FACULTY SENATE MINUTES

February 12, 2003

 

 

Attendance:  Rasheed, Kleiser, Eakin, Liu, Preist, Hullender, Jolly, del Carmen, Horvit, Estes, Smith, Rinehartz, Maizlish, Silva, Sol, Bogle, Nussbaum, Young, Maher, Formanowicz, Kinsel, Balsam, De, Amster, Millican, Wright, Rosado, Fincher, Courtney, Pillai, Arvidson, Witt, Wilding, Sorber.

 

Call to Order:

2:35 p.m. – Senate Chair-Elect Dennis Reinhartz called the senate to order.  Senate Chair Thomas Chrzanowski was not able to be present for the meeting.

 

Approval of Minutes:

Senator Young (Sociology) requested the following correction to his comment in the December 4, 2002 Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes:  The problem in getting faculty to apply for faculty development leave is the perception that the structure of the evaluation process is such that those projects do not get funded because they are not appreciated by the evaluator that is assessing the proposal.

 

Senator Arvidson (SUPA) requested that her name be added to the attendance list on the December 4, 2002 Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes.

 

All members were in favor of previous minutes with the above corrections.  The motion to approve was seconded by Senator Estes (English).

 

Remarks by the Chair:

Senator Reinhartz as well as all faculty members received an email from the Chancellor regarding the Faculty Satisfaction Survey along with an attached Faculty Satisfaction Survey document.  Chancellor Yudof encouraged the faculty’s participation in completing the survey.  It is very important because these surveys have brought significant changes in the past.  This survey is under a short timeline.  Results will be tabulated and be in the hands of the Chancellor and campuses by mid-March.

 

Two appointments were made to the Faculty Development Leave Committee:  one new (2-year) appointment – Senator Sol, and one replacement appointment for Christopher Kribs-Zaleta.  Dr. Kribs-Zaleta asked he be replaced on this committee due to conflict of interest issues.  Senator Rosado will serve the remainder of Senator Kribs-Zaleta’s term.

 

The Rules and Elections Committee reviewed the apportionment of the senate.  The results will manifest next year at which time each department will be informed if they are gaining or losing members in the Senate.

 

Yvette Rodriguez of UTA Human Resources was scheduled to speak to the senate regarding Flex Plans, but decided to defer to the next Senate meeting.

 

The Faculty Advisory Council will submit a resolution to the Chancellor that full-time, non-tenure tracked faculty will bring hiring/review within the framework of peer review.  The Chair of the FAC informed Chair Chrzanowski and Senator Reinhartz that this resolution is going forward to the Chancellor and will probably be implemented next year.

 

Chair Chrzanowski and Senator Reinhartz spoke with Chancellor Yudof and Vice-Chancellor Sullivan in Austin.  The intention of the meeting was to express faculty concerns about the president leaving and the search for a permanent president.  They discussed how the search would be carried out and a broad range of faculty concerns on  campus (e.g. alignment to campuses in Dallas).  The Chancellor understands our concerns.  Misunderstandings may be due to the press.  A Faculty Executive Committee meeting will be scheduled with representatives from each campus, which would allow people to stop in and talk to the Chancellor.  The Chancellor is available anytime to discuss problems.

 

The Vice-Chancellor was recently on campus to discuss the search for a permanent president, introduce the interim, discuss faculty issues, and reiterate her availability for discussion.

 

Chair Chrzanowski and Senator Reinhartz also met with Drs. Witt, Wright, and Dunn regarding budget issues.

 

There are three faculty representatives to be appointed to the search committee for the permanent president, which will be designated by the Faculty Senate.

 

Senator Eakin: 

I assume that the search committee list is not complete.  Any discrepancies?

 

Senator Reinhartz:        

That is correct the list of committee members is not complete.

 

President Witt

Leaving will be difficult because I care about UTA, but the process became easier when I learned of Dr. Chuck Sorber’s appointment as Interim President.

 

I would have picked Dr. Chuck Sorber myself.  I have known him for 25 years.  Dr. Sorber brings a mix of skills and values that are critically important to our university at this challenging time.  Chuck Sorber knows UT System well and knows the senior staff as well as Terry Sullivan and Mark Yudof.  He is a known and credible commodity to the Board of Regents.

 

Dr. Sorber represented UT-Permian Basin well.  He will defend UTA’s interests at the Legislature and at UT System.

