West Texas A&M University
Faculty Senate Minutes
February 9, 2007
I. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 12:15.
Members present were Bill Ambrose, Syed Anwar, Sandy Babitzke, Chuck Chase, Gerald Chen, Susan Coleman (for Helen Reyes), Mo Cuevas, Jeanette Embrey, Robert Hansen, Harry Hueston, Mary Jarvis, Frank Landram, Joshua Lewer, Jessica Mallard, Bonnie Pendleton, Keith Price, Mark Riney, Duane Rosa, Theresa Trela (for Amy Newman) Nagalapura Viswanath, and Douglas Werden.
II. Dr. Chapman’s Report
Dr. Chapman was asked to speak about the core curriculum and the recent handout on promotion/tenure guidelines
- The coordinating board responds to laws made by the legislature. Right now the focus seems to be on the core curriculum. They have been monitoring the core curriculum for four year institutions and how they are using courses to meet the learning objectives of the core curriculum.
- There will be a basic redesign of the core curriculum that focuses more on how each course meets the required learning objectives. There is a proposal now being considered called the College success initiative which focuses on using increased technology to teach, and using student peer groups more so that students gain critical thinking through discussing a solution to a problem.
- Dr. Chapman said that our core courses are out of date and need to be critically looked at.
- Dr. Chapman mentioned that there is no law which defines or supports faculty academic freedom. Faculty often think they have rights under “academic freedom” but there is no law to actually support this.
- The Supreme Court supports academic freedom at the institutional level, but not at the faculty level.
- The case law in relation to faculty academic freedom says that the individual professor does not have the right to decide what is taught in his or her course. It is up to the institution. Because of this, for the core, the syllabi should be the same for the same course, the same book should be used, and the assignments should be the same. Online core courses should be the same in terms of these issues as their face to face counterpart courses.
- The house is considering House Bill 960 addresses some of these issues and states that a faculty member in a core course must adopt a textbook for a minimum of three years.
- There is also some discussion in Austin about assessment measures across the state that would be done for all students when they graduate
- The state is also looking at changing the funding formulas in relation to these assessment measures.
- One reason for looking at our core curriculum is to make changes to hopefully circumvent the changes the state wants to do such as the standardized test upon graduation.
- After these changes with the core are done, Dr. Chapman thinks there will be an analysis of the major courses and assessment of whether the courses are preparing our students for the jobs they will get.
Guidelines for Promotion and Tenure
- The ultimate decision for P&T is up to the board of regents. They look at the regional universities in relation to Texas A&M. They expect people to have a solid resume in all three areas – teaching, research, and service. They have turned people down who they did not think were strong enough in each of the three areas.
- There were two individuals this year that Dr. Chapman turned down for tenure because he knew they would not make it through the board of regents.
- This process is what prompted the guidelines suggested by Dr. Chapman for each department to use as a beginning discussion point. The guidelines will then go to the dean of each college and will be reviewed. The goal is that each college will be able to develop a common set of guidelines.
- For people going up next year, they should have some level of research because the three areas – teaching, research, and service have been in the faculty handbook.
- Once these guidelines are established across campus, the Annual Professional Summaries (APS) will be modeled to follow these standards. After that is done, they will establish standards for Post-tenure review.
- Dr. Chapman is looking into creating a category of “Clinical Professors” for faculty who work more in clinical areas, than in publishing research.
- Dr. Chapman stated that he hopes we will be innovative with these guidelines and make them work for the needs of each department.
“Shaping up WT” – Dr. Anwar
Dr. Anwar brought forth an article about Amarillo National Bank and how their employees get to use the fitness center for free. He advocates that faculty and staff should get free use of the Activities Center. Syed Anwar will be a member of a committee to look this over. Frank Landram , Mary Jarvis, Joshua Lewer and Mark Riney will be members of this committee.
Approval of the minutes
The minutes of January 26, 2007 were approved.
HB 960: Regulating Use of Textbooks Required for Core Curriculum Courses
Dr. Chapman referred to this some, but there is a bill that would require faculty to stay with the text they pick for three years in a core course.
A&M Chancellor to visit WTAMU and Faculty Senate
The Chancellor will be here on Thursday, April 12th. He will want to meet with the faculty senate chair and possibly all of the senators as a group.
TX Council of Faculty Senates: Spring Meeting 2/16-17
Please let President Chase know if you are interested in attending.
College of Business: Handbook/Faculty Evaluation
Neil Terry and Joshua Lewer shared part of the draft of this document with President Chase. Once the draft is complete, Joshua will share the document with the senate. The final draft will be brought to the next meeting.
FYI: Selection of an Integrated Marketing Communications Agency
This process is in progress. There were seven proposals that came in and finalists will be invited in the week of the 19th. The winning agency will be given the contract to market WT.
President Chase provided a copy of the university calendar for the next academic year.
A senator raised the issue of an equitable way to appoint faculty to committees. Jessica Mallard will look into this issue and report back to the senate.
A senator raised the issue of a plus/minus grading system and having more grade options rather than the large span of 80-89 for a B.
Next Meeting: 2/23/07
The meeting was adjourned at 1:55 pm.
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