West Texas A&M University

Faculty Senate Minutes

October 13, 2006



President O'Brien's Remarks:

The Grand Opening of the Fine Arts Complex is next Friday, October 20th.

The President's Inauguration will be on Saturday, October 21st .


Major initiatives right now are dealing with the budget request. The highest priority item is to maintain our current budget since the governor has proposed a 10% across the board cut on special budget items. The funding for the renovation of the classroom center is the second priority. Additionally, there has been a budget item submitted for the expansion of the STARR center so that more student services could be offered in that area and advising could be done for freshmen and sophomores. The Career Center might also move to the CC in order that student services are more centralized. There is a push for research on bio-terrorism due to the reliance of the panhandle economy on dairy farms and feedlots. There is an additional request for remodeling various areas across campus such as the art gallery and getting new equipment for classes.


The student athletic fee is another issue. Students passed the measure with 62% in favor and 38% against. The proposal would allow WT to support athletics without using student services fees and add approximately $1.2 million to student services and $400,000 per year for athletics. These additional funds would allow WT to establish a speaker's program to bring in nationally recognized speakers and would allow for improved student services and focus on scholarships. The athletics revenue would help WT meet compliance issue of Title IX.


Dr. O'Brien would also like to examine restructuring tuition rates. Rather than charging different amounts for Border States and non Border States , he would like to look at a tuition plan that would charge a different rate for full-time students. For 1-11 credits, it would be by the credit hour rate. From 12-18 credits, it would be a flat tuition rate. Nineteen credits on would be the flat rate plus an additional credit fee. The advantage of a fee structuring plan of this nature would be to encourage students to take a full load and to generate additional revenue.


The Strategic Planning process is ongoing and within two weeks the draft copy of the Strategic Plan will be widely disseminated. Dr. O'Brien would like students, faculty, and staff to meet and discuss the document and for the colleges and faculty senate to take a stand as to whether they broadly support the plan and get this feedback to the Strategic Planning committee. There will be two Town Hall meetings in November and one in December to discuss the Strategic Plan. After this feedback, there will have to be prioritization in terms of budget realities. The plan should be in place at the beginning of the year. This plan would be open to revision and change as issues and budgetary realities change.


In terms of academic affairs, WT needs to look at the core curriculum and decide whether it is doing what it is we want it to be doing. We should be led by what we want our graduates to have in terms of skills, competencies, and knowledge, and then make sure our curriculum gets them there. The issue of course scheduling and changing class times is also being discussed across campus and is at the proposal stage. Based upon initial discussions, a change has been made so that on Tuesday, Thursday there will be a time around noon set aside for student and faculty meetings.


A vendor will be doing a study to see if WT should have a location off campus such as in Amarillo .


I. Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 1:07.

Members present were Bill Ambrose, Syed Anwar, Sandy Babitzke, Chuck Chase, Gerald Chen, Susan Coleman (substituting for Harry Hueston), Jeanette Embrey, (Jeanette Embrey was also a substitute for Helen Reyes) Mary Jarvis, Cloyce Kuhnert (substituting for Robert Hansen), Frank Landram, Joshua Lewer, Jessica Mallard , Linda Mullins (substituting for Ian Peddie), Amy Newman , Bonnie Pendleton, Roselyn Polk (substituting for Mo Cuevas), Keith Price, Mark Riney, Duane Rosa, and Viswanath Nagalapura.


II. Approval of past minutes

The minutes of September 29th were approved.


III. University Committee vacancies

Nominations for current vacancies were forwarded to the Provost's office.


IV. Faculty reception

The Faculty Senate is hosting a Faculty Reception for President and Mrs. O'Brien on Wednesday, October 18th from 2:30-3:30 in the Hazel Kelley Wilson Room . Faculty are encouraged to attend.


V. Promotion and Tenure folders process

The question was asked whether faculty still need to develop multiple folders to have available at the departmental level even though only the primary folder is sent forward. Dr. Chapman indicated this should be decided at the departmental or college level. President Chase recommended we talk to faculty and department heads in our areas and be ready to talk about this at the next meeting. Each senator should bring forth input from their faculty and be ready to discuss it at the next meeting. Suggested policies on this should be emailed to President Chase before the next meeting so that he can disseminate them at the next meeting.


VI. Faculty Emeritus policy change

Dr. Anwar again brought up the issue that faculty need to have been gone from the university for a minimum of two years before being eligible for Faculty Emeritus. Dr. Anwar will be bringing a motion on this to the next meeting.


VII. Updated proposed teaching schedule

This was discussed by Dr. O'Brien prior to the meeting. This is at the proposal stage and some changes have been made to the initial proposal such as the student meeting period.


VIII. Strategic Plan input

President Chase indicated that faculty should continue to talk about the Strategic Plan. Psych/Soc/SW and Music/Dance submitted their comments on the current plan. Dr. Chapman has indicated that comments should be forwarded to the steering committee. President Chase would like the senate to put together a response that summarizes and organizes these various responses so that we would have a coherent response from the senate. An Ad Hoc Committee to address this is composed of Mark Riney, Bob Hansen, Mo Cuevas, and Mary Jarvis. Mark Riney will serve as the chair of this committee.


IX. Highlights from President's Council

The President's Council includes the Deans, the Faculty Senate President, and other VIPs. The Call for Course Proposals for Inclusion into the Core Curriculum has been disseminated across campus and was discussed. Departments and individuals should take an active role in recommending courses that they think fulfill one of the seven competency areas.


X. Other Business?

No new business was brought forward.


XI. The next meeting will be 10/27/06  


The meeting was adjourned at 2:15.

Respectfully submitted,

Jessica Mallard


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