Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes

University Center, Concho Room

December 8, 1999 @ 2:30 P.M.

 

Attendance:

Senators: Amster, H., Ardekani, S., Bredow, J., Cantwell, D., Chrzanoski, T., Chuong, C., Clark, J., Courtney, H., Courtney, M., Del Carmen, A., Elmasri, E., Han, C., Hanson, J. Imrhan, S., Ingram, T., Jones, M. E., Kellner, H., Koymen, A., Maizlish, S., Morrow, E., Munch, J., Nestell, M., Nussbaum, C., Porter, L., Rasheed, A., Reinhartz, D., Reinhartz, J., Rycraft, J., Schelly, Z., Shipman, B., Silva, D., Wilmore, E., Head of Libraries T. Wilding, President R. Witt, Provost G. Wright, Student Congress, S. Smith, and Chair M. Moore.

Call to Order:

 The Chair, Dr. Michael Moore, called the meeting to order.

Approval of the Minutes:

The Chair called for approval of the last Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes of November 3, 1999.  A motion was made and seconded.  The Minutes were approved.

Comments by the Chair:

Chair Moore announced several changes to the agenda.  The Presidential Advisory Council asked for a list of names for those who receive faculty development leave. Some minor changes need to be approved under Old Business regarding the Review of Academic Administrators. 

Chair Moore discussed the Faculty Advisory Council meeting he and Hans Kellner attended this past week.  He briefed the Faculty Senate about UT System news that he believed might be of interest.  He mentioned three campuses that are having some unique problems in various departments where people from outside the departments are being brought in to resolve the situations. Chair Moore also mentioned the discussion of online course evaluations. UT Dallas has online course evaluations. The UT Austin web page under the Faculty Council has a lengthy study that they have completed which discusses how to evaluate student evaluations from the faculty angle and covers what the students should look for as well.

Chair Moore stated that the Faculty Senate is waiting for System to approve a Request for Proposal to be sent out to each of the campuses within the next few weeks that would request a faculty satisfaction survey. A proposal should go to each of the campuses.  Copies of this can be obtained by contacting Chair Moore.

Senator Kellner stated there was a question that if faculty signed a contract it implied any abridgement of existing rights to grieve or file grievances on this matter. “Clearly, you can’t sign away constitutional rights, but there may be institutional rights such as the right to take up the matter as a grievance.  It is clear that this is not the case.  If you sign the contract, it in no way abridges any of these rights. The committee decided to propose certain language that might remind the signer that this does not in any way abridge these rights.” 

Comments from the President:

“I have no remarks.  I would be pleased to respond to questions.”

Comments from the Provost:

None.

Questions and Answers:

Senator Cantwell presented information regarding a healthcare provider who, he believes, discriminated against someone simply because they were eligible for Medicare.  He discussed the issue in detail and how it affected the UT System.  He asked that this issue be addressed for the integrity of healthcare benefits. 

President Witt responded that he had checked on this at a preliminary basis. He has not come to any final conclusions. “There is, according to the Office of General Council, no law against what healthcare services did.”  Physician’s or clinic’s have a legal right to declare certain population segments outside of their area of specialization. Therefore, the healthcare provider did not behave in an illegal manner.  He discussed the options open to UT System.  An individual with healthcare services and whom wishes to remain with their healthcare provider could convert to an alternative healthcare plan from Medicare to Harris, as one example.  He stated that the UT System does have other providers who accept Medicare coverage, as another option.  A third option would be to drop HCS from the list of preferred providers.  However, this may create another problem that may affect 200-300 faculty and staff.  No final resolution has been made.  At this time, he does not recommend dropping HCS because a significant number of faculty and staff would be forced to seek other alternatives, including those who are not yet 65 years of age. 

Chair Moore stated that the Faculty Advisory Council in Austin has a Health Affairs Committee and that these concerns could be conveyed to the committee. 

Senator Netsell wished to get administrative clarification on how to state in the syllabus the requirement to have students arrive on time and leave at the appropriate time.  “I’m just tired of people walking in and out of class like that.  I’d like to see something done.”

President Witt responded that he would check into it.  He felt, however, that faculty could probably have some clear-cut policies on arriving on time for class, cell phones, etc.. He stated he would pursue it with Sharon Smith and try to come up with some policies and procedures that would further address the situation.”

Committee Reports:

The Presidential Advisory Committee Report:

Chair Moore discussed The Presidential Advisory Committee that met with President Witt last week.  The List of Faculty Development Leave that was issued at the Faculty Senate is part of what was discussed at that meeting.  Senator Porter pointed out those on leave during 1998-99 were not on the list.

