WTAMU Faculty Senate November 2, 2007

The meeting was called to order at 12:16. Substitutes for senators introduced themselves.

Members present: Harry Heuston, Sandy Babitzke, Gerald Chen, Perry Crafton, Robert Hansen, Frank Landram, Mary Jarvis, Kris Drumheller (for Mallard,) Mike Meyers, Michal Roberts (for Pendleton,) Keith Price, Darlene Pulliam, Marietta Branson (for Reyes and Embrey), Mo Cuevas, Duane Rosa, Amy Newman, Mark Riney, Jean Stuntz, Nagalapura Visnawath

Absent: Bill Ambrose and Syed Anwar

  1. Provost discussion of spring schedule issues:
    1. Reviewed history of need for the changes, relating to the loss of classrooms during the renovation of the classroom center.
    2. Not all department heads followed the requested guidelines for scheduling classes.
    3. 130 classes had to be rescheduled by the registrar at random because they did not fit in available classroom/time slots.
    4. Provost did not reschedule any classes to 7 AM.
  2. Faculty questions and responses from President O’Brien regarding the spring schedule:
    1. Possibility that Amarillo classes can alleviate the scheduling issues, however that does not address the spring 08 issue.
    2. Offer to negotiate special circumstances of faculty with child care needs.
    3. Possibility of adapting and changing the schedule as pre-registration goes forward.
    4. Exploring ways to accommodate students such as making entire core classes available in the evening, offer incentives for students to take early classes.
    5. President acknowledges that this is unknown territory for WT, and is open creative approaches to populating classes at “off-hours.”
    6. Expansion of daycare hours to help faculty adjust to expanded schedule.
  3. President O’Brien on the tenure and promotion:
    1. Grandfathering for faculty in the tenure cycle to criteria in place at time of hire. That is not his inclination. Rather, he favors accommodation of guidelines for those who have less time to achieve new standards.
    2. The reason is that as the mission and focus of the university is being retooled, the new guidelines are essential to adapting to the change. Posed hypotheticals of a faculty member who refuses to shift emphasis based on being able to proceed on old guidelines and the faculty member who is willing but needs time to conform to the new guidelines.
    3. Grandfathering does not serve the institution well, but flexibility of extension of time frame to achieve tenure during the “re-tooling” process is a better solution. This would be on a case-by-case basis rather than dissolution of the 6-year finite process.
    4. Tenure is based on past performance and future needs of the institution.
  4. Revised tenure and promotion and merit guidelines, dated 10/30 and 10/31/07 are to be distributed to faculty for reaction. Some discussion about alterations from previous drafts ensued. Comparison of outstanding is expanded to be a university-wide comparison. Minimum standards are to be defined in each area of evaluation, so that levels of outstanding and exceptional can be understood. These guidelines MUST be circulated to all faculty immediately. To consider the grandfathering issue and the “humane approach” that is offered as the alternative.
  5. DISCUSSION OF RETENTION: Gary Kelley and Cindy Barnes:
    1. STARR Center is focused on “persistence” as opposed to retention, helping students to recognize and realistically assess their potential in the university. Concept of central advising helps students by allowing them to be directed to appropriate sources of information. Interventions and alerts help the Starr Center reach out to students who are experiencing difficulties.
    2. What happens when a student is flagged: Type of outreach is driven partially by the academic schedule. After drop date solution lies in consultation with faculty member. Extenuating circumstances might allow a late drop, or encourage students to salvage the course, or focus on the other classes in the schedule and let one go. Problems can be academic, financial, social—sometimes the best solution is to leave school.
    3. Academic Fitness: identifies students placed on academic probation and tries to intervene to address the causes. One issue is students are afraid of or embarrassed to talk faculty, sometimes because of cultural issues and first generation college students.
    4. Efforts ongoing to find the needed resources to address and assist students who are at risk. Discussion of accountability of faculty in the process, the pressures placed on the issue by accountability measures, and success of IDS classes followed.
    5. Adding a transfer coordinator to facilitate 2-year college transfers. First targets are AC, South Plains, Clarendon, Frank Phillips, and Clovis.
    6. Greenlighting will be evaluated and software for helping with advising is coming. Also tracking students using the Starr Center.
    7. Gary reiterated the need for students to check WT email and take the NSSE survey if they are asked to do so

Motion: to approve Minutes from October 19, 2007. Moved by Pulliam, second by Rosa, passed.

Meeting adjourned at 1:58 PM.

Respectfully submitted:

Robert Hansen, secretary