FACULTY SENATE MEETING
March 3, 1999
Rm 100 Nedderman Hall
Senators: Amster, H., Beehler, P., Bradshaw, D., Bredow, J., Cantwell, D., Chapa, J., Chrzanowski, T., Clark, J., Cowan, E., Crowder, W., Del Carmen, A., Dunn, M., Elmasri, R., Feigenbaum, I., Han, C., Hissong, R., Imrhan, S., Jones, M., Kellner, H., Maizlish, S.., Morrow, E., Nelson, K., Porter, L., Raja, M., Rodnitzky, J., Watkins, T., West, R., Wilmore, E., and Yardley, M., Head of Libraries T. Wilding, President R. Witt, Provost G. Wright, and Chair B. Ellwood. Guest speaker: Zoe Moorer.
Call to Order:
The meeting was called to order by Brooks Ellwood, Chair.
Approval of Previous Minutes:
The Chair called for the approval of the minutes from the January 27, 1999, Faculty Senate Meeting. The minutes were approved.
Remarks by the Chair:
Chair Ellwood commented to the Faculty Senate about the formal documents that have been recently passed by the Faculty Senate to govern such faculty issues as grievances, tenure, promotion, etc . He pointed out that there have been some questions about when these documents become effective because after the Faculty Senate approves such documents, they are sent to President Witt for approval. But, before President Witt approves these documents, he can send them to System to clarify any ambiguities or to make changes in these documents (e.g., check for legal issues against our Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP), Systems rules, or Regents Rules).
Senator Jones asked a point of question about this process. Chair Ellwood reiterated that President Witt has the final authority to approve these Faculty Senate documents after they have been sent to System for any clarification. Chair Ellwood also commented, that President Witt has been present during the Faculty Senates discussion and debate on these documents and has often given his opinion about the content of these documents during the Faculty Senates deliberations. Chair Ellwood then asked President Witt if he wanted to comment on this issue. President Witt commented that most of what Chair Ellwood and Senator Jones stated he agreed with. He believed that any piece of legislation passed by the Senate that changes an existing policy or institutes a new policy, does not make it a governing document of the faculty until it has been signed off by the Presidents office. President Witt further commented about his rationale for seeking advice and counsel from UT System. He also stated that he frequently included the Chair of the Faculty Senate in these revisions so that there is a fair amount of give and take during the entire process before he signs off on any document.
Chair Ellwood then asked President Witt if the documents are official and in place when System finally approves the documents? President Witt responded that everything in our Handbook of Operating Procedures is fully approved. He also stated that until documents have been through the full process, and approved, they do not govern our behavior. President Witt also stated, "We have informal discussions trying to figure out the best way to proceed and one of the ideas weve considered is that even though a document has not been through the formal procedure, this does not preclude our coming to a decision that results in our developing a rational, reasonable way to behave. And absent the approval or pending the approval of the document, we could still elect to behave in a certain way." Senator Jones asked, how is that communicated to the unit so that its clear?
President Witt responded, "Whatever is in the Handbook, and this may be something we want the Provost to communicate to the Departments, to the faculty, and to the Deans, that is, what is in the currently approved Handbook of Operating Procedure constitutes, along with the Regents Rules, the policies we operate under."
Chair Ellwood asked, "So what about specific grievance procedures like these which will never be, I assume, in either the Handbook of Operating Procedures or ? President answered, "As soon as they are approved, they would be included in the Handbook of Operating Procedures." President Witt further commented , "The safest course of action, I believe, would be if its in the handbook, we can use it. If it is not in the handbook, we are not required to use it."
Senator Cantwell commented that he believed the Faculty Senate needs some documentation of what we are talking about (i.e., documentation of the procedures). Chair Ellwood stated, thats what we have been working on. After some discussion about this procedure process between Chair Ellwood and Senator Cantwell, President Witt asked Senator Cantwell and Chair Ellwood if it would be helpful that the administration draft a flow chart that captures these procedures and make it available to everyone. Senator Cantwell agreed.
Senator Cowan, stated, it was his understanding that the Handbook of Operating Procedures did address the matter of grievances and procedures. Chair Ellwood answered, only very loosely. President Witt stated, there is a document in the Handbook now that is what we have been using but there are some gaps in coverage. Chair Ellwood interjected, thats one of the amendments that we have today.
