August 10, 2020

 

Printable Minutes


TAMU Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes
August 10, 2020
3:00pm
Via Zoom
http://facultysenate.tamu.edu
 
 
 
CALL TO ORDER
Speaker John N. Stallone called the third meeting of the 38th Session to order at 3:00pm.  Due to ongoing social distancing practices due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was fully conducted via Zoom.  Speaker Stallone began by reminding Senators of details of how to participate remotely via Zoom using the hand-raising, polling, and chat features.
 
GUEST SPEAKERS
Speaker Stallone welcomed guest speaker Dr. Carol Fierke, Provost of Texas A&M University.  Dr. Fierke began by sharing some updates:
  • Videos helping faculty prepare for the fall semester are available, including one with Senator Julie Harlin and one from the library.  MarComm has started a “Don’t Pass it Back” campaign about mask-wearing, directed towards students.
  • COVID-19 testing is in place; free testing is available for faculty, staff, and students.  The online sign-up goes directly to contact tracers who are active.  Her expectation is that the number of cases will rise when students return to campus.
  • The McAllen campus will start their classes remotely due to the high number of COVID-19 cases in that county.
  • Enrollment is higher than last year, although a decrease in graduate students is expected.  24.8% students have indicated they will be 100% remote; around 1600 students have not yet indicated their choice.
Dr. Fierke then invited President Young to give remarks to the Senate.  He began by extending deep thanks to faculty for the incredible effort put forth in the spring to get classes online.  He has received many calls from grateful parents, both for the continuation of classes and for the quality of the education. 
  • Summer classes saw an increase of 5000 students, an indication of the success of online classes this spring.
  • On the financial side, these shifts were expensive.  18% of the university’s revenues are from services such as food service and transportation, and these decreased dramatically.  $40 million dollars was received from the CARES Act, with 50% going directly to students. 
  • While the Governor has asked for a 5% budget cut, Texas A&M University is in relatively good shape compared to many universities.  Administration has asked Deans to use this opportunity to make structural adjustments as needed, without making major layoffs.  Layoffs have been low with Chartwell’s being the main exception; they have had many layoffs.
  • We were fortunate in the last legislative session to receive the requested equity funding; the recent request for a 5% budget reduction cut about two-thirds of this equity funding.  The Texas Tribune article was misleading about the financial cuts it reported.  Research and teaching are our primary missions and cuts to these would only be necessary if further cuts are demanded by the State.
  • In spite of these financial challenges, modest merit increases have been budgeted and there are no plans to walk these back.
  • Particular efforts are being made to protect faculty in classrooms when students return, including plexiglass shields, extensive cleaning, and adjustments to the ventilation.
  • Faculty have been represented as these decisions have been made; transparency has been very important.
President Young again thanked faculty, and Provost Fierke expressed her appreciation.  They then took questions from Senators.  Responses were also provided by Dr. Michael Stephenson, Dr. Jocelyn Widmer, Dr. Jerry Strawser, and Dr. Blanca Lupiani.   (The full video recording of the meeting can be accessed here on the Faculty Senate website.)  
 
Speaker Stallone thanked all of the guests for speaking to the Faculty Senate.
 
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
Dr. Jocelyn Widmer, Assistant Provost for Academic Innovation
 
Dr. Widmer provided her monthly update on the progress of implementing the new learning management system (LMS).  This included technical updates, migration updates, Canvas “by-the-numbers”, action items, the Big Splash update, and what’s next.  For greater detail, see Dr. Widmer’s slide presentation and notes.
 
 
SPEAKER COMMENTS
Speaker Stallone assured Senators that Senate leadership continues to work closely with administration to solve problems as they arise.  He thanked the administration for embracing shared governance in dealing with the pandemic, and wished a safe and successful semester for faculty.
 
 
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The motion passed to approve the July 13, 2020 minutes as distributed. Attachment A Passed
 
 
CONSENT AGENDA
The motion passed to approve the July 13, 2020 Consent Agenda as presented. Passed
(Full Consent Agenda with FS #’s can be found under Adjournment below.)
 
 
COMMITTEE REPORTS
STANDING COMMITTEES – SPRING 2020 REPORTAttachment B FS.38.076
Legislative Affairs – Angie Hill Price
 
 
NEW BUSINESS
MOTION – Attachment C – FS.38.077
Parliamentarian Dale Rice, presentation of motion to extend online voting for Faculty Senate meetings.
 
 
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Speaker-Elect Dale Rice convened the Committee of the Whole. 
 