 

This Faculty Senate is unique because this senate was formed under Mary Ridgeway and John Beeler during a difficult period and played a pivotal role in forcing change in leadership successfully.  The Senate has sense of ownership in the university.  Chuck Sorber believes in the Faculty Senate process.

 

Interim President Sorber

The process of being named interim has happened quickly.  I had stepped down at UTPB by design and stayed as interim until a replacement was found.  I then went back to my faculty position.  Later, I moved to System Office to help get Sandia National Labs. On December 13, the DOE decided to extend the current contract at Sandia for another 5 years.  I almost went back to my faculty position when Chancellor Yudof asked me to consider taking this position.  I thought I could contribute again as a UT Administrator and was honored to be asked.  The management styles of Dr. Witt and myself are somewhat similar.  The local newspaper here in Arlington asked the Faculty Senate at UT-Permian Basin about my management style and some said I was structured due to my military background, but I feel it’s due to my engineering background.  I am open to any discussion and will meet with groups of faculty.  I will be here on March 1 and have an open-door policy.  I plan to work with the Senate and committees. It is important that the momentum is not lost and will work to that end.  I will be a proactive interim president.

 

Questions to Interim President Sorber

Senator Liu:      Recently I have heard comments regarding the main UT campus for research will be UT-Dallas.  How will the new president help UTA in regards to teaching and research?  What’s your vision?

Dr. Sorber:       I do not subscribe to the notion that is written about in the newspapers that UTD is superior to UTA.  UT Arlington was always on the list as a possible flagship in the UT System.  UTD is a niched institution in many respects while UTA is broad-based, academic enterprise with aspirations of attaining flagship status.

Dr. Witt:            State Senator Chris Harris is adamant that he will back up UTA

Senator Amster:  What changes will you make?

Dr. Sorber:       I will be proactive and do what is necessary with your support to make this institution better. There will be no lost time or no lack of enthusiasm.

Senator Young:  Designate what flagship means to the UT System?  

Dr. Sorber:       The term flagship is used generally around the state.  It means an institution has reached the next plateau as a research institution.  It does not necessarily mean extra funding.  UTA has to go after the funding.  Funding comes through research and Ph.D production.  Those are two major measures for an institution in national credibility.

Dr. Witt:            Keith McDowell said research expenditures are up 30%.

Dr. Sorber:            Dr. Witt will be in Washington DC to get funding for UTA.

Senator Courtney:  Describe your decision-making/policy making process.

Dr. Sorber:       I try to get it in writing, to gather facts and history of issue and then make an intelligent decision while being aware of the down side of the issue.  I like to look at the up side and down side of an issue.  I also like a structured planning process whereby I hear from all constituents involved.  Rarely do I do things in the abstract.  I like planning.  There is already a good team in place at UTA.

Senator Liu:            Since the budget is tight, will there be cutting of programs?

Dr. Witt:           I don’t know.  My expectation is that every agency of the state government returned 7% of their budgets as will each program within UTA so will that program have to cut 7%.

Dr. Sorber:       Won’t take back this year, but will be cut back next biennium.  They haven’t gone into that detail yet.

Senator Estes:   With $6.1 million or 7% anticipated budget cuts next year, will budget reductions be higher than 7%?  Over a 3 years period are we talking about $21 million in reductions?

Dr. Witt:           There is nothing definite.  The first rollback of  7% or $6.1 million was taken at UTA.   Subsequent to the $6.1 million, UTA did not have to cut all 7% because UT System provided some relief.  We will hold the extra money.  The Legislative Budget Board issued a perspective a week ago on the next biennium where higher education will cut $10.3 million rather than $6.1 million from their budgets.  Part of the reason that things are not as bleak here than at other institutions is the base period that was just completed.  We are 81,000 semester hours ahead of the last base period.  That translates into approximately $19 million dollars annually.  That will provide us with a substantial cushion, but our operating expenses have increased.  Added faculty and recruiting for next year may eat in to that cushion.  Another factor is that UTA was able to watch UT Austin when it increased its fees.  We will identify existing fees and increase those fees $20 per hour.  IT and library fees were increased to $20 per hour which did not impact enrollment.  That increase generated an additional $12 million.  Preliminary application figures for fall suggest that we will continue to grow rapidly.  We already know we will be allowed an increase of $2 per hour and $4 in the aggregate per hour, which will generate another $2.5 million.