Senator Kellner asked about the timing of when Faculty Senate documents are returned from Austin (System) and approved. Chair Ellwood responded it is like a manuscript review process. Senator Bradshaw asked, "Of the documents that are currently listed on the Senate web site have any of them made it all the way through the procedure yet?" Chair Ellwood answered only the Post-Tenure Review document.
President Witt remarked, that he did not want the UT System to bear the full brunt of any concern over the amount of time it takes some of these documents to be processed. He said part of that responsibility rests with him because when he receives a piece of proposed legislation, he wants to get input from many people such as other UT System Presidents. By the time he completes his consultations, it could be several weeks or months.
Senator Jones then asked if the current version of the Guidelines of Promotion and Tenure that are on the Faculty Senate govern us? Chair Ellwood stated, they do not govern us and that the HOP is what you should look at. President Witt suggested, "It might be useful to have an appropriate group look at the handbook. Weve gone through it recently on a couple of issues. Its clear that there are decades of old passages in there."
Chair Ellwood then reminded the Faculty Senate that at the next Faculty Senate meeting, we will elect new officers for next year. He appointed Senator Chrzanowski to serve as the head of the Nominating Committee. Senator Hissong reminded everyone that the vice-chair position is for a four year term, not just a one year term.
Remarks by the President
President Witt commented that a major focus right now is the legislative session and funding for UTA. He is optimistic that they will be able to find some ways to build additional dollars into the UTA budget that will hopefully offset any decline in general revenue funding. He also commented there is still considerable support for a 50 million-dollar excellence fund that would be allocated to universities involved in graduate level education tied to the universities track record in generating external research support and the number of graduate students, masters, and doctorals that they have turned out.
President Witt stated there is strong support for UT Arlington and a handful of other schools to move out of the Permanent University Funding cycle and move into the Higher Education Assistance Fund.
President Witt stated there is a considerable effort this semester to change the current policy for handling indirect cost recovery because currently, 50 percent of the indirect cost dollars that were forecast to generate become a deduct from our general revenue allocation from the State. He continued by stating there would be a much stronger incentive for faculty to build indirect costs into their research grant proposals if all of that money remained on campus and none of it was a deduct.
President Witt informed the Faculty Senate that they have not reached closure on what the University will be adopting as an official position on the proposed university in south Dallas. He continued that it appears there is a reasonable basis for assuming that that university will become a reality. He stated we are involved in negotiations with the University of North Texas, Senator West, and Senator Harris, trying to develop a set of safeguards which would include financial support for UTA that would level the playing field.
President Witt announced that the campus master plan is progressing well. He is currently scheduled to present the new campus master plan to the Board of Regents in May for approval.
President Witt announced that Dr. Jerry Smith, the new director of admissions, came to work officially on March 1, 1999, and that Dr. Jim Walker, who was heading up the recruiting operation in the Business School, now officially occupies a recruiting and admissions role on a full time basis in Dale Andersons office, to strengthen our graduate recruiting initiative.
President Witt also commented that we are seeing across the campus an increased level of success in our retention efforts and that also is going to help with respect to enrollment.
Comments from the Provost
Provost Wright commented that during the spring semester, both the Presidents office and Provosts office have spent a great deal of time reviewing faculty for promotion and tenure. He could go college by college and give you names of some truly outstanding faculty who receive external letters from some of the most distinguished people in their disciplines across the country. He believes we should all be proud of the kind of faculty that we have assembled here at UTA. Secondly, during the spring semester, his office is involved in the evaluations and selection of faculty for various teaching awards. He stated it is always a very difficult process because of the outstanding faculty who have been nominated.
Questions for the President and Provost
Senator Amster asked for clarification about overhead costs (i.e., indirect cost recovery). President Witt answered, "Each year the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) comes with an estimate on how much overhead they believe our faculty will generate from their external research grants and contracts. Overhead is a category within the research grants and contracts that refers to dollars that go to overall support of the institution as opposed to direct expenses and projects. The policy for State institutions has been that when the LBB comes up with their estimate, and their estimate for us this year was nine million dollars, they take half of their estimate. In turn, we hope theyre not wrong, but theyre always a little more optimistic than we are and therefore that becomes problematic. So they assume half of the nine million, four and a half million, and subtract that from the money they would have otherwise given us. If they had estimated zero, there would have been no deduct. If there is any shortfall in the nine million that were supposed to generate, the four and a half million that they deducted then becomes a very real problem."
