Faculty Senate Meeting
University Center, Concho Room
October 6, 1999 @ 2:30 P.M.
Senators: Amster, H., Ardekani, S., Bredow, J., Cantwell, D., Clark, J., Courtney, H., Courtney, M., Cowan, E., Del Carmen, A., Han, C., Hanson, J., Imrhan, S., Jones, M., Kellner, H., Koymen, A., Maizlish, S., Maxwell, P., Millican, M., Morrow, E., Nestell, M., Nussbaum, C., Payne, F., Porter, L., Rasheed, A., Reinhartz, D., Reinhartz, J., Rycraft, J., Shipman, B., Silva, D., Watkins, T., Wilmore, E., Yardley, M., 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 April 28, 1999. A motion was made and seconded. The motion was approved.
Comments by the Chair:
Chair Moore called attention to the revised agenda and a draft letter related to electronic distribution of the Faculty Senate minutes. Chair Moore noted the Undergraduate Assembly has decided to distribute their minutes via the university web page.
Chair Moore also asked each Senator to complete the form asking for updated contact information. The Chair also reminded Senators that they would be forming committees at the conclusion of the meeting.
The Chair altered Senators to some of the issues that would be dealt with during the coming months. Among the issues are minor revisions to the Post-Tenure Review document, a request from the Student Congress to publish faculty grade distributions, continued work on the Review of Academic Administrators, and finally an opportunity to comment on the Standards of Official Conduct document.
Comments from the President:
President Witt noted that there are several major issues to address in the coming year where it would be very helpful to the Administration if they could distribute materials to the Senate well in advance of your meetings for comment and reaction. One example is the compliance document. The UT-System has mandated that each of the components will develop a compliance program. A compliance manual has been developed and it has been approved the System and we are charged with implementing it as rapidly as possible. President Witt indicated that he would like to distribute a copy of the document to members of the Senate and have their reactions to it. The document indicates not only the basic compliance material, but also the procedures that will be used using to provide training for faculty and staff. The training will be available on the web, so it will be equally accessible. The importance of compliance cannot be overstressed.
President Witt indicated that another example where faculty input will be helpful is in reaction to the Campus Master Plan which will be distributed in about 10 days. A committee of over 50 faculty, staff, students, alumni, and representatives from the community worked for the better part of a year putting that document together. It has been submitted to the UT System. The Presidentís office will be sending copies to all administrative offices, putting multiple copies in the Library. After the Senate has had time to review the document, it would be very helpful, I think, to devote a portion of one of the Faculty Senate meetings to a general discussion of the Campus Master Plan. Even though it is a product of a broad-based committee and meant to provide a blueprint for development over the next 20 years, having feedback that will allow the university to implement the plan in the best possible way would be very helpful.
The Presidentís office will also be distributing materials regarding the upcoming election in November. In that election, one of the constitutional amendments, Proposition 17, directly impacts higher education in the University of Texas System and the Texas A&M System. The short description of Proposition 17 is that it will change the way we are able to access funds from the Permanent University Funds (PUF). Currently, PUF currently stands at approximately seven billion dollars. It generates interest income and dividend income that flows into something called the AUF, the Available University Fund, which is divided two-thirds to the UT System, one-third to the A&M System. Proposition 17 would allow profits earned from the investments of the PUF to also flow into the AUF. The total amount that could be withdrawn in any given year from the PUF would be limited to seven percent. The impact at the end of the day for UT Arlington and the other components, and putting UT Austin aside for a moment for they would not be participating in this portion, would be the generation in the first year alone of in access of two hundred million dollars in bonding authority. Itís the bonding authority that you use to fuel construction and renovation on campus. President Witt did not anyone to vote a certain way, but rather asked that members of the academic community look at this material and come to their own conclusions.
Comments from the Provost:
Provost Wright indicated that he had been spending a great deal of time interacting with the Deans regarding their technology requests. The technology requests pertain to both teaching and research functions. The Provost noted that they would probably not be able to satisfy every request, but noted that he understands the importance of computing and need for faculty to have the latest technology to explore innovative teaching methods.