Senator Angie Hill Price, College of Engineering, expressed concern that faculty are unaware of classroom capacity for the fall, and shared that there is a useful list on the Registrar’s website that shows the COVID capacity.  She encouraged faculty to check where their classes are scheduled and determine if the classroom capacity will work for their class.  If not, they will need to break their class into cohorts having them come to class on different days, even if it is a face-to-face class.
 
Senator Jorge Alvarado, College of Engineering asked about the status of Strategic Plan announced last year.  Dr. Michael Benedik provided an update.  Both are online at the Provost’s website.  The vision statement has been finalized and the strategic plan will be finalized very soon.  Senator Alvarado’s second question asked who would be monitoring student behavior outside of the classroom setting.  Dr. Benedik encouraged faculty, as community members, to remind students that they need to be following COVID-related guidelines for social distancing, masks, etc.  There is not an expectation that University Police will enforce these rules.  Dr. Michael Stephenson expressed that there is not an expectation that 100% of students will comply when outside the classroom, but anyone may feel free to speak out.
 
Senator Rob Mackin, College of Liberal Arts, expressed concern that during the summer protests on campus, many participants were not wearing masks.  He asked that the Executive Committee, or another committee, provide oversight to ensure public safety and civil liberties are both attended to.  Dr. Fierke shared that there were many police in riot gear inside the buildings at both protests, and she was in the Command Center, and it was deliberate to keep the riot police out of sight to avoid inflaming the crowd.  The cost to do this was $25,000, as they were paying overtime to the officers.  There was a drone overhead to be able to monitor the events.  She further shared that they have been talking with the UPD about creating an advisory committee that would include faculty and students, and expects that to happen.
 
Senator Angie Hill Price, College of Engineering, asked if there would be signs around campus reminding students of COVID rules.  MarComm has produced a campaign with sandwich boards and videos, and public service announcements are being made by the Office of Student Affairs.  Dr. Cynthia Hernandez shared they have also been messaging student leaders weekly about expectations, as well as placing signage in high-traffic areas.
 
Senator Julie Harlin, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, presented a letter to Senators sharing recent issues occurring in her college related to academic advising that exhibit a profound lack of shared governance by administration of the college.  Read the full text of the letter here.
 
Speaker-Elect Dale Rice expressed appreciation for Senator Harlin bringing this information to the Senate, and shared that the Executive Committee has scheduled a meeting to discuss these issues with Dean Stover. 
 
Senator Patricia Smith, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, thanked Senator Harlin for representing their college and offered full support for her statement, and thanked the Senate for taking this issue seriously.
 
Speaker-Elect returned the meeting to Speaker Stallone.
 
 
ADJOURNMENT
The meeting was adjourned at 5:01pm.
 
 
 ************************************************************************************

APPROVED CONSENT AGENDA for August 2020
GRADUATE COUNCIL
New Courses – Passed – FS.38.046
ANLY 601: Advanced Coding for Data Analytics
INTA 706: Cyberspace Implications for National Security
INTA 707: The Politics of Modern Egypt
PHEB 604: R Programming for Public Health Research
PHSC 610: Introduction to Biotech Drugs and Vaccine Products
PHSC 613: Laboratory Rotations
PHSC 622: Professionalism and Ethics in Research or Equivalent
 
New Courses – Galveston – Passed – FS.38.047
MARA 678: Service Operations Management
 
Change in Courses – Passed – FS.38.048
BAEN 601: Advanced Agricultural Systems Analysis
ECEN 638: Antennas and Propagation
GEOL 619: Petroleum Geology
NEXT 621: Teaching Gross Anatomy
PHPM 601: Foundations of Population and Public Health
STAT 624: Databases and Computational Tools Used in Big Data
 
Change in Courses – Galveston – Passed – FS.38.049
MARB 615: Coastal Marine Biology and Geology of Alaska
MARB 640: Ecosystem Functions in Marine Environments
 
Change in Courses – Inactivation Proposal – Passed – FS.38.050
College of Education & Human Development
Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture
EDCI 610: Second Language Assessment and Development
 
Change in Courses – Inactivation Proposal – Passed – FS.38. 051
College of Education & Human Development
Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture
EDCI 612: Bilingual/ESL Content-Area Instruction
 
Change in Courses – Inactivation Proposal – Passed – FS.38. 052
College of Education & Human Development
Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture
EDCI 624: Assessing Cognitive, Conceptual, and Fluency Structures Related to Learning and Teaching Mathematics
 
Change in Courses – Inactivation Proposal – Passed – FS.38. 053
College of Education & Human Development
Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture
EDCI 625: Teaching and Learning Mathematics with Diverse Learners
 