Senator Hissong asked, about the outcomes of Promotion and Tenure and Post -Tenure Review for this academic year. President Witt responded there were 21 promotion and tenure cases considered this year. In 18 of those cases, he agreed with the recommendations coming out of the college or school. In three of those cases, he did not agree. With respect to Post-Tenure Review, the Provost stated the material related to the 64 faculty who were reviewed this first year just arrived in his office. That was due on March 1st. Also, all academic units have submitted their procedures for the evaluation process. In the next few weeks his office will be returning that material to the schools and colleges.
Senator Kellner asked the President about the safeguards that would protect UTA from developments in the south Dallas campus area. President Witt responded, were talking about things that are still under discussion, but nothing has been definitely decided yet. The types of safeguards we are talking about fall into two general categories. First, financial resources to the University of Texas at Arlington to support our recruiting and retention initiatives. Our argument being that if a new institution is to be opened in south Dallas with, from our perspective, a relatively substantial operating budget, that will lead, by definition, to a substantial increase in level of competition. If the playing field is to be kept level, we need an increase in the pool of dollars available to us to support and enhance recruiting and retention. The other general category of safeguard involves the extent to which UTA would participate in the delivery of selected courses and programs on the south Dallas campus and under what conditions. That would also require an operating budget for UTA to be able to offer those courses in South Dallas.
Senator Cantwell asked, what certainty does a student have taking courses at a junior college who wants to transfer those courses to our University ? President Witt responded, the assurances, in general, come on two levels. First, there are State requirements governed by the Coordinating Board that in effect define what transferability must exist. Beyond that, the reticulation agreement with the various community and junior colleges depends on the curriculum that the particular institution offers that further define transferability.
President Witt further commented that the more complex issue, is what do you do when there is in fact non-comparability of course content, although we are mandated to accept the course in terms of transfer. There have been some very effective initiatives shown by the College of Engineering and College of Science such as having our faculty work with their colleagues at community and junior college campusessharing course materials, sharing outlines, and making efforts to enrich whats going on in the community and junior college campus.
Senator Crowder reported, we were going to make a statement today regarding our look into academic freedom as it pertains to retention on campus. But, we decided to withdraw our statement today. We are going to reconsider it and present it during the next Faculty Senate meeting.
Senator Amster stated that Senator Cowan was going to read the names nominated for Professor Emeritus status. Those names were read to the Faculty Senate. Senator Cantwell then made a point of order that this committee should have given the names directly to the President and not stated them to the Faculty Senate. Senator Cantwell and Chair Ellwood then debated whether the names read to the Faculty Senate nominated for Professor Emeritus should be expunged from the records via a motion. Senator Cantwell stated that he would like to make the motion that these names be expunged from the records. He discussed his interpretation of the HOP and stated, "This is a very sensitive issue that we are talking about." Chair Ellwood asked, "Are you making a motion to table until such time as we clarify this? All in favor of tabling this until we have clarification from the HOP, please signify by saying Aye [Ayes responded]. Opposed, same [no response]. So, the motion is tabled until such time as there is clarification. However, the motion stays in the minutes as such." Senator Cantwell still suggested the names be expunged. "I dont see that as a point of order issue," responded Chair Ellwood. Chair Ellwood then asked Senator Amster if she checked the HOP about this procedure. She said she did, but did not have it with her. After further discussion between Chair Ellwood and Senator Cantwell, Chair Ellwood stated, we will look at the Handbook of Operating Procedures and do it exactly the way the Handbook says to do it and not through some other means. Now, would you like to make a motion to modify the minutes in that these names be removed from the minutes? Senator Amster suggested, we could move to withdraw the names from the minutes and from this account. "Therefore, I move that we withdraw the names of the applicants." The motion was seconded. Are there any comments beyond what we already have to the motion? All in favor of removing the names and taking them from the minutes, please signify by raising your hands. All opposed. Let it be noted that there are two opposed." Senator Cantwell suggested that the committee not discuss their recommendations with the Senate, but rather with the President and it will not answer as a Senate committee. Chair Ellwood restated this motion as the "committee is not to discuss their comments or recommendations of any type with the Senate but rather all their comments and recommendations will be directly to the President and no longer answers as a Senate committee. I assume thats what you mean." Senator Cantwell confirmed. Senator Cantwell also stated that the committee has done its work and will make its presentation to the President.