 

Craddick, Dewhurst, and the governor have all said they favor tuition deregulation.  There is a good possibility that tuition and designated tuition may be deregulated.  Then increase designated tuition.  This probably won’t impact enrollment.

 

This will not be an easy process.  We are well positioned to deal with it.  In spite of the rollback, the new Science Building, Fine Arts Annex, renovation of the School of Social Work, temporary buildings for Engineering, the purchase of a building in downtown Arlington, and starting a new Ph.D. program in Nursing. University-wide, although we had to trim a little, we are in a position to keep the university moving forward.  UTA is in solid financial shape.

 

(A two-page summary was distributed to the Senate regarding how UTA approached the cuts.)  We only had 7 calendar days to make the cuts.  The academic side was not impacted as much as the academic support services.  Dan Williams agreed that he should take most of the cuts because teaching and research should not be cut..

Senator Maizlish:              Last year we implemented fee increases that were not out of line with the rest of the Metroplex schools.  Have we done a similar study on possible increases in fees?

 

Is there discussion on how merit increases will figure into the budget cuts?

Dr. Witt:           UTA’s pay is competitive with Metroplex schools with what we’ve done to date.  If institutional fees increase to $20 per hour and UTD and UNT did nothing, then UTA could be out of line.  Schools we compete with have to do the same thing.  We are strong enough that even if we were more expensive, students would still enroll.

 

There is a proposal for a 2-year staged increase in admission requirements because of our rapid enrollment.

 

I do not know if merit raises are possible.  If the administration increases tuition it may be possible to get merit raises.  If tuition is not deregulated, it will be difficult.  Merit raises are possible, but we must be willing to give up other things that keep UTA moving forward.

 

There could be choices between raises or additional faculty lines in continued efforts to move the university forward.

 

Senator Reinhartz:            The Legislature has previously mandated raises, but not funded them.  Is that possible?

Dr. Witt:           Yes.  As long as UTA keeps growing at a reasonable rate and aggressively handle fees.  We can meet the challenge.

Dr. Sorber:       It is unlikely that the state will demand cuts and not deregulate tuition then mandate raises.

Unknown:         It there any possibility that UTA will become part of the Texas A&M System?

Dr. Witt:           I do not think there is any likelihood to move to A&M System.  UT System does not want to give up its Metroplex presence.  I do not believe the votes are in the legislature to approve it.

Senator Reinhartz:            Senator Harris has offered a bill which is in the pipeline that UTA would move to the A&M system. 

 

Senator Reinhartz then read a statement from Senator Chrzanowski thanking President Witt for his service.

 

On behalf of the Faculty Senate and the Faculty it represents, I would like to thank you for your years of service to this university.

 

I can only hope that future administrations will continue the model of frank and constructive cooperation between faculty and administration that so clearly characterized your interactions with us.

 

We wish you the very best in your new position at the University of Alabama and we hope that you will think often and kindly about your years at UTA.

 

Committee Reports

Equity:  Senator Crowder is now the chair of the committee.  No report.

Academic Freedom and Tenure:  Last year the committee and then the Senate approved the Academic Receivership Policy and submitted it to President Witt.  Dr. Witt concluded in a letter to Chair Chrzanowski that one paragraph in the policy (which is the 2nd paragraph) needs to be removed as it might create administrative deadlock.  The committee looked at the paragraph and thought the paragraph was nice, but wasn’t necessary related to the Receivership Policy.  The definition of receivership follows more specifically in the 3rd paragraph.  We recommend to the senate it be removed.  President Witt said that if we gave him a revised policy statement he would rule on it and have it approved before he left office, but we must agree with the revision.  Dr. Witt has no objection to the policy except for the 2nd paragraph. The committee agreed that it didn’t seem to be necessary for a Receivership Policy.  This document came from the statewide Faculty Advisory Council as a template.

 

Senator Reinhartz:            Correction:  When President Witt approves the document, it goes to the OGC (Office of General Counsel) for approval.  The OGC then puts it in a language that goes to the Regent’s Rules into the handbook’s Operating Procedures.  No problems are foreseen.  In writing this template, we worked with the OGC.

 

Senator Amster:  Is there a requirement to wair or can we vote on it immediately?

 

Senator Maizlish:  We can vote today.

 

Senator Reinhartz:            UTA will be the first campus with this document in place so this will help other UT campuses with their receivership policies.

 

Senator Ames moved to approve the amended Academic Receivership Policy.

 

Senator Estes seconded the movement.

