Texas Tech University

Minutes for October 6, 2004

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  • Staff Senate Minutes October 6, 2004


    • Welcome
    • Pledge of Allegiance
    • Roll Call

    Senators present:  Jana Atkins, Gene Bals, Estella Barron, Ann Bell, Eric Burrell, Jaclyn Byrd, Bryan Carson, Nick Chavez, Robin Cooper, Chance Dragich, Sandy Ellis, Maria Fernandez, Rocky Gauna, Brent Guinn, Scott Hall, Patrick Hancock, Lori Hefley, Virginia Holder, Gary A. Johnson, Carolyn Kennedy, Evelyn Lemer, Sheri Lewis, Rick Loper, Amy Martindale, Barbara McArthur, Libby Moreland, Dawn Moreno, Teresa Neal, Rebecca Owens, Donna Perry, Larry Phillippe, Valli Ramanathan, Carol Ann Stanley, Barbara White, Everne Williams, Tim Wolf

    Senators absent:  Evelyn Armstrong, Louisa Arriaga, Doug Crockett, Gerald Cunningham, Travis Findley, Mike Hurlow, Guadalupe Luna, Eddie Ramirez, Don Roulain, Jake Syma, Sandy Gellner, Richard Verrone

    • Minutes
      • Corrections were made to the September minutes
      • Motion made by Carolyn Kennedy to accept the minutes as corrected
      • Seconded by Sheri Lewis
      • Motion passed


    • Treasurer’s Report – Carol Ann Stanley
      • Motion made by Chance Dragich to accept the report as written
      • Motion seconded by Dawn Moreno
      • Motion passed
    • Computer-Based Training – Vickie Gustafson and Kathy Stalcup

    Vickie Gustafson, Assistant Vice President for Information Technology, and Kathy Stalcup, Managing Director Technology Support visited to present information on computer-based training or CBT.

    The Information Technology department wants to expand marketing of computer benefits for staff, students, and faculty.  One benefit that is not well-known is Computer-Based Training.  CBT can be used to learn unfamiliar applications without having to spend time or money for classroom training.  Information Technology has a site license for Skillsoft Computer-Based Training.  There are 340 online courses available in programming, Microsoft Office, general management, budgeting, etc.  The courses are always available and they can be used for job training or just for fun.  They are written for adult learners rather than for children or computer experts.  They are interactive, which promotes learning.  Unlike other forms of training (such as face-to-face), it has a built-in assessment.  It can be customized to a particular need or level of understanding.  CBT allows fast-forward and rewind.  CBT is convenient.  Short-courses are great, but some people find it hard to find time to attend.  CBT can be done whenever it is convenient.  This asynchronous form of learning makes it more accessible.  CBT is better for quiet or shy people.  The lack of a regular classroom environment makes for a more comfortable and more engaged experience.

    The IT department invites you to visit the CBT website at www.cbt.ttu.edu.  The department will be doing assessment measures and surveying response to the courses.  Until then, call or e-mail Kathy Stalcup with any compliments or complaints. 

    In response to questions:

    • CBT is about to upgrade into a new version.  The pop-up blocker problem is a security feature that has been made more sophisticated so that disabling it should fix the problem and make CBT accessible. 
    • Curricula is available for Mac users both in CBT and short courses.  There are several courses in Microsoft Suite which work on both platforms (Mac OS and Windows).  From within the course, choose which platform to use.
    • Courses are downloadable, which is especially helpful on a dial-up connection.
    • It is not necessary to take a course all in one sitting.  It is possible to stop and come back later.
    • A training program is being developed based on CBT courses for internal IT staff. 
    • Committees

    All committees have met and are formulating topics and method of approach each will use.  Committee chairs will give progress reports for the committee and discuss how to get involved.  Brent Guinn or the Nominations Committee, which is in charge of committee assignments, can also help with how to get involved on a committee.

      • Nominations Committee­ – Brent Guinn:  Positions are filled, but additional vacancies have appeared so the committee will continue to work to fill all the committees.  Nominations will continue work to keep committees full as needed.