Chair Ellwood asked Senator Cantwell to make his motion again so that it was clear. Senator Cantwell responded, "I move that the committee making recommendations for Professor Emeritus, these findings be forwarded to the President with their recommendation." The motion was seconded.
"Now," continued Chair Ellwood, "This is irregardless of what it says in the HOP?" Senator Cantwell answered, "Well, that will stand for its own." Senator Dunn tried to clarify Senator Cantwells statements, "If it needs to come back to the Senate, it will come back to the Senate. I think what Senator Cantwell is suggesting is that the President be given ample opportunity to review these. Since weve done it that way for the 20 years Ive been at UTA, I think we should proceed in that manner."
Senator Porter stated, "I think that the nature of this amendment is dictating procedures. And we do not make up procedures as we go along. I think you are right. Weve got to check HOP and but that we shouldnt, as a body, do this in Ad Hoc. So, I am arguing against it " Chair Ellwood asked, "Are there any other comments?" A friendly amendment was suggested by Senator Dunn to stand on what the HOP said.
Senator Maizlish called the question. Chair Ellwood stated, all in favor of the motion to send it directly to the President after consulting the HOP signify by raising your hands. Then, all opposed. Motion fails.
Senator Amster then reported on other business. The committee was also charged to write a section on Post-Tenure Review to go into the Faculty Guide. In order to do that, we rewrote a sentence on Faculty Evaluations. Senator Amster continued by stating nothing substantive has been changed. The wording, for instance, includes " further information relevant to this special case " And instead of "those in which faculty have joint appointments", we rewrote it as, "special cases and other cases in which faculty have joint appointments."
Senator Amster also commented on our Faculty Senate approved document on Post-Tenure Review known as Periodic Cumulative Evaluation of Tenured Faculty. The changes that were substantive, are in bold. They were taken out of previous drafts and other information that is already in the HOP. So, for example, the "evaluated annually" on line two of annual review is according to written criteria reflecting teaching effectiveness, scholarly and professional accomplishments. And C, it says in the original, "service to the institution" and we would like to add "community and a scholarly profession" as other forms of service. That is the only substantive change.
The following 3 motions from the Agenda were brought to the floor. Motion #1 reads as follows:
Whereas, the By-Laws of the Faculty Senate state that the purpose of the Committee on Equity is to hear any faculty member or associate of the faculty who feels that he/she has not been given equitable treatment in matters other than those pertaining to tenure, termination or non renewal of appointment or academic freedom, and
Whereas the purpose of Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee is limited to matters concerning faculty tenure and academic freedom, and
Whereas in the past matters of denial of promotion were handled by the Committee on Equity of the Faculty Senate, but
Whereas the UTA Handbook of Operating Procedures, Part I, Chapter 3, Sec. 3-608 states that the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee is to advise the President on matters concerning faculty tenure, financial exigency, and academic freedom, and
Whereas the UTA Handbook of Operating Procedures, Part I, Chapter 3, Sec. 3-607 on Committee on Equity, Part B. Function, currently reads that the purpose of the Committee is to hear any faculty member or associate of the faculty who feels that he/she has not been given equitable treatment in matters other than those pertaining to tenure, promotion, termination for cause, nonrenewal of appointment, termination for financial exigency, termination for program abandonment or elimination of position, or academic freedom, and
Whereas the result is that a faculty member at UTA currently has no avenue for appeal of denial of promotion that is independent of tenure,
Be it resolved that the UTA Handbook of Operating Procedures, Part I, Chapter 3, Sec. 3-607 on Committee on Equity, Part B. Function, be changed and the word promotion be dropped so that the section will read as follows:
The purpose of the Committee is to hear any faculty member or associate of the faculty who feels that he/she has not been given equitable treatment in matters other than those pertaining to tenure, termination for cause, nonrenewal of appointment, termination for financial exigency, termination for program abandonment or elimination of position, or academic freedom.