 

All were in favor and the document was approved by the Senate.

 

Research and Develoment:  

No report.

 


Budget Liaison:          

No report.

Academic Liaison:          

Reported that Faculty Handbook is undergoing Beta testing and in Dr. Moore’s hands at the end of this month.

Ethics:

No Report.

Special Projects:        

Two nominations for Professor Emeritus.

 

Old Business

 

None.

 

New Business

The designation of Faculty Representatives for Presidential Search Committee will be conducted at this meeting.

 

Vice-Chancellor Sullivan said it is her hope to have search meetings in last week of March.  The Committee needs to approve the advertisement and then disseminate.  Per the Regent’s rules, there should be 3 faculty representatives appointed to the search committee.  Two should be senior faculty (tenured: Associate Professor or above) and one untenured.  The meetings will be held in Arlington or at the airport.

 

Senator Maizlish moved to elect 3 representatives to the Presidential Search Committee.

 

Senator Amster suggested at least 1 individual should be from the officers of the Faculty Senate that have been elected.

 

Senator Reinhartz questioned the Senate if it wanted to elect now or wait until the March  meeting.

 

Senator Estes:  Do it now. 

 

Senator Estes moved to elect President Search Committee representatives.

 

Senator Amster seconded the motion.

 

It was approved by the Senate to elect representatives.

 

Senator Estes nominated Chair Chrzanowski and Senator Reinhartz.

 

Senator Maizlish seconded the nomination.

 

Senator Young moved that 2 nominees be elected.

 

Senator Sol:            Senator Silva would like to know the timeline.

 

Senator Reinhartz:            The vice-Chancellor said January 1, 2004 was what they were looking at or June, 2004, but the goal is January 1, 2004.  The committee will work through summer.  Five or more people will be interviewed in the late summer or early fall. 

 

Senator Courtney:             I nominate Harriett Amster of Psychology.

 

Senator Liu:                  I nominate Dr. Priest of Industrial Engineering.

 

Senator Arvidson:            I’m concerned there are no women.  The representatives should reflect diversity.

 

Senator Maizlish:            Diversity relates to different colleges as well as racial and gender

diversity.

 

Senator Wright:            I would like representation from a woman and from a school.  I would also like to nominate myself.  I have worked with Dr. Witt on the MasterPlan and am a junior member of the faculty.

 

Senator Pillai:                I nominate Senator Rosado from Education.

 

Norminations were closed.

 

Seconded by Senator Sol.

 

Senator Estes motioned to vote and was seconded by Senator Millican to elect by acclamation Chair Chrzanowski and Senator Reinhartz to the Presidential Search Committee.

 

Chair Chrzanowski and Senator Reinhartz were elected to the Presidential Search Committee. 

 

The motion was carried.

 

The Nominees for the remaining position stood up and gave brief speeches.

 

Senator Formanowicz collected the ballots.

 

Senator Priest:  Will the Presidential Search Committee hire a search firm?

 

Senator Reinhartz:            Yes, but will only use for background checks.  Nominees should come from faculty recommendations.  Faculty should send out the word to qualified candidates.

 

A second vote was taken on the election of either Senator Amster or Senator Priest.

 

Senator Formanowicz tallied the votes.

 

Senator Reinhartz:            Senator Priest has been elected to the final position on the Presidential Search Committee.

 

Parking Issue:

Senator Arvidson:            In the parking lot by the University Hall, there are not enough parking spaces for faculty to park.  A faculty member has asked the parking office to stop the issuing the permits to RAs and TAs.  The parking office responded that his should be brought up in the Faculty Senate.

 

Senator Reinhartz:            We’re not sure what to do since this has been a problem for many years.  It may have to be put before the Parking Committee and will figure out what procedure to take.  We will have a proposal at next meeting.

 

Tenure & Promotion:     

There was an issue recently in SUPA where a faculty member was up for promotion and was not supported by the P&T Committee, but the Provost overturned recommendation of the P&T committee.  It shocked the faculty.

 

Senator Reinhartz advised Senator Arvidson that all T&P recommendations are all advisory to the Provost and President. 

 

Senator Young:  We could suggest alternative avenues for communications when overturned promotions are being made.  Maybe when the Provost goes against a recommendation, he could consult with the P&T Committee before overturning the recommendation made.

 

Senator Reinhartz will ask the Provost to discuss this issue at the next Faculty Senate Meeting and assign to a committee.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.