The Provost also noted that he was working with Deans related to their hiring plans. In the coming days we should be able to more forward to accommodate the timetables in various disciplines.
Finally, the Provost observed that he recently had the opportunity to address the Council of Department Chairs and Coordinators. He noted that much of the credit for stemming the tide of UTAs decline in enrollment belongs to the department chairs. For example, department chairs have come forward to make sure classes are offered at the necessary times and to recruit students who expressed an interest in attending UTA. Faculty also deserve a great deal of credit since students first interact with faculty when the arrive at the university. The Provost said he would like to commend the faculty for what it collectively has done rebuild our enrollment.
Questions for the President and Provost:
Senator Cantwell expressed concerns to the President about the use of social security numbers at the University. Senator Cantwell specifically expressed concerns related to privacy as it pertains to email, telephones, and voice mail. He recognized that there were many necessary uses of the social security number, but wondered if we might not be using it in too many instances. Senator Cantwell expressed his concern that in some cases that the recording of the social security number was unnecessary and required the individual to give up some of their privacy. He specifically asked the President the status of the use of SSNís on campus.
President Witt indicated that he would have the internal audit department look at existing university mandated used of the social security numbers to ensure the highest degree of security possible. He indicated that, in some cases, alternatives to the use of the social security number may not be possible. This is especially true for data systems required by the UT System.
Senator Cowan noted that he is sometimes reluctant to place his social security number on preliminary roles and other documents that can be seen by other people. He also wanted to know if the SSN was recorded on the MavExpress card. If so, he would like to see that changed.
President Witt indicated that he would look into the matter.
Senator Netsell commented on the issue of social security number and how it impacted his wife who was not a US citizen. He reported that Human Resources insisted that he come up with a social security number even though his wife was not employed. He was forced to obtain a SSN simply for her use here at the university.
Again, President Witt noted that he would investigate the matter. He was unsure if HR mandated the use of the SSN independently or if it was required in conjunction with another data system, such as the UT System health care plan.
Senator Cantwell noted that he felt this issue was serious enough to deserve deliberation.
Chair Moore indicated that he would follow up on the matter and report back at the next meeting.
There were no committee reports since this was the first meeting of the new year.
Chair Moore noted that a Senator Cantwellís motion related to Post Tenure Review would be forwarded to the Tenure and Academic Freedom Committee. He also noted that were a few other minor matters related to Post Tenure Review that required clarification.
Vice Chair Nomination Committee
Chair Moore noted that the departure of Brooks Ellwood requires the Senate to select a Vice-Chair. The By-Laws require a nomination committee be appointed. Chair Moore indicated that Senators Tom Chryznowski, Edith Barrett, Don Cantwell, Alex Carmen, and Jonathan Bredow have all been approached and said they are willing to serve. No other names were offered.
A motion was made and seconded to approve the nomination committee. There was no discussion. The motion was approved.
Ad Hoc Family Leave Committee
The next item of business relates to the Family Leave policy. Chair Moore noted that discussions over the summer revealed there may be some inconsistencies with how the policy is currently implemented. Chair Moore noted that he would like to appoint a committee to begin gathering information and make possible recommendations
Senator Porter provided additional information on the situation. She noted that you receive pay under the Family Medical Leave Act depending on the circumstances of the leave. For example, if you are adopting a child, you are not allowed to use paid leave, you are required to use unpaid leave. However, if it is the birth of a child, the birth mother can take up to six weeks of paid leave. This appears to be inconsistent.
President Witt noted that the campus is probably operating with the best of intentions. He also noted that there is wide variety of mechanisms currently being used and there is probably a need to address this situation as soon as possible. He also noted that he understood how a faculty member could feel very uncomfortable requesting a leave that they might really need.
Chair Moore indicated that Senators David Silva, Jeff Hanson, Elizabeth Morrow, Laurie Porter, and Joan Rycraft were willing to service. He also noted that he would like to have two members from the Staff Advisory Council serve since this issue relates to staff members. No other nominations were proposed. The motion to accept the nominations for the committee was made and seconded. There was no discussion. The motion passed.