Motion #2 reads as follows:
Whereas the Faculty Senate is in the process of clarifying University documents relating to denial of promotion that is independent of tenure,
Be it resolved that the Faculty Grievance Procedure concerning those administrative decision or actions that are subject to review be modified so that in Sec. 1.3.6 of the Faculty Grievance Procedure the word "or" at the end of the paragraph will be dropped, and a new section will be added to read "Sec. 1.3.8 Denial of promotion that is independent of tenure" such that Sec. 1.3 will read as follows:
1.3 The following administrative decisions or actions are subject to review pursuant to the Faculty Grievance Procedure:
1.3.1 A reduction in rank;
1.3.2 The denial or withdrawal of a University benefit or privilege;
1.3.3 Assignment or reassignment of duties;
1.3.4 Withdrawal or reassignment of the use of University facilities, equipment, or support staff;
1.3.5 Salary issues;
1.3.6 Evaluations of a faculty member's professional performance made by a faculty member, faculty committee or administrator acting pursuant to University policy or procedures;
1.3.7 Issues specified in Section 8 of The University of Texas at Arlington Academic Program Abandonment Policy;
1.3.8 Denial of promotion that is independent of tenure.
Motion #3 reads as follows:
Be it resolved that the Staff Council appoint a representative to serve as an exoffico member on the Faculty Senate.
Chair Ellwood commented on motion #1 and the word "unfair". He stated that the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee deals with academic freedom and tenure issues and not being promoted to full professor in his opinion is not an issue of academic freedom but rather an equity issue, because theyre being unfairly treated which is an equity issue.
Senator Cantwell asked if the Chair of Faculty Senate wanted to change the HOP by its own vote. Chair Ellwood responded, "The Faculty Senate is not changing the Handbook of Operating Procedures we are making a motion that we request that it be changed. And we go through the normal processes to have that happen."
An unidentified Senator made a call to question. Chair Ellwood stated, a question has been called to drop the word "promotion". The motion passed with no opposition.
Chair Ellwood continued by introducing motion #2. It was seconded. He stated that the motion is designed to clarify the grievance procedures document that has already been returned by System a couple of times. He pointed out that Section 1.3, reads, " the following administrative decisions or actions are subject to review pursuant to the Faculty Grievance Procedure", and added that it allows a faculty member to have a denial of promotion reviewed because after this change, denial of promotion is one of those things that could be reviewed. After minor comments regarding punctuation, the motion passed unanimously.
Chair Ellwood continued by introducing motion #3. It was seconded. Chair Ellwood asked for any discussion. The Faculty Senate asked how long the appointment would last. Chair Ellwood stated for one year and we can specify that in the motion. Senator Elmasri asked what the purpose of this was? Chair Ellwood answered so that we can have communication with the Staff Council. The motion passed with no opposition.
Senator Rodnitzky passed out four pages of documentation (tables) dealing with SAT scores. "Weve asked Zoe Moorer to come in and give her interpretation on these changes, particularly with regard to the SAT scores..." Chair Ellwood stated, "If there are no objections, Zoe Moorer can tell us what these figures mean." Zoe Moorer responded, "Ill try " and she passed out some other handouts she had prepared.
She stated that the first handout was a Selective Table of Admissions Standards that contains our admissions standards which were raised incrementally for Fall 1998.
The second handout was one that she prepared to show some trends in increased quality of our entering freshman. She summarized that the percentage of first time freshmen with high composite SAT scores has increased over the past four years. Those students scoring a thousand or better increased from 50 percent in Fall of 95 to 52 percent in Fall of 98. And in those scoring 1200 or better increased from 12 percent in Fall of 95 to 16 percent in Fall of 98. She also reminded everyone that any resampling of the SAT scores where the scores appeared higher was done in 1995. So all of these scores are the resampled scores.
Senator Amster asked, "The other sheet gives ACT scores. It looks inconsistent with this. Whats the difference between the ACT and SAT?"
Zoe Moorer responded that most of the students in the high schools in Texas still take the SATs. So the sample size of those taking SAT is considerably larger than ACT. She continued that the mean SAT composite scores of first time freshmen increased 28 points over the past four years from 1022 in Fall of 95 to 1050 in Fall of 98. Furthermore, the percentage of our first time freshmen in the first quarter of their high school class has jumped by 14 percent over the past five years, from 38 percent in the Fall of 94 to 52 percent in Fall of 98. Thus, she believed we are seeing a definite increasing trend in our first time freshmen.
