting. The key issue is that if we are going to keep it we need to use it. A motion was presented to move from an ad hoc committee to a standing committee composed of seven people consisting of two presidential appointees, five Senate appointees, and one additional ex officio non-voting member to be the Director of the Student Union or a representative appointed by that official. The motion was seconded by Senator Howe and passed. [58:53-1:03:53]
President Wilde presented the Academic Administrator Evaluation report regarding meetings with Provost Marcy. [58:53-1:03:53] Senator Reeves moved to suspend the rules so a resolution could be read and considered. Senator Morse seconded and the motion passed.
Resolution Regarding Ongoing Revision of OP 30:15: Academic Administrator Evaluation
WHEREAS the Texas Tech Faculty Senate has been working with the office of the Provost to revise Operating Procedure (OP) 30.15: Academic Administrator Evaluation to require annual evaluations of University administrators and, specifically, to provide a means for faculty input into these evaluations; and
WHEREAS the Senate and the Provostís office have thus far revised the OP to require annual evaluations of department chairs and assistant and associate deans that do include input from the faculty; and
WHEREAS a suitable model system for on-line evaluation of upper administration by faculty has been identified, which will allow a means for soliciting and summarizing faculty input on upper administration; therefore
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Faculty Senate meeting on this 11th day of May 2005 requests and encourages the Provost to continue working with the Senate to revise OP 30.15 to require faculty input into annual evaluations of upper levels of academic administration; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT copies of this resolution be distributed to the Provost and University President.
Subsequent questions were raised regarding: would there be provision for feedback? would the evaluations be available under the open records act? is it advisable to then post? etc.
Senator Wilson moved to accept the resolution. The motion was seconded by Senator Drager and passed. [1:03:54-1:12:55]
Senator Held commented on a meeting he and President Nash held with Professor David Birney of the chemistry faculty at two-oíclock this day for about an hour. He wished to be very clear that there were two issues: 1) is it doable? To Nashís credit and the other officers of the SGA, they have succeeded in their amended proposal in solving the accreditation problem. So the answer to whether it is doable is in his literal response probable, and he cannot speak for the other professors in Chemistry. The other question, he said, is he in favor of it? And, he wanted me to convey that he is not. And let me tell you why. His main concern is for his chemistry students. He supervises four hundred organic chemistry students per semester. There are three thousand general chemistry students per year that are processed. With regard to the organic chemistry students in particular, he said they would be put at a disadvantage relative to other majors in the university in two ways. One is that their laboratory exercises are pushed closer to the final examination period by two days. So they are essentially going to class up until the very last day before they have their final in the lab that Saturday. That was his first concern. Another was that Saturday, then, makes them deprived of a study day relative to everybody else because they have to take a lab exam that no one else will take. I want to compliment the student government for coming up with a solution to the first problem. But there is this additional problem. Philosophically Dr. Birney is not opposed to the fall break, but with regard to chemistry his statement was, and Iíll convey it literally: chemistry is hard enough, and he doesnít want to compound the severity of the stress for chemistry majors. And ostensibly, the purpose of the fall break is to relieve stress. So here we have one of those Solomonic judicial dilemmas. We are going to cause, according to Dr. Birney, severe pain for chemistry majors, and have significant gain for non-chemistry majors. The survey that President Nash presented was from 300 students which comprise roughly one percent of the student enrolment. The number of students being processed through Gen Chem alone is three thousand; thatís ten percent. So we have a significant issue to deal with. Because itís significant and Dr. Birney cannot be here I spoke to Dr. Michael Jones who is coordinator for the general chemistry labs, and asked him. Let me tell you what happenedÖÖthey said he was in room 109. On the door of room 109 it said "office closed" from such-and-such a time to such-and-such a time because we are grading the lab exams for our chemistry majors. I knocked on the door and there was no answer. I went to the secretary in the main chemistry office and she said, "Yes theyíre back there, they just wonít answer the door". Theyíre under a crunch as it is now to process grades for thousands of students. To what extent is the crunch going to be multiplied and amplified under this new system. I would like for him to address that directly and then perhaps Senator Drager can respond. President Nash then pointed out that their proposal in fact extends that grade reporting time so therefore that would alleviate that problem. Senator Drager We need to get all of these people in a room and sit down and go through this before