      • Bylaws and Constitution Committee – Jaclyn Byrd:  The Bylaws and Constitution Committee has met twice to review the constitution and bylaws for conflicting statements or places where we are not following procedure.  These will be evaluated one at a time and the committee hopes to bring some changes for review next month.  Changes to constitution are much more difficult to make.  They require the approval of the president, a vote in the Staff Senate, then back to the president for approval again.  Minor changes to the constitution are necessary in order to meet the way the Staff Senate has been operating.  The bylaws document is the working document and will probably change a bit every year.  The committee would like them to read more smoothly or fix the ones that conflict with the constitution.  The committee will read the change at two meetings.  After the reading at the second meeting, the Staff Senate will vote on the change.
      • Elections Committee – Sandy Ellis:  The Elections Committee met last week and will have a short meeting immediately following today’s meeting.  The committee is responsible for running the main election in the Spring to elect 1/3 of the Staff Senate.  In addition, special elections are held as Senate positions are vacated and all alternates are exhausted.  The goal is not only to replace the Senators, but to also gain alternates to prevent future special elections.  The committee will meet with the Communications and Public Relations Committee to communicate with TTU staff, and also with the Executive Committee to help get people nominated.


      • Grievance Committee – Larry Phillippe:   The Grievance Committee met this week and clarified the committee’s job.  This committee will deal with grievances against Staff Senators by other Staff Senators or other TTU staff members.  They will communicate once a month via e-mail and hopefully will not have to meet on real business.  This is a standing committee set up specifically to deal with situations that can occur.
      • Communications/Public Relations Committee – Valli Ramanathan:  The Communications/Public Relations Committee met September 27.  One of the issues discussed is communicating with people in the Service EEO classification.  Since they don’t have mailboxes, they may not get newsletters and other mailings.  Also, there is a need for a Spanish newsletter to be posted in a common location.  The committee would like for a Senator to meet with them as well.  The committee also plans to visit all campus departments for a 5 minute presentation on what the Staff Senate is and does, who to contact, etc.  Also, the committee plans to have posters and handouts for the new employee orientations.  Staff Senate has not attended any of these orientations so far, and it is helpful to market the Staff Senate to new staff members. 


    The first Staff Senate Meet and Greet will be held October 22 in the foyer outside Escondido Theater at 3 p.m.  The committee would like to have door prizes to encourage attendance.  Any donations of door prizes would be welcomed.  Contact committee members with any other suggestions.  Other events are planned, and a list of opportunities for staff to learn what Staff Senate does.

      • Webpage – Eric Burrell:  Eric Burrell and Valli Ramanathan have been working on the web page.  Everything is now on the web with no major changes from before.  Once the minutes are ratified, they’ll be posted quickly.  Please check out the web page and send Eric any suggestions.  The page has committee information, minutes, and a more prominent link to the issues form.  Some senators have changed departments, so please contact Brent Guinn if any of your information is incorrect on the web page.  This is important so that staff members have the correct information to contact you.


      • Scholarship Committee – Robin Cooper:  The committee met a couple of weeks ago and chose 3 scholarship recipients.  Only 8 applications were received.  The committee will work to increase applications for the spring semester.  The committee is looking into raising the amount of the scholarship or awarding more scholarships if funds are available.  A thank you letter was received from scholarship recipient Michelle Kiser.  The deadline for spring applications is January 15.  Last spring, there were 59 applications for 3 available scholarships.  The committee is looking at ways to increase the number of available scholarships through unused funds from previous years.
      • COPS – Patrick Hancock:  COPS is the committee that contacts businesses with the intent of finding promotions for staff.  The committee met a few weeks ago.  Last year’s promotions were posted on the website last year, but it isn’t known how successful the program has been.  The committee will make use of TechAnnounce to make staff aware of this program.  A letter will be sent to last year’s participants to thank them for their participation and invite to participate again this year.  A letter to new businesses will also be sent inviting them to participate in offering promotions and discounts to TTU staff.  A new list should be available soon.  Right now, there are around 300 entries in the database.  These are being updated.