Senator Cantwell asked, "What do you have for attendance requirement changes for the test scores?" Zoe Moorer responded, "No, these are actual scores of our students who were admitted and enrolled." Senator Cantwell stated, "Oh, that is the sign to predict their ability to succeed and graduate. But you dont have the scores right now. That score is predictive of the assumption that they will succeed and get a bachelors degree and graduate. We dont have graduation rates for these people to compare with their test scores."
Zoe Moorer responded, "No. We dont. Some of them just got here this Fall." It was agreed that there would be some information gathered on that.
President Witt interjected that one piece of hard data responds indirectly to that point if you look at first time freshmen retention rates between Fall 96 and Fall 97, because 62 percent of the freshmen entering in Fall 96 re-enrolled in Fall 97. If you look at the first time retention rate or if you look at the retention rate of first time freshmen between Fall 97 and Fall 98, it went from 62 percent to 67 percent. So, in one year there was a five percentage-point increase.
Senator Cantwell questioned the admissions standards for those individuals who do not have a good ACT or SAT score. Zoe Moorer responded that any student who does not have a score on the SAT that meets our admission requirements is individually handled by an admissions committee to determine if there are other factors such as AP courses that theyve taken, or high school honors classes that theyve been in, or outstanding GPAs or other significant information that might have a bearing on their success. She continued, "Admissions informs me that any student that does not have the minimum SAT score required for their high school quartile, that application is looked at individually by an admissions committee for other factors that would predict their success in college."
Senator Rodnitzky stated, "I have one question. U.S. News and World Report in the last survey lists UTA as having an acceptance rate of 95 percent at that time. Is that going up in recent years? Is that accurate?" Zoe Moorer responded, she would have to look that up and get back to him.
Senator Cantwell asked to see exit figures on students. Zoe Moorer said, "If you would like data on that, I could certainly prepare it for you." Chair Ellwood conveyed thanks to Zoe Moorer for her presentation.
Senator Dunn asked if the Handbook of Operating Procedure was on the web site. Chair Ellwood responded, "Yes, its on the universitys web site, along with the Regents Rules and everything. All these documents are available on the UTA web site. You can go directly to it."
Senator Cantwell stated, " as a State university, we ought to be very sympathetic to those persons who would like to at least challenge the opportunity of attending a four year program university. If we put various entrance of this that denies them the opportunity . It is something that we ought to be very concerned with ."
President Witt responded, "I think Senator Cantwells point is well taken in terms of providing opportunity." He continued that he did not think we serve anyone well (students or faculty) if we admit people that we strongly believe do not have the background, the training, or the preparation to succeed. But, we should keep the door open and we do. He mentioned our Gateway program where students who are identified as aspiring to go to school here but whom we believe are at serious risk of failure, enter through this program where there are support mechanisms to significantly increase their likelihood of succeeding. So, we are keeping the doors open.
President Witt also commented that we have initiatives underway that will dramatically change the profile of undergraduate students entering our university. For example, every student from DISD who sends his or her SAT scores to this university or expresses any interest in UTA is contacted by our representative. That provides not only an opportunity to encourage qualified students who apply to this university, it provides a much richer database to assess the motivation of the students with respect to university level work to assess, completely apart from numbers, whether or not UTA is the right school for that student. Similar plans are being developed for Arlington and Fort Worth school districts.
Senator Amster stated, "The SAT, as far as I know, has been found to be valid with regard to predicting grades in college and not retention or completion. And if our interest is to predict that, we probably would need to do a study with many more variables being assessed. Including availability of financial support, motivation, interest, and so forth. So, I would suggest it would be of very great interest to do such a study and not just to stick with a simple ability measure." President Witt responded, " . Motivation to succeed in the university is a big factor in determining a students success. The extent to which we can work with that factor is one that is going to have a profound impact on retention and graduation levels ."
Chair Ellwood stated that the documents that we passed today will go to the Presidents office by Fridaythat includes the Grievance Procedure and the Request to Change the HOP. Then, they will go to System and well hear back some time in the future.
A motion was made and seconded for adjournment of the Faculty Senate meeting. The meeting was adjourned.