The question regarding privacy was addressed and it was noted that there is no official policy at this date. President Witt is reviewing sample language on a privacy statement.  Resolution on this should be sometime in the spring. 

Campus Master Plan Committee Report:

Senator Dennis Reinhartz reported on the Master Plan Committee asking for more faculty input by January 10, 2000. The committee felt the attempt to create a “vision” or narrative was a good initiative. The committee questioned the nature of faculty input.  Many of the faculty who were consulted regarding the Master Plan were mostly faculty who were administrators, not regular faculty. The committee also was concerned over the continued division of the campus by Cooper Street. The committee was pleased a new library was being proposed and with its level of priority. However, the committee questioned the library’s proposed size in that it may be too small for projected growth of the campus. There was concern that its location would result in the reduction or elimination of the “green quad area”. There was praise for the new Performance Hall, but questions regarding its accessibility and the possibility of it being divided into smaller halls. There was also concern over the Engineering Plaza as the “new center of the campus” and the resulting minimalization on other departments.  In addition, there was concern over the Engineering Plaza obstructing walkways.  Finally, there was a recommendation that the plan be more flexible and that growth not be based on projections only but more on actual numbers as they change.

President Witt responded that some areas are crowded, such as the School of Education, and need more space.  The Master Plan may shift these crowded areas as departments shift to new locations. President Witt discussed funding for the buildings of the new Master Plan. He commented that the building of the new library should cost about $70 million and that it should take about $20 million to renovate the old library to create a new home for the science areas that will be impacted when those buildings start to come down and create some new green space. Obtaining funding will be our priority at the next legislative session. He stated that whether funding is tuition revenue bonds, PUF funds, or other mixes, if successful in the next legislative session, construction on the library will begin in 2001.

Senator Chrzanowski remarked that the need for on-going renovations should be addressed during the implementation of the Master Plan.  President Witt responded that renovations would continue while the Master Plan is being implemented and it exists independently of the Campus Master Plan. 

Chair Moore encouraged members to forward comments regarding the Master Plan to the Committee so that a final report could be ready in February.

Ethics Committee Report:

Chair Moore, stated the Ethics Committee report concerning the Standards of Conduct Guide would be addressed later in the agenda.

Student Services Committee Report: 

Senator Porter reported on the Student Services Committee.  She announced the postponement of the first proposal until February due to new information that complicates the issue.  The second proposal pertains to the three levels of appeal for grade change currently available to undergraduates.  There are only two levels available to graduate students.  There is a proposed change to make three levels to graduate students as well, such as the Chair, Academic Dean, then to the Graduate School. 

There was no discussion regarding this motion. A motion to call for the vote was made and seconded.  There were no objections.  There was a unanimous vote to include these three levels for undergraduates and graduate students, equally and forward this recommendation to the Graduate Assembly.

Family Leave Report:

Senator Porter also stated that she is researching the issues regarding Family Leave.  By the next meeting there should be a spreadsheet available comparing various facets of these policies between other campuses across the country.  She will report on this at a later time. 

Operating Procedures Committee Report:

Senator Amster reported on the Operating Procedures Committee.  The committee suggests making some “mundane” editing changes to the By-Laws such as updating the references to the Center for Professional Education to School of Education.  References to COFCO or COFGO will be changed to the Texas Council of Faculty Senates.  It is also recommended to have a graduate student representative on the Senate.  In addition, she discussed the requirement of majority in electoral procedures since there is currently no specification regarding this.  She also discussed the recommendation of the Chair or Chair Elect being current members or on the Faculty Senate within the past four years with a two-year Faculty Senate service minimum before they are eligible to serve. 

Chair Moore stated that proposed By-Law changes are stated at one meeting and voted on at the next meeting, so a he would get the proposed By-Law changes in writing out to members when they are ready, prior to the next meeting. 

Tenure and Academic Freedom:

Senator Judy Reinhartz discussed the performance evaluations for tenured faculty and related documentation that is on the Senate web page. She suggested that everyone look at this and evaluate it.  She discussed a recommendation to clarify performance evaluations being given either during the sixth year or during the seventh year. She discussed whether the members of the committee were to be tenured or non-tenured.  According, to Senator J. Reinhartz, the current document does say committee members may be chosen from outside the department. 

