Minutes

Faculty Senate Meeting

University of Texas at Arlington

October 28, 1998

Attendance

Senators: Amster, H., Barrett, E., Beehler, P., Bradshaw, J., Chapa, J., Chrzanowski, T., Clark, J., Cowan, E., Crowder, W., Elmasri, R., Feigenbaum, I., Han, C., Hanson, J., Hissong, R., Imrhan, S., Ingram, T., Kellner, H., Luo, T., Maizlish, S., Matthys, J., Morrow, E., Munch, J., Payne, F., Porter, L., Price, K., Rodnitzky, J., Rome, R., Rycraft, J., Schelly, Z., Watkins, T., West, R., Wilmore, E., and Yardley, M. Student Congress President J. Panton, President R. Witt, Provost Wright, Director of Libraries T. Wilding and Chair, B. Ellwood.

Call to Order

Brooks Ellwood, Chair, called the meeting to order.

Approval of Minutes

An error was noted for the September minutes regarding Senator Earl, whose name was incorrect. The actual name of the Senator should have been Payne. HTML codes and ASCII codes were also found on the minutes from the download of the UTA Web page. The minutes did not contain these codes on the UTA Web page. Approval was obtained pending these corrections.

Remarks by the Faculty Senate Chair

Chair Ellwood noted that several items are now being actively pursued by the Faculty Senate. The first item concerned the return of the evaluation of academic administrators. The Presidential Advisory Committee is now reviewing the changes made by the Office of General Counsel in Austin. Recommendations for either acceptance of their changes or modification will be discussed at the December 2, 1998 Faculty Senate meeting.

The second item, the Tenure and Promotional Guidelines that the Faculty Senate sent to the Office of General Counsel has come back to us with changes. Some of them are not substantive, but some of them may be. The Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee is now looking at that document and will meet and have recommendations to us at the December 2, 1998 meeting.

The third item is that the Provost’s office has asked the Faculty Senate to upgrade the current Faculty Guide. The Special Projects Committee will undertake modifying, revising, and making changes to the Faculty Guide as pertinent. They will bring their suggested revisions to us at the March 1999 Faculty Senate meeting. Chair Ellwood asked for any specific questions about these three items.

Senator Bradshaw requested clarification on the second item. Chair Ellwood responded it was the old Tenure and Promotion document not the post-tenure review document.

Senator Amster asked if the Special Projects Committee will be apprised of any changes in the Tenure and Promotional Guidelines so that the changes can be used in revising the Faculty Guide. Chair Ellwood responded that the changes will be made available in the next meeting of the Faculty Senate. He also commented that hopefully the Provost’s office will bring any changes to our attention as well.

Chair Ellwood announced that Dr. Hissong attended the UT System Faculty Advisory Council (UT FAC) Meeting in Austin and that he will have more comments later during the committee reports. Chair Ellwood continued that there were other issues of importance to the Faculty Senate. One relating to the core that will be required of us under law SB-148; another involving the Handbook of Operating Procedures. He added that he wanted to read a couple of statements that have come out of the UT FAC and also the Texas Council of Faculty Senates (TCFS). Chair Ellwood then read Joe Stafford’s comments:

SB-148 deals with the 42-48 hour core and the "field of study" transfer curricula. Core Committee has met for most of the past year and has done it’s work… Institutions must now bring their core into compliance with criteria adopted last week. ["So, this is a done deal," added Ellwood.] The next phase will be to establish transfer curricula for various fields of study. [Ellwood interjected, "So that you all are aware now that this will be courses within specific fields of study that are required of us to accept as transfer courses."] I expect that the CB (Coordinating Board) will create committees from faculty in those fields with curriculum expertise and experience, but I do not know exactly how the CB (Coordinating Board) will proceed.

Chair Ellwood remarked that this is of concern to a lot of faculty groups in the State and included comments made by Professor Robert S. Nelson and attributed to Bill Sanford, a member at the TCFS meeting.

"…what the Coordinating Board was really listening to were the comments coming from/to their web page."