Electronic Distribution of Minutes
The next item of New Business related to the electronic distribution of Faculty Senate minutes. Chair Moore called attention to a draft letter to be sent to all faculty and noted that the Undergraduate Assembly recently adopted a similar proposal. Chair Moore noted that it would be more efficient to distribute the minutes by posting them to the web and this would also save considerable copy and paper expense.
Chair Moore noted that the letter to faculty would inform them that the minutes would be available on the web. Faculty members would also be notified by a message that would be posted to the UTA Messenger. A copy of the minutes would also be sent to each departmental office for posting in a central location.
Senator H. Courtney wondered why the minutes were not sent to Senators via email. Chair Moore indicated that this is possible, but that it was a separate matter.
Senator Kellner suggested a different method by tried rather than using the UTA Messenger, since it is difficult to locate items in the Messenger.
Chair Moore agreed and indicated he was working with ACS to arrive at a better method of reaching faculty, perhaps via email. He further noted that there currently did not exist a single email list that would reach all faculty.
Senator Edward Cowan noted that some faculty who donít receive email at all, either by choice or by happenstance. He noted that in these situations the only way to learn about the meeting would be from The Shorthorn or from a hardcopy of the minutes. Chair Moore noted that is why he proposed sending the initial letter and sending a copy to the departments. He further noted that he was not trying to deprive anyone of the minutes.
Senator Shipman suggested sending each faculty member a brief hardcopy announcement that the minutes had been posted instead of relying on the UTA Messenger. Chair Moore responded that he was not planning on putting the minutes on the Messenger, only an announcement that they could be found on the web.
Senator Rasheed suggested that we could get the email addresses for faculty. Chair Moore responded that it would seem that we could get ACS to accommodate that. request, however, such a list did not currently exist. He indicated that he would ask ACS to work on this.
Senator Amster indicated that she did not see why faculty and staff could not read one statement by email. She also expressed some concern that the UTA Today and UTA Messenger were so similar. Chair Moore stated that he would bring this concern to Burl Henderson in Academic Computing.
Senator Kellner inquired about the specifics of the action taken by Undergraduate Assembly. Chair Moore noted that it was passed without discussion.
Senator Kellner moved that the Chair continue to develop possibilities and determine the most appropriate technical way to distribute the minutes and present the alternatives at the next meeting.
Senator Maizlish inquired whether we should expect the minutes to be ready and distributed before the next meeting.
Chair Moore responded that the minutes we approved at the outset of the meeting are already on the web. Senator Maizlish clarified that he was referring to the minutes from this meeting. Chair Moore indicated that they would not be made available to all faculty until they were approved at the next meeting.
Senator Cantwell indicated that this matter should be deliberated on and that he would prefer the minutes via email.
Chair Moore noted that he was his understanding that he was to proceed to distribute the minutes electronically and report back at the next meeting. The motion was seconded. The motion passed.
Program Review Committee Nomination
Chair Moore noted that the Faculty Senate needed to nominate a member to serve on the University Program Review Committee. The term of service is three years. There are 11 programs under review this year and this is a very important committee assignment.
Senator Cantwell nominated Senator William Crowder who was not present. The nomination was seconded.
Senator Porter nominated Barbara Shipman. The nomination was seconded. Chair Moore noted that Senator Shipman was present and presumably willing to serve. Senator Shipman asked whether she could serve as an untenured faculty member. Chair Moore indicated that she could serve.
Nominations were closed. Senators voted on the candidates of Senators Crowder and Shipman. Senator Shipman was elected to serve on the committee.
Senator Cantwell asked when the Vice-Chair nomination committee would meet. Chair Moore indicated that Senator Chrzanowski would contact the committee members.
Senator Porter asked that anyone interested in Family Medical Leave please stay after the meeting.
The motion to adjourn for the purposes of forming committees was made and seconded. The motion passed. The meeting was adjourned.