we form an opinion on it. And secondly, as for the burden on the chemistry students, and whether they would prefer to have the fall break or not, letís do a survey of the chemistry students. Senator OlivaresÖ.. Thereís simply not enough good information to make a decision. Ö..typically you want from 15 to 20 percent so you get some good information from that sample. Senator Drager questioned "Polling is a field of expertise. You need people who have the expertise." Senator Held requested that the Senate let Dr. Jones respond to the issue. Senator Howe moved and Senator Perry seconded to allow the privilege of the floor. The motion passed. Dr. Jones: I will say that general chemistry runs on a slightly different schedule than organic because we have about four times the number of students. And it is a huge undertaking. In the fall we have three different types of general chemistry labs, about sixty sections taught by thirty something TAís and about fifteen other students. I just spent the last four work days entering lab grades, a royal incredible pain in the butt. Iím also the general field support leader. We have about 2450 students in our classes. It is a common final for every chem. section at the same time. Anything that pushes lab anywhere closer to finals makes a big difference to us and our students. Basically that is what this will do to; it will run lab right up to the last time, then you talk about getting the last lab report, the next to last lab report, the last quiz, and get them all done somehow before finals begin the following Monday. Logistically speaking, it is a nightmare. It would be very difficult to do. Senator Howe: What if there were a fall break as the students propose, but the Friday and Saturday of the weekend before the fall break were used to make up the two missing days, in which case youíd immediately be back on your same schedule? Dr. Jones: well I think there would be some objection to that because typically Gen Chem labs run from eight to five, all day, on Tuesday Thursdays particularly, our busiest days. So if youíre talking about shifting like a Thursday to a Saturday where labs run eight to five in like up to nine rooms at a time and all the personnel that goes to run thatÖ..Senator Howe: youíd be shifting the Monday and Tuesday of the following week into that Friday and Saturday, then youíd be back in order the week after. Dr. Jones: We also have a prep chemist that has to change out the labs from week to week, and also we double use some of the labs where you might be running 11:05 lab and 11:00 lab in the same room. So youíre talking about having no room to switch the lab and no day for the prep chemist to prepare from week two to week three, etc.
Senator Held moved that the revised proposal be posted on the Faculty Senate web site; that the faculty at large be notified that it is there, perhaps through Tech Announce; that all senators be urged to solicit input from their constituents; and that this proposal be discussed and voted on at the earliest possible time in the fall semester when the senate reconvenes The motion passed. [1:13:21-1:27:29]
VI. New Business [1:27:29ó 1:30:43]
Senator Howe would like to clean the calendar by shifting two normally scheduled meetings so that they did not conflict with finals and holidays. Because there are some problems in reserving rooms he hoped to consider this now. He moved to allow cleaning up the calendar and accept new dates as per the handout from Senator Howe. Motion passed.
VII. Announcements: [1:30:43-1:42:29]
President Wilde announced that he responded to a query from the Presidentís chief of Staff, Ron Phillips, regarding the proposal to charge toll on the Marsha Sharp freeway. He opposed it on the grounds that this would disadvantage financially faculty and other people who use this stretch of road to get to work and would likely cause congestion and inconvenience for those who didnít because people would be seeking alternative routes.
President Wilde met several times with the Presidentís assistant on Diversity, Juan Munoz. He is very interested in meeting with this body.
President Wilde summarized accomplishments for the year: the Senate worked with the President to pass OP 10.12; worked with the Presidentís Office to establish a faculty lounge; worked with the Provostís Office to revise the Tenure & Promotion OP to allow for stopping the tenure clock; worked with the Provostís Office to change OP 30:15; passed a number of resolutions that provided comment to the President & Provost regarding fall break. He stated that our resolutions were helpful to the budgetary process; and that the resolutions passed regarding athletics were very well received. It has been a very good year with a lot of progress. So he leaves with a challenge to Senator Howe and the new Senate to "beat our record." He suggested for the new year to address third year review, and to use name badges and photos of the Senate to create collegiality, and to revise the Senate committee structure and liaisons. He thanked the Senate for the opportunity to serve.
President Wilde turned the gavel over to Senator Howe who congratulated President Wilde as the first president from the College of Agriculture. Howe noted was this the last meeting in the Escondido Room, that meetings starting in the fall will be in the Matador Room. Howe invited committee meetings etc. to make use of the adjacent faculty lounge. He announced a forthcoming meeting with past Senate presidents.
VIII. Adjournment: Meeting was declared adjourned at 5:00 p.m.