Chair Ellwood commented that one of the things that we’ve been asked to do is to alert Senators across the State and other’s of interest. He suggested that anyone who is interested, contact the Coordinating Board directly.

Chair Ellwood commented on another issue regarding the higher level core. He learned that each committee will probably have around six community college representatives, several non-faculty members, and faculty members with a maximum of three to four faculty members on these committees. Chair Ellwood questioned how these faculty members will be selected and suggested that we lobby our President.

Chair Ellwood then commented on the issue involving the Handbook of Operating Procedures. Apparently, there have been items that have been appearing in the Handbook of Operating Procedures without Faculty Senate or faculty governance acquiescence. It has been recommended by the UT FAC that all the senates or faculty governance groups in the State do something to prevent this. For example, he read:

"…only when the HOP (Handbook of Operating Procedures) or the policy contains language that says "no changes may be made without the approval of the FGA" [Ellwood added, "Which is the Faculty Governance Authority (FGA) because there are not necessarily Senates at other schools"]",or "all policies herein must be approved by the FGA," does the FGA have the power of veto over new policies or changes to existing ones."

Chair Ellwood added that this can be done unilaterally without even our knowing it. It was thus recommended by the UT FAC, that the Faculty Senate include something in it’s by-laws. Chair Ellwood continued that another suggestion was:

"The Faculty Senate has the responsibility of reviewing potential changes to the Handbook of Operating Procedures, Vol. II, according to the following: Consistent with Regent’s Rules, the faculty, through it’s governance body, the Faculty Senate, has the responsibility for suggesting, reviewing, and commenting on any revisions to Vol. II pertaining to general academic policies and welfare and faculty rules of procedure on a timely basis before they are approved by the President and sent to the Executive Vice Chancellor for recommendation to the Board of Regents."

Chair Ellwood recommended that we should perhaps consider putting something like that into our by-laws and also recommended changing the Handbook of Operating Procedures to protect us against grievance procedures changes, or other changes that may come out of the office of General Council. Chair Ellwood commented that these are concerns from different faculty organizations in the State."

Chair Ellwood also commented on the UTA visit of our President-elect to the Texas Association of College Teachers (TACT). The President-elect to TACT talked about what they provide especially coverage to faculty if one is sued.

Chair Ellwood’s final comment was relative to the Post-Tenure Review legislation. The final bill apparently had no penalty clause but what we are dealing with has a penalty clause. He stated that the penalty clause did not originate at the legislature; it originated according to TACT at System.

 

Remarks by the President

President Witt began by commenting on the upcoming legislative session. He felt that things were progressing quite well in terms of "the four System Chancellors working together on our comments and recommendations. They have reached an agreement . . . [which] will increase their effectiveness significantly." He also added that "In addition to the overall increase in the amount of money flowing through the formulas, there are two pieces of legislation that will be very important to us." President Witt stated that UTA, as a "top institution" is funded by the Permanent University Fund (PUF) for repairs and renovations. PUF, however, has been stretched financially and money is very limited. "Senator Ratliff and Representative Janelle have introduced a piece of legislation that will allow UTA to be included in the Higher Education Assistance Fund (HEAF). The bottom line is, were we a member of the HEAF this year, we would have 5.2 million dollars more to spend on repair and renovation than we currently have now." Support appears to be relatively broad-based. UTA will do everything it can to help insure passage of that legislation. "That magnitude of increase in our annual expenditure ability would be very, very helpful," said Witt.

President Witt also commented on another piece of legislation that he believes is very important to UTA: the return of all direct costs to the university rather than fifty percent of our indirect costs being deducted against our budget from the State. President Witt stated, "There appears to be considerable support for that piece of legislation…. The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has indicated it as one of their legislative objectives and are doing everything they can as a Chamber to support UTA".