Senator Chrzanowski suggested that previous Faculty Senate meeting minutes be reviewed for discussions regarding this issue.  He discussed some of his recollections of those meetings and noted, in particular, the difficulty some departments would have in meeting the requirements of getting enough tenured faculty together for the review committee, as well as the department’s discretion as to whether they had tenured or non-tenured faculty on the committee.

 Chair Moore suggested that any comments on this issue be forwarded to Senator J. Reinhartz. 

Research and Development:

Senator Clark agreed to report later, during the Resolutions on the Library.

Special Projects:

The committee had not met at this time but was expected to report in February.

Senator Kellner questioned President Witt concerning SAC.  President Witt responded that he had attended the SAC meeting. The final report had been received and was commended for its thoroughness. No further reports are required until the next visit. “I think the three most hated words on campus came to be “Unit Effectiveness Plan.”  Although this was necessary, it was also very serious and important to understand that SACS would not hesitate to do something.  UT Austin, for instance, has been informed that they are on a three-year probation. 

Senator Amster asked if the question regarding Affirmative Action was addressed regarding the number of hires for minority and gender.  She suggested that there be an effort toward obtaining and maintaining current and accurate information regarding this. 

President Witt stated that he believed SACS received all information requested.  However, he suggested that Dr. Mary Ridgway be contacted for a copy of the last set of reports.

Old Business:

The Review of Academic Administrators document was discussed.  President Witt stated that in his discussion with the Office of General Council, “the reading of this statement, as it is, all academic administrators but the President will be reviewed annually by their immediate supervisor.  That may raise the question that as President I am not annually reviewed by the Chancellor.  By striking that phrase, saying all academic administrators will be reviewed annually by their immediate supervisor makes it consistent with the process by which I am reviewed.  System feels that they can consult with faculty if they feel a need to.”

Senator Reinhartz made a motion to deal with the document as a block.  Senator Chrzanowski recommended it be sent to the Presidential Advisory Committee where the changes could be discussed and dealt with there before it is presented back to the Faculty Senate. Motion was seconded. After a Call to Question, there was no discussion.  The motion carried to refer this to the Presidential Advisory Committee for review, at which time they would report their recommendations to the Faculty Senate. 

New Business:

Thomas Wilding, who requested review and approval of the Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries, stated that this was “a reaffirmation of an existing set of principles that have been place for a long time and trying to rearticulate them in light of the electronic age.” Chair Moore stated that the Faculty Senate was being asked to lend support to this document. Thomas Wilding stated that these are principles by which we operate and are in accordance with Texas law.  After some discussion, a motion was made to accept these principles.  The motion carried. 

Chair Moore stated the Standards of Conduct Guide should have been received in the mail.  A report of the Ethics Committee is also available.  President Witt was called upon to give a brief history on this document.  President Witt stated a UT System Committee put the document together.  It is composed of existing rules, regulations, policies, and procedures drawn from Regents Rules, Handbook of Operating Procedures, and a variety of other sources.  The Faculty Senate has been asked to review this and make recommendations. 

Senator D. Reinhartz suggested statements could be edited concerning the right to privacy or the lack thereof and also concerning the issue of scanning computers for illegal programs so that faculty members be notified either when it was going take place or that it had taken place. 

President Witt responded that those recommendations are acceptable and see no reason why both can’t be added. 

Senator Kellner asked if people who have significant commercial relationships with UTA must not be solicited for contributions.  President Witt responded that he did not know the answer to that, but he suspects that it would be decided on a case-by-case basis. 

Senator Porter was concerned over the question of intellectual property and ownership rights where the document states that the Board of Regents owns intellectual property created by employees if it was created within the scope of employment. President Witt responded that he would research this and give his findings to the Chair.  He did state that he believed the language was not intended to take ownership of someone’s painting, etc., but was intended to claim ownership of “a new pharmaceutical” or the like.

Senator Cantwell moved to reject endorsement of these proposals.  President Witt stated that it was not presented for vote or approval or endorsement, but for feedback.  Comments are needed, but it will be approved or go forward no matter what.  It is not subject to vote or approval.  UT System is still viewing this “as a work in progress and we have an opportunity to try to correct problems that we have with it.  My belief is that we would better off trying to do everything we can to influence the content of the documents rather than have our response be that we elect not to endorse it; because it is going to go forward.  The Chancellor has made it very clear.”  Chair Moore suggested that “Perhaps, if you believe is not an appropriate kind of document in general, that might be better entertained as a separate motion after we make some suggestions for ways to improve it.”  Senator Cantwell withdrew his motion. 

