June 13, 2011

June 13, 2011
3:15 p.m., 601 Rudder Tower
Present: Derya Akleman, Hassan Bashir, Michael Benedik, Joe Cerami, William Bedford Clark, Mark Clayton, Joe Dannenbaum, Walter Daugherity, Ron Douglas, Janice Epstein, L. Paige Fields, Norma Funkhouser, Fran Gelwick, Carlos Gonzalez, Ed Harris, Kim Quaile Hill, Shelley Holliday, Joe Jaros, Andrew Klein, Karen Kubena, Thomas Linton, Robyn Lints, Carol Loopstra, Patrick Louchouarn, Christopher Mathewson, Adam Myers, Brian Perkins, Karen-Beth Scholthof, Brian Shaw, John Stallone, Bob Strawser, Manuelita Ureta, Wyoma vanDuinkerken, Gary Varner
Absent: Ergun Akleman, Jorge Alvarado, Jaime Alvarado-Bremer, Carisa Armstrong, Perla Balbuena, Judith Ball, Maria Barrufet, Doug Biggs, Charles Bollfrass, Dragomir Bukur, Tahir Cagin, John Carhart, Gwendolyn Carroll, Jonathan Coopersmith, Richard Curry, Louise Darcey, Thomas DeWitt, John Edens, Gioia Falcone, Holly Gaede, Robert Griffin, Mariah Hahn, Gary Halter, Mike Hanik, Dirk Hays, Richard Hutchinson, Eluned Jones, Larry Kelly, Vikram Kinra, Rafael Lara-Alecio, Ming-Han Li, Paulo Lima-Filho, Blanca Lupiani, Igor Lyuksyutov, Vanita Mahajan, R.N. Mahapatra, Sam Mannan, Lanny Martindale, Kathryn McKenzie, Jeffrey Morris, A. Gene Nelson, Bo Norby, Weston Porter, Harland Prechel, Dale Rice, Dan Roelke, J. Maurice Rojas, Jorge Seminario, Kathleen Speed, Richard Stadelmann, Douglas Starr, Ramesh Talreja, Vatche Tchakerian, Elizabeth Tebeaux, Winfried Teizer, Mike Thornton, Lesley Tomaszewski, Grace Townsend, John Van Huyck, Jijayanagaram Venkatraj, Hank Walker, Wei Wan, Thomas Welsh, William West, B. Dan Wood, Keyan Zhu-Salzman
Call to Order:
Speaker Benedik called the meeting to order at 3:18 P.M. There were two senators from Galveston present via videoconferencing.
Speaker Comments:
Speaker Benedik stated that his first month as Speaker of the Senate has passed, and it has been an exciting month. He discussed that after Chancellor McKinney announced his resignation last month, the Senate EC wrote to Chairman Box about the process for selection of a new regent. Chairman Box asked to meet with faculty leadership and we quickly scheduled a meeting with him and Regent White. Speaker-elect Stallone and himself represented  the Faculty Senate, Terry Thomas represented CPI and John Gladyzs represented the Distinguished Professors. The group met with them for about 90 minutes and discussed both the Chancellor search as well as faculty concerns about all the other issues we see in the paper. Regents Box and White    both indicated that some of the qualities they seek in the next Chancellor include a high Texas profile, experience in fund raising, leadership ability, and executive management skills. The group expressed their belief that the Chancellor should have at least some experience with academic institutions and hopefully at a minimum would have earned a graduate or professional degree. Speaker Benedik said he believes they were sympathetic to this view.  The position announcement has been made public and the search is underway. On the TAMU System web site there is a request for nominations. You just need to go on line and provide the name and contact information of candidates you believe would be suitable. We were assured that they have no candidate in mind and they will take seriously all nominations.
Speaker Benedik noted during these past months there have also been a series of events concerning the GLBT community on campus. The Speaker said he would like to publicly thank General Weber for appearing at an open forum of Allies, GLBT members and members of the community. He spoke openly and listened to concerns from the audience and he posted a public statement on his student affairs web site. For any of you Senators who are concerned with supporting the GLBT community at Texas A&M, Speaker Benedik urged them to become Allies if they had not yet done so.
Speaker Benedik talked about the email he sent to the Senators requesting suggestions about issues appropriate for the Faculty Senate to consider, debate and engage with. He believes it is very important that we as a body decide what our role should be on campus and take charge of fulfilling that role. He stated that while he has a number of ideas, he would like to hear from everyone so he urged them to communicate with their colleagues and forward their suggestions to him or to the Senate office.
He reminded that Provost Watson has been hosting a series of brown-bag faculty discussions, the first set is on Faculty Excellence. Two sessions were held last week and the last will be this Wednesday at 12-1:130 in Wehner. He urged everyone to attend if they were able to.
Speaker Benedik then called on President Loftin to address the Senate and take questions. President Loftin observed that a “director of faculty opinion promotion” as proposed in the Chronicle of Higher Education is not needed here since the Faculty Senate fills that role. He noted that a recent poll by several major Texas newspapers asked people what should be cut to reduce the state budget; higher education ranked first in the responses, then public safety, then health services for the poor, and last of all public education; this shows that the public does not view education as a continuum from pre-K through graduate school, as we usually do. The average Texan does not have a college degree, and sees higher education as a private good which  should be paid for by those directly benefitting, with no realization of the benefits to the public, society, knowledge, jobs, etc.  President Loftin invited faculty to join him in finding more compelling ways to communicate our value to the public.
Speaker Benedik asked where we stand in the legislative session. President Loftin replied that unless the governor vetoes some items, which he does not expect, A&M will have about 40 million dollars in cuts and increased costs (unfunded mandates) such as the Texas Tomorrow Fund (TAMU must absorb the difference between the tuition put in and the current higher tuition rate) and new benefits for veterans’ dependents now included but without additional funding.  Concealed carry in campus buildings did not pass.  Incentivized formula funding would have penalized TAMU and UT since we   are already at the top in graduation rates, etc.; the Coordinating Board will study the matter and make a proposal to the 2013 legislature.
Chris Mathewson (Geosciences) commended President Loftin for wanting to promote public awareness of the value of higher education.
Kim Hill (Liberal Arts) asked what the Board of Regents and the Texas Public Policy Foundation are thinking right now. President Loftin said he was addressing that long-term, and that short-term the regents are paying attention [to faculty concerns]. For example, Regent Mendoza is the chair of the Academic Affairs subcommittee and she wants to hold hearings apart from board meetings about performance metrics. President Loftin wants to increase communication bandwidth with the regents so they know how well we are doing at the same time as we look for continuing improvements.
Bedford Clark (Liberal Arts) said 35 years ago when he came to A&M there was enormous good will from the public toward the faculty, but that has largely dried up and there is now suspicion and growing resentment.
Speaker Benedik thanked President Loftin and announced plans to have the president or provost speak at most Faculty Senate meetings.