President Witt also commented on another issue. "I was sharing with the Provost a few moments ago, that if one of the signs of a strong faculty and a healthy faculty is their willingness to communicate their honest thoughts to the central administration, I am pleased to inform the group that you are sufficiently healthy and that we are contemplating the cancellation of our healthcare system. While I say that jokingly, it is something to feel good about." He pointed out that many universities view this communication as a negative rather than a positive. Two motions on today’s agenda were discussed. "Senator Chrzanowski’s motion reminds us that faculty governance is the heart of the university. And I think we serve ourselves well to be reminded of that on a regular basis." Regarding Senator Beehler’s motion, President Witt said, "Several academic areas were looked at by the President and Provost. There was concern whether or not there was a critical mass of tenured faculty in Exercise and Sports. The number of tenure track faculty was found to be rather limited." Trying to find creative near-term solutions where a critical mass of faculty could be strengthened, "given the reality it is not likely we’ll be able to make any kind of significant infusion of tenure track positions," two directions were under consideration and/or exploration. "…Perhaps an affiliation with Biology or perhaps an affiliation with Teacher Education. I asked the Provost to form a task force, including departmental representation, to begin exploration first with Biology then with Education about whether or not a formal relationship, including the possibility of relocation of the area would make sense." President Witt stated that discussions had been held with several Deans and faculty members. "When Senator Beehler’s motion was received attached to the agenda, I detected that perhaps her enthusiasm for continued exploration might have waned a little bit. Whenever this faculty is considering a change that significantly impacts the community, it is important that we go slowly. Therefore, the process has been slowed down. Yet it is important that the process go forward, but that it go forward the right way." He added that the department faculty must be fully involved in the process and that he believed the time involved in exploring these options would be worthwhile. "We will be consulting with the UT System," he continued, "to find out definitively, in a technical sense, when there is a vote at the departmental level to convey a sense of their position, who does and who does not formally vote." He believes there is an equally important concern as to making sure there is "an opportunity for every member of that faculty to convey his or her perspective in a way that is comfortable for them to use, even if it means an anonymous non-binding vote." In addition, he feels that a distinction exists that the faculty members need to be, "in fact in that academic area" and that they are of that department.

 

Remarks by the Provost

Provost Wright discussed his recent publicity regarding his application for the position of President at the University of North Florida. If he is offered the position, he believes it is due to the support and efforts of President Witt for encouraging him to participate in many areas of the UTA community. He commented on President Witt’s efforts and progress for improving UTA. "UTA is a very good institution comprised of extremely outstanding faculty. We do many things well. However," he stated, "it is often the case that UTA is identified with the decline of students. We need to change that emphasis."

 

Questions for the President and Provost

Senator Cowan commented on the issue of increasing enrollment. He felt that raising admission standards to stricter standards will lead to improved enrollment. President Witt responded that the new, moderate, increase in admission standards for the undergraduate program "took effect this Fall." He added that his experience at other universities supports his belief that raised admission standards result in increased enrollment. He believes that, "The long-term future of UTA is tied with gradual increase in undergraduate admission standards with parallel strengthening of an already strong graduate program across the university." Provost Wright agreed.

Senator Clark questioned salary capping for mid-semester courses. She wished to know why that was done and what effect it may have on offerings for students during the mid-semester. Provost Wright answered that he believed the mid-semester courses could give some of the students an advantage in getting ahead toward graduation. He also stated that we have a very limited amount of money for mid-semester courses. A salary cap was placed in order to meet the needs of the students and not deplete all funds."

Senator Rycraft asked about the status on Senator West’s work on setting up a university in South Dallas. She wished to know UTA’s involvement with that. President Witt responded that UTA did agree to offer upper division courses where the demand was active. However, this offer was not pursued because it was believed that the area (South Dallas) would be best served "…by an institution that has an identity tied as closely with South Dallas and as little as possible with any area institution". With UT Dallas or UTA, it would be perceived as a part of the UT System and, therefore, as a branch campus. That is not what is wanted. … We are concerned, however, with how that may impact our enrollment."

