West Texas A&M University

Approved Faculty Senate Minutes

September 16, 2005


I. Call to Order: Vice-President Rob Brammer called the meeting to order at 12:13 p.m. Members present were Syed Anwar, Joel Babitzke, Rob Brammer, Sharon Burnett, Mo Cuevas, Deborah Davenport substitute for Jill Hayes, Mary Jarvis, Cloyce Kuhnert, Frank Landrum, Jessica Mallard, Amy Newman, Ian Peddie, and Lorna Strong substitute for Charles Chase.


II . Approved the minutes from the April 28 and September 2, 2005 meetings.


IIII . New Business :

A. Committees need to cancel or reschedule their November 18th meeting due to a faculty social/conference with lunch for the Kilgore grant recipients for last year.

B. The Faculty Handbook Committee has forwarded a draft for continuation of tenure probation appointment and would like the Faculty Senates support. After some discussion a motion was made by Cloyce Kuhnert and seconded by Jessica Mallard to support the draft. A copy of the draft is included in Appendix A. The primary goal of the proposal is to provide some means for tenure-track faculty who have had an extraordinary circumstance to request a specific time-period extension on their tenure probationary period.

C. Vice-president Brammer presented guidelines for Faculty Senate Committees to follow. The primary motivation behind the guidelines is to help committees stay focused and active throughout the school year. The guidelines are included in Appendix B. Committee meetings begin in two weeks and these guidelines should be used.


IV. Presentation by Dr. Brian Chapman, Provost/VPAA:

Dr. Chapman's presentation began with a discussion of his current primary goals (1 – 2 year time frame) for WT and then moved into a Question and Answer session with the Faculty Senate. Notes on both topics are included in Appendix C. Dr. Chapman concluded by explaining his desire “ to make things happen for others”. His primary goal is to make a difference here at WT.


Faculty Senate adjourned at 1:13 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Sharon Burnett

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Appendix A - Draft for Continuation of Probationary Period


12.01.99Wl/AA   Granting Extension of Tenure Probationary Period


  Supplements System Policy 12.01



1.   West Texas A&M University is governed by the System Policy and Regulations Manual (SPRM). The University rule on granting extension of the tenure probationary period governs the university in local matters not detailed in the System Policy and Regulations Manual.


  1.1   Criteria for Extension of Tenure Probationary Period:

  1.1.1   Any request for extension must be based on "extraordinary circumstances."

  1.1.2   A faculty member must submit a written request for "extension of the tenure probationary period" to his/her department head. The request should state in detail the extraordinary circumstances supporting the request and include all relevant documentation. When necessary, the university has the right to request additional documentation. If approved, the department head will forward the request to the dean for his/her approval and on to the vice president for academic affairs, or the chief academic officer's designee for final approval. Any request for extension must be submitted sufficiently in advance of the deadline for tenure or reappointment considerations so as to allow adequate evaluation of the request.

  1.1.3   The request for extension may be made during the probationary period but before submission of the tenure folder. The tenure folder is due to department heads on September 24 of the sixth academic year for faculty with the rank of assistant professor or the fourth academic year for faculty with the rank of associate or full professor.


  1.2   Length of Extension

  1.2.1   Extensions may be granted for a period of time (usually one academic year), and require written concurrence by the faculty member, department head, dean, and the chief academic officer, or the chief academic officer's designee.


  1.3   Continuation of Tenure Probationary Period

  1.3.1   At the conclusion of the approved extension, the tenure probationary period automatically resumes according to the guidelines outlined in the Faculty Handbook, Appendix XI, Promotion and Tenure.


  1.4   Termination of Tenure Probationary Period

  1.4.1   After completion of an extension of the tenure probationary period, a tenure-track faculty member who is not approved for continuation of the tenure probationary period is given notice according to the procedures in the Faculty Handbook, Appendix XV, Evaluation and Continuance of Probationary Faculty.


For the purposes of this policy, "extraordinary circumstances" include catastrophic or life threatening illness, unforeseeable emergency, or circumstances of similar severity which prevent the faculty member from engaging in those professional activities required for tenure.

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Appendix B – Faculty Senate Committee Guidelines

Guidelines for Committees


a) Each committee is responsible for determining its task and to outline relevant issues to be examined.

b) Committee meetings are not optional.  Attendance should be taken and forwarded to the secretary.

c) Spokesperson.  This may or may not be committee head, but one person should be responsible for communicating requests to and from the larger senate.

d) Committees are strongly encouraged to bring their ideas/proposals to the full senate before acting.

e) Committee Quorums:

i ) Recommended before advocating change. (If a quorum is not possible, the reasons for overriding the quorum should be explained in the minutes.) 

ii) Required if the committee elects to act prior to presenting findings to the full senate.  In such cases, approval from the faculty senate president must be granted prior to acting.