The May 9 Faculty Senate meeting  minutes were approved as submitted.                   Motion Passed
                                                                                                                                         Attachment A
Consent Agenda
Senator Gelwick (Agriculture and Life Sciences) asked that CEHD 101 from Attachment C be removed from the agenda for further consideration. The remaining items on the Consent Agenda were approved.

GRADUATE COUNCIL                                                                                                      Motion Passed
New Courses - May 5, 2011                                                                                              FS.29.02                     
BIOL 609                           Molecular Tools in Biology                                                       Attachment B
ENGR 600                         Engineering Graduate Study Abroad
HORT 609                         Plants for Landscape Design II
OCNG 659                         Ocean Observing Applications
UNDERGRADUATE CURRICULUM COMMITTEE                                                         Motion Passed
Change in Courses - May 12, 2011                                                                                 FS.29.03                                   
ALED 481                           Seminar                                                                                  Attachment C                            NUTR 211                          Scientific Principles of Foods
Change in Curriculum - May 12, 2011                                                                          Motion Passed                            
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences                                                                   FS.29.04
Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications                     Attachment D
B.S. in Agricultural Leadership and Development

Special Consideration - May 12, 2011                                                                                                      Motion Passed

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences                                                                                                FS.29.05
Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications University Studies Degree        Attachment E
Area of Concentration - Leadership Studies
Request for a change in grade requirement


Texas A&M University at Galveston                                                                            Motion Passed
New Courses - May 12, 2011                                                                                         FS.29.06                                     
MARR 200                         Basic Operations                                                                  Attachment F
MARR 300                         Intermediate Operations
MARR 400                         Advanced  Operations
Change in Course - May 12, 2011
MARA 466                       Management Policy
Change in Curriculum - May 12, 2011                                                                       Motion Passed                               
Texas A&M University at Galveston                                                                         FS.29.07
Department of Marine Biology                                                                                     Attachment G
B.S. in Marine Biology-License Option