Chair Moore stated that he understands that the document is being written at the System level and that we can make recommendations to them about how we would like to change it.  “The substance of the words that are in the document are the document you have before you—the rather lengthy Standards of Conduct Guide.  The Committee has made a recommendation on how to edit that.  What we are asking for is an approval from the Senate to forward our recommendations from the President’s Office and then down to the System.”

Senator Kellner moved that the suggestions be forwarded to System.  The motion was seconded and passed for Items 1 and 2.

Regarding Item 3, which deals with page 8 of the document, the language dealt with sexually oriented graffiti pictures, posters, etc.  Chair Moore stated that he believed the “intent is to make sure that it is appropriate for classroom instruction use and be allowed—not entirely prohibited.” 

Senator Cantwell discussed this, how it related to ethics and standards of human conduct.  He asked if this was necessary.  Chair Moore responded that he did not think there were any references to penalties, but that the document was attempting to gather together the existing policies that have been scattered.  “I might call your attention,” Moore said, “that this language is already in our Handbook of Operating Procedures.  This is not new.”  President Witt stated, The starting point for this document, 13-15 months ago, was the attempt to pull together existing material into a single source that could help people avoid inadvertently ending up in a difficult situation. That was the intent. A motion was made, seconded and passed regarding the passage of Item 3.

The fourth Item, regarding intellectual property, was postponed until a later meeting in order to obtain clarity as to what is owned and what is not owned.

Regarding paragraph 5 on page 12 of the document, which dealt with political activities, Chair Moore stated that he believed this language was intended to mean “that you cannot use your time while you are on the clock at the university to campaign for a particular issue or candidate.”  There was some discussion regarding people who may run for political office and how they separate who they are from what they do.  President Witt said there have been instances involving a “lapse of judgment”.  This simple statement, which stresses that while you are on the state payroll, one must use good judgment.  “There is no set of policies that will completely cover every situation…. These areas are just ways to stress one must be reasonable.”

A motion was made to accept Item 5, as written, with a notation to clean the language regarding work hours and distinguishing the work environment from the teaching environment.  The motion passed.

Senator Courtney questioned outside employment on page nine. “How does the university decide when a faculty member is on his/her own time or is on faculty time?”  President Witt responded that hopefully administrators would use common sense and good judgment. I think faculty fall into a different place than administrators. My advice to administrators … would be a little bit different, and that is to be very careful. You accrue vacation time, use it to protect yourself.”

Senator Porter commented that according to LaRita Gordon [of Human Resources], faculty do not accrue vacation time; staff do.  Faculty members should, technically, use sick leave to do something in the middle of the day. President Witt also stated that this document constitutes the “rules of the road” for the UT System.  “The rules are that you shouldn’t do certain things.  I think even UT System assumes that there are some reasonable administrators throughout the system who will use good judgment in applying this. The document is designed to tell you where some of the lines are and point out where you can end up in some awkward situations….  We’re trying to keep people from ending up in trouble as a result of something they did not know.”

 Chair Moore responded, “I think a good way to approach it is kind of what we’re talking about with the privacy policy, which we’ll talk about.  This is the bottom line—what the rules are—if you decide to do something different, at least you have been informed of them and you know what the consequences are.” 

Senator Amster suggested the wording regarding “compliance” should be looked at and possibly changed.  Chair Moore stated that it would be looked at.

Senator Courtney commented that the document seems to lump everyone under employee and does not distinguish between staff and faculty.  She felt this should be modified. 

Chair Moore stated that notes had been taken on these areas and would be forwarded to the President’s Office. 

Faculty Forum on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Chair Moore introduced the item open for support from the Faculty Senate to serve as a cosponsor of the Faculty Forum.  Tom Wilding’s request does not require any finances from the Faculty Senate in terms of co sponsorship. Tom Wilding provided additional background. We decided the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, among other things, requires training, requires educational programs to inform people of copyright law and its implications. We’ve invited Georgia Harper to spend some time with us on March 29th, from 2:00 to 4:30. The Provosts Office and the Distance Education Center, Academic Computing and the Library are also cosponsors.

A motion to cosponsor the forum was made and seconded. The motion passed.

Announcements:

Senator Hanson stated that he was taking an informal survey among faculty in which he would like those who care enough about it or think its an issue to email him and relay any experiences with students that are downloading term papers from websites. 

Adjournment:

A motion to adjourn was made and seconded.