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Appendix C – Dr. Chapman's Presentation  

Dr. Chapman feels that overall WTAMU is in a positive place specifically this is true in terms of financial strength and faculty attitude. His primary task at this point in time is supporting the process to select WT's new president. However he also has other tasks and listed the following and noted these are not necessarily in priority order but he would like to see them implemented within the next one – two years.


1. Raising stipends for graduate students – we are currently just below the state average but an increase to $11,000 would bring us to just above the state average.


2. Establish a base for PhD students' research and teaching stipend – other universities stipends will be explored to help in determining our stipend.


3. Look at all facilities by department and administration offices – this task has a threefold purpose: (1) to familiarize himself with the facilities (2) to meet as many faculty and staff members as possible and (3) to be able to visualize the needs better when requests for funding are brought to his office.


4. Raise per course pay for part-time instructor's – PTI's on campus currently receive less per course than a graduate student. His goal is to raise the pay per course to $3,000 and then adjust as needed.


5. Pay faculty for teaching overloads – some faculty are currently teaching overloads without additional compensation. Dr. Chapman would like to see overloads paid at the same rate per course as PTI's .


6. Include development courses in the budget – development courses are currently funded through several means but do not have a line-item in the budget.


7. Appoint a faculty committee to explore online courses and enrollment caps - the Dean's have been asked to provide a list of faculty for this committee. This committee would report to the Provost and would include both faculty currently teaching online and those who are not.


8. Realign the university college structure – a draft is currently circulating for this purpose. It is a living document and suggestions are welcome. His focus is to accomplish a reasonable alignment of colleges and departments with as little cost as possible.


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Question and Answer session

 Question # 1 Thoughts on Faculty Development – Answer: Dr. Chapman feels this is an important area but has not had a chance to evaluate the current environment but he does plan on doing so.


Question # 2 Role of Faculty Senate Committees particularly in the areas of budgetary concerns and salaries – Answer: Much of the budget is determined by the state legislature so sometimes there is not much leeway. Our current enrollment is down 1,100 student credit hours which will affect funding. In addition the state legislature recently required universities to reimburse a certain percentage of their 2003 travel account. WT's reimbursement was $52,000.


Question # 3 Inequities that arise between pay awarded to new hires vs. the pay of existing faculty members who have more experience – Answer: This inequity is a problem at many universities and some have specific items in the budget to address this. Dr. Chapman does plan on looking into budget funds to address this inequity. Faculty should be rewarded for teaching, research and service. Faculty who are performing in all areas should be rewarded not penalized.


Question # 4 Plans for the Core Curriculum – Answer: Because of a recent state legislature mandate, many degree programs must be reduced to the new maximum number of hours - 120. The Core is one place to reduce hours. Also Dr. Chapman feels the Core should be more diverse in courses that will meet the requirements. Many universities allow students more choices in their Core courses than we do.


Question # 5 Plans for increasing WT's visibility in the Panhandle and the threat of Texas Tech in the Amarillo area – Answer: WT has had its “light under a bushel” for sometime now and that should be changed. One way to do this is through developing strong relationships with community colleges which for us is Amarillo College. Dr. Chapman told of a program at another university where faculty went and met the community college faculty and even worked out degree plans that could be given to students showing the combined community college requirements and then university requirements. Students start thinking right then in terms of their degrees involving both the community college and the university. The transfer rate increased significantly after this program was put in place. Dr. Chapman would like to see the same program here.


Dr. Chapman feels that if we don't start addressing Tech's foothold into Amarillo, we will wake up one day to see that they have taken over as the university of the Panhandle.


Question # 6 Possibility of research or faculty fellows – Answer: Dr. Chapman felt this would be a good means to reward research and promised to remember the idea.


Question # 7 Lack of professional travel money – Answer: Dr. Chapman's goal is to eventually provide each faculty member with the means to attend one national and one regional meeting each year. However travel funds are a tough area.


He suggested asking the candidates about their philosophy on supporting professional travel and research during the university presidential interviews.


Dr. Chapman concluded by explaining his desire “ to make things happen for others”. His primary goal is to make a difference here at WT.

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