Change in Curriculum - May 12, 2011                                                                     Motion Passed                                 
Texas A&M University at Galveston                                                                       FS.29.08
Department of Maritime Systems Engineering                                                          Attachment H
B.S. in Maritime Systems Engineering


Special Consideration - May 12, 2011                                                                    Motion Passed                 
Texas A&M University at Galveston                                                                       FS.29.09
Department of Marine Engineering Technology                                                         Attachment I
B.S. in Marine Engineering Technology
B.S. in Marine Engineering Technology Non-License Option Request for a change in grade requirement

Texas A&M University at Qatar                                                                                 Motion Passed
New Courses - April 18, 2011                                                                                  FS.29.10                                            

CHEN 457                          Environmental Engineering                                            Attachment J                                   CHEN 476                          Applied Catalysis
W-COURSES                                                                                                            Motion Passed
W certification:                                                                                                        FS.29.11                                            ECON/WGST 318               The Economics of Gender and Race                           Attachment K                                  ENGL 412                          Studies in Shakespeare
HIST 445                           Modern Military Thought
W recertification:
PHIL 410                            Classical Philosophy
                                                                             End of Consent Agenda 

Unfinished Business
CEHD 101                          Learning Community Foundations of Leadership
Fran Gelwick asked that Barry Boyd be recognized. He said that the proposed CEHD 101 course appeared to overlap two courses in his Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications. Shailen Singh replied that he was the instructor for the proposed course and would be happy to discuss any concerns and modify the course proposal if needed. The course will be resubmitted when accompanied by a letter of support from the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications.
Speaker Benedik reported that Provost Watson recently said there may be an opportunity to reopen discussion on SLATE and to modify the program in such a way that the faculty are comfortable with it.
Clint Magill (Agriculture) said he doesn’t think it should be tied to class sizes. He stated that before people who taught small classes, which  supposedly is the best learning environment, were excluded. He also noted that we may need to include classes like 485's where students do research. He thinks we should think in a much broader sense than it was.
Gary Varner (Liberal Arts) asked why not use the money for SLATE to increase the Association of Former Students’ awards, since that is an established program respected for awarding teaching excellence.
Kim Hill (Liberal Arts) asked where the money for SLATE comes from; Provost Watson replied it is from the System.
Speaker-Elect Stallone urged that we seize the moment and make the program evaluate teaching excellence rigorously, to show that we take teaching seriously.
Clint Magill (Agriculture) noted that small classes were excluded even though that is supposed to be the best learning environment, and asked why even [independent study] 485’s should not be included. Regarding budget cuts, he reported that University of Illinois alumni were sufficiently organized to reduce their state budget cut to 0.5%.
Mark Clayton (Architecture) said he likes the idea of giving many awards, but he did not want the awards to be based on popularity. His college (Architecture) does exit polls asking “Who was your best professor overall?”
Fran Gelwick (Agriculture and Life Sciences) said one way to recognize different kinds of teaching and different class sizes would be a stratified design. Provost Watson said two things mentioned at recent fora were ideas from other universities: to ask what was actually accomplished in the class, and to create an environment which does not punish pedagogical innovation (e.g., are students more likely to rate a class higher if it is conducted in the way they expected).
Committee of the Whole
Speaker Benedik turned the chair over to Speaker-Elect Stallone to convene the Committee of the Whole.
Andrew Klein (Geosciences) reported that he is on the search committee for Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies to replace Pam Matthews, who recently “ascended” to Vice Provost. Nominations may be made at http://us.tamu.edu/associate-provost-for-undergraduate-studies and will be reviewed at the end of June, with interviews in July.
Kim Hill (Liberal Arts) asked that the agenda posted for each Faculty Senate meeting be more complete, issued sooner, list whether or not the  president and/or provost will speak, and provide background papers. He proposed eliminating cookies, coffee, and tea at Faculty Senate meetings and using the $170 per month saved to add to the Aggie Spirit awards.
Speaker-Elect Stallone said term limits for department heads will be discussed next month.
There being no further business to come before the Committee of the Whole, Speaker-Elect Stallone returned the chair to Speaker Benedik.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:17 P.M.