Change in Courses – Inactivation Proposal – Passed – FS.38. 054
College of Education & Human Development
Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture
EDCI 660: Research Investigating the Science Teacher Professional Continuum in Texas
 
Change in Courses – Inactivation Proposal – Passed – FS.38. 055
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences
VIBS 605: Chemical Hazard Assessment
 
Change in Programs– Passed – FS.38. 056
College of Education & Human Development
Department of Educational Psychology
CERT-CG5: Applied Behavior Analysis - Certificate
 
Change in Programs – Passed – FS.38. 057
Mays Business School
Department of Information & Operations Management
CERT-CG68: Business Intelligence and Analytics - Certificate
 
Change in Programs – Passed – FS.38. 058
College of Education & Human Development
Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture
MED-LDTC: Master of Education in Learning Design and Technology
 
Change in Programs – Passed – FS.38. 059
College of Engineering
Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering
MEN-INEN: Master of Engineering in Industrial Engineering
 
Change in Programs – Passed – FS.38.060
College of Engineering
Department of Engineering Technology & Industrial Distribution
MID-IDIS: Master of Industrial Distribution in Industrial Distribution
 
Change in Programs – Passed – FS.38. 061
College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
Department of Ecology & Conservation Biology
MS-ECCB: Master of Science in Ecology and Conservation Biology
 
Change in Programs – Passed – FS.38. 062
College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
Department of Ecology & Conservation Biology
PHD-ECCB: Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology and Conservation Biology
 
Change in Programs – Galveston – Passed – FS.38. 063
College – Galveston Campus
Department of Marine Biology
MS-MARB: Master of Science in Marine Biology
 
Change in Programs – Galveston – Passed – FS.38. 064
College – Galveston Campus
Department of Marine Biology
PHD-MARB: Doctor of Philosophy in Marine Biology
 
Change in Programs – Inactivation Proposal – Passed – FS.38. 065
School of Public Health
Department of Public Health
CERT-CG44: Public Health - Certificate
 
Special Consideration Item – Galveston – Passed – FS.38. 066
College – Galveston Campus
Department of Maritime Business Administration
CERT-MBAU: Maritime Business Administration - Certificate
 
Miscellaneous: Bulk/Mass Prefix Change – Passed – FS.38. 067
College of Education & Human Development
Department of Educational Psychology
LDTC (Learning Design Technology)
 
 
UNDERGRADUATE CURRICULUM COMMITTEE 
New Courses – Passed – FS.38. 068
AGEC 495: International Agribusiness and Industry Practices
CSCE 331: Foundations of Software Engineering
DHUM 433: Digital Humanities Theory and Practice
ECON 416: Economics of Microfinance
NUEN 428: Computational Fluid Dynamics in Nuclear Thermal Hydraulics
VIBS 102: Scientific Notations on Neuroscience Overview
VIBS 445: Learning and Applying Peer Teaching Principles in Biomedical Anatomy
 
Change in Courses – Passed – FS.38. 069
AERO 401: Aerospace Vehicle Design I
AGEC 285: Directed Studies
CSCE 310: Database Systems
CSCE 421: Machine Learning
CSCE 435: Parallel Computing
GERM 410: Seminar in German Literature and Culture
GERM 411: German Author and Genre Studies
IDIS 240: Introduction to Industrial Distribution
MATH 140: Mathematics for Business and Social Sciences
MEPS 313: Introduction to Plant Physiology
MUSC 226: History of Rock
SPMT 265: Professional Communication for the Sport Industry
 
Change in Courses – Galveston – Passed – FS.38.070
MARB 301: Genetics
MARB 303: Biostatistics
MARB 401: Physiological Ecology of Marine Mammals
 
Change in Courses – Inactivation Proposal – Passed – FS.38. 071
College of Liberal Arts
Department of International Studies
ITAL 451: Introduction to Italian Culture
 
Change in Programs – Passed – FS.38. 072
Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies
Department – AP-Undergraduate Studies
MINOR-ENTR: Entrepreneurship - Minor
 
Special Consideration Item – Passed – FS.38. 073
College of Liberal Arts
Department of English
MINOR-HHUM: Health Humanities - Minor
 
 
W&C COURSES 
Courses Submitted for W Certification – Passed – FS.38. 074
MEEN 404-W: Engineering Laboratory
KINE 439-W: Exercise Evaluation and Prescription
ESSM 315-W: Rangeland Inventory and Monitoring
AFST 324-W: Africana Social Sciences
BIOL 491-W: Research
ARAB 491-W: Research
MEEN 381-W: Seminar
 
Courses Submitted for W Re-Certification – Passed – FS.38. 075
PERF 461-W: Seminar in Folklore