Senator Payne was concerned about how the winter semester students will be counted for enrollment in the Fall or Spring semesters and the impact posed if students drop out. President Witt said that students enrolled in the winter semester will be counted in the Spring semester. "They will be included in the base period calculations," he said. He indicated that the May semester will not be included in the base period. "The public relations impact will not be favorable if they do not enroll or if they drop out… However," he added, "winter semester or May semester courses may appeal to students who are home for the holidays or summer and who wish to take one or more courses and get them out of the way." He believes students will be interested in "moving their graduation forward." Senator Payne asked how faculty were going to handle the courses and expressed concern about faculty "battle fatigue". President Witt explained that faculty would probably monitor their own loads and "should be able to determine if they are pushing themselves too hard."

 

Committee Reports

Senator Hissong presented information/issues/concerns regarding new regulations that were discussed at the UT FAC meeting held in Austin. In particular, he discussed the recommendation/resolution regarding the Faculty HOP which calls for specific policies to be considered. He also discussed the resolution which will establish a non-binding relationship with the Office of General Council. The feeling is that this resolution will allow the President and the Faculty Senate Chair "to communicate with somebody at the General Council to use them as a sounding board and avoid going to a lot of work getting a document passed and having it come back in our face with the new directions to make these changes." Senator Hissong also discussed issues dealing with distance education and the internet. He presented information regarding the UT FAC and the TCFS and their efforts to address issues regarding the core and curricula. He recommends that all UTA faculty keep abreast of the core and curricula and developing policies.

Senator Bradshaw asked Senator Hissong about "field of study" cores...if there was any concern voiced about the outcome of the lower core process. Senator Hissong discussed how the lower core process will possibly affect UTA. Senator Hissong added that lower colleges are currently not meeting senior college core course standards. Dr. Dana Dunn also commented on this issue.

Senator Amster asked if the Undergraduate Assembly had considered if the core would be redefined at the lower level in order to make it possible for students who had lesser quality preparation to progress up in our programs in such a way as to be prepared by the time of graduation. Chair Ellwood suggested that this was a question best answered by the President who was no longer available at the meeting.

 

Old Business

No old business was discussed.

New Business

A motion (and seconded) from Senator Chrzanowski, College of Science stated:

Whereas, faculty provide the core of the university, and

Whereas, faculty are responsible for the university's programs and quality, and

Whereas, faculty should have a voice in all decisions that affect the institution's programs and quality, and

Whereas, the Faculty Senate of the University of Texas at Arlington recognizes the indispensable value of faculty governance in all decisions relating to institutional programs and quality,

Be it resolved that

The Faculty Senate strongly recommends that adminstrators at all levels of the university involve the faculty in all stages of policy development and implementation when the policy directly or indirectly affects the university's programs or quality, or directly affects the faculty.

Senator Chrzanowski was asked why such a resolution was necessary. He responded that it was intended to serve as a reminder to administrators at UTA that faculty should be involved in policy decisions. The motion passed unanimously.

Senator Amster requested information regarding the regulation of the review of administrators’ actions or effectiveness. Chair Ellwood responded that there is a policy for the Evaluation of Academic Administrators. It contains a feedback clause which has been removed by OGC in order to make it a closed personnel issue not open to the public. However, he commented that "We are working on whether this should be put back in and send it back down to the OGC." Senator Bradshaw asked if this required a change in the bylaws. Chair Ellwood responded that it did not.

A motion (and seconded) from Senator Bradshaw, College of Liberal Arts stated:

Be it so moved that the Faculty Senate Bylaws of the University of Texas at Arlington be amended to read as follows:

V. MEETINGS

The Faculty Senate shall meet at least three (3) times each semester. A schedule of these meetings shal be published early each September by the President of the University. Special meetings of the Faculty Senate may be called, by the Chair of the Senate or upon request of one-third of the Senate. A SENATOR, IF UNABLE TO ATTEND A REGULAR OR SPECIAL MEETING, MAY DESIGNATE A FACULTY SUBSTITUTE FROM HIS OR HER OWN DEPARTMENT. THIS DESIGNATED FACULTY MEMBER WIll HAVE FULL VOTING RIGHTS. All faculty members are privileged to attend Senate meetings.