      • Issues Committee – Amy Martindale:  The committee is currently researching 5 issues:
    • campus-wide use of Social Security Numbers as ID numbers.
    • paid parking for campus events such as concerts, plays, speakers
    • lack of benefits for part-time staff – insurance premiums, raises upon completion of advanced degrees, etc.
    • time-reporting policy for non-exempt employees, specifically concerning overtime
    • free tuition and time off for staff to take courses

    If you have anything to add, contact Amy Martindale or any member of the Issues Committee.  This is an ad hoc committee that was added last year to streamline research and discussion of staff-related issues.  Issues were previously discussed in the Executive Committee.  Issues come from regular staff members and staff senators, but not all issues will become formal resolutions.  If an issue is determined have merit and there are no other problems, the Executive Committee will discuss the issue and add it to the agenda for the Staff Senate.  All issues are also brought before President Whitmore.  He is aware of the current issues, but has not issued an opinion on them.

      • Outside committees:
        • IT Advisory Committee – Jaclyn Byrd.  This committee is responsible for receiving information from Sam Segran, TTU CIO, and giving feedback on campus impact.  Deans, Vice Presidents, Assistant Vice Presidents, the Provost and IT employees are on this committee.  The Campus Wireless Project is almost 100% complete and is still moving forward.


    The Lipman Hearne Report affects Tech’s websites, and all campus websites will get a facelift soon.

    The Information Technology division is making an effort to get information to all employees through TechAnnounce, including a new series called “Do you know?”  Right now, the focus of the series is security and networking.

    Also, people have been complaining about spam in TechAnnounce and not being able to unsubscribe from it.  IT is developing another announcement list with an opt-out option for fund raising and other advertising e-mails.  IT also is looking into using another form of ID instead of or in addition to the Social Security Number in its systems. 

        • Academic Council – Rebecca Owens:  There are currently two issues in Academic Council that may affect staff.  The first is the discussion of a fall break for students.  The Student Government Association (SGA) president gave 2 possible scenarios for this fall break:  two days in October around an away football game, or the full week of Thanksgiving.  A poll indicated most students prefer two days in October.  The problem with this is from where those two days are taken.  The fall semester may have to start earlier, and how many programs would this affect?  The two days could also affect the Labor Day holiday or the Individual Study Day immediately prior to final exams.  This issue is being researched to discover if this is supported by a majority of the student body or a small group of students.


    Also discussed is the possibility of a change to the final course withdrawal date.  Right now, students can withdraw up to 5 days before finals, and instructors have the option of giving W or WF.  WFs are being phased out.  Incoming freshman for Fall 2004 will only be allowed four Ws for their academic careers.  The new suggestion is to make the final withdrawal date the 8th week of classes or the 40th class day, perhaps immediately following mid-term grade postings.

        • Provost Council – Brent Guinn:  The Provost Council had an introductory meeting in August.  Brent will bring information from the Provost Council as it is presented.


        • Budget Advisory Committee:  President Whitmore set up the Budget Advisory Committee to look at all aspects of the budget and operate in an advisory capacity.  The President wants to demystify the budget.  The Staff Senate can provide input for Brent Guinn to take back to the meeting.  The first meeting was an introductory meeting. 
    • Other Business
      • Rebecca Owens asked about changing the Staff Senate meeting time to 3:30.  This issue will be researched.  If we find we are only using an hour for Staff Senate meetings, this time change may be feasible. 


    • Announcements
      • Please send committee meeting times to Brent Guinn and Richard Verrone so they can attend if possible.
      • The Executive Committee meets October 27 at 3:30 p.m. in Engineering Center room 104.  The Executive Committee is made up officially of the Staff Senate Officers and EEO representatives.  These are the official voting members.  Committee chairs and committee representatives should attend the Executive Committee meetings if possible to provide input.
      • The next Staff Senate meeting will be November 3 in Escondido Theater at 3 p.m.
      • There will be a short meeting for the Elections Committee immediately following today’s meeting.
      • The Bylaws Committee is 2 members short.  Please contact Sandy Gellner if you are interested.
      • The Issues Committee meets immediately following today’s meeting.
    • Motion was made to adjourn by Chance Dragich and seconded by Patrick Hancock.  Motion passed.




TTU Staff Senate