Senator Bradshaw commented that this resolution seeks to codify what has been an informal practice for a long time. "…. The senator, if unable to attend a regular or special meeting, may designate a faculty substitute from his or her own department. This designated faculty member will have full voting rights." A motion was made and seconded that this be considered at the next meeting. However, Senator Payne argued that this may encourage members to be absent from the meetings. Senator Porter did not agree. "There are times," she said, "when it is necessary that a member could not be here. A substitute, if properly briefed, should be able to vote and represent the department." Senator Schelly requested clarification regarding the designation of a substitute. Senator Amster suggested that members be allowed to select a proxy to vote from within the present senate members rather than from within departments. Senator Chrzanowski suggested that when senators are elected, an election of alternate senators also be held so that they will be informed on a regular basis as well as approved by their departments. Chair Ellwood stated that this would require a change in the by-laws. Upon further discussion, Senator Chrzanowski moved to Table the motion. The motion was tabled.

A motion on the Agenda for the meeting from Senator Beehler, College of Liberal Arts that read,

Whereas the Department of Exercise, Sport, and Health Studies has 307 declared majors, the fifth highest in the College of Liberal Arts in two discernible tracts (Bachelor of Science in exercise science and Bachelor of Arts in pedagogy and non-pedagogy); and,

Whereas the University has experienced a loss in enrollment of approximately 20% since 1991 and the Department of Exercise, Sport, and Health Studies has experienced an approximate similar increase in enrollment since 1991; and,

Whereas the tenured and tenure-track faculty of the Department of Exercise, Sport, and Health Studies are extremely concerned about:

(1) The administration's desire to move our department and its faculty and programs to either the College of Science or the Center for Professional Teacher Education;

(2) The process by which this has evolved;

(3) A misunderstanding of the nature of our discipline by the administration;

(4) The apparent influence of a threat by an external person in this matter;

(5) The right of the faculty to vote on this issue and the definition of voting faculty;

(6) The prospect of losing our departmental identity and the resulting problems with recruitment and retention of students and faculty if we are moved into the Center for Professional Teacher Education; and,

(7) The increased potential for eliminating our faculty and programs if we lose our departmental identity.

Be It Resolved that an appropriate committee of the Faculty Senate investigate this matter thoroughly.

was withdrawn.

Senator Rycraft presented a request received from Dr. Michael Moore for clarification and confirmation of faculty who can serve on the Post-Tenure Review Evaluation Committee. There seemed to be some confusion regarding if "all voting faculty can serve." A motion was made and seconded for a call to question who has the right to vote. It read:

I move that the Senate to affirm that its intent in developing Post-Tenure Review was that members of the Post-Tenure Review Committee should be elected by all voting members of the college or unit from a pool containing all voting members of the college or unit."

Senator Crowder commented that this was already covered in the Post-Tenure Review document that was developed last year. Senator Bradshaw stated that perhaps there was confusion between the Tenure and Promotions guidelines which address who can vote and the Post-Tenure Review Evaluation Committee guidelines. Chair Ellwood commented that the Post-Tenure Review document allowed members to be chosen by the voting faculty of the department. Senator Amster asked if there were two documents. She understood that there was a document that was approved by the administration that may not have been approved verbatim like what the Faculty Senate had approved. Chair Ellwood replied, "No, this is the correct document." Senator Maizlish asked about the pool of those who could serve on the Post-Tenure Review Committee. He asked for clarification of the pool of voting faculty as to all voting faculty. Comments were also made by Senators Maizlish, Ellwood, and Payne concerning the fear of having a junior faculty member serve on the committee because it could put the junior faculty member in a difficult position. It was also stated that the voting pool contained all voting faculty from the department. There was continued discussion regarding this issue. Ultimately, the motion failed.

Adjournment

A motion was made and seconded for adjournment of the Faculty Senate meeting. The meeting was adjourned.