November 9, 2015

Faculty Senate Meeting
November 9, 2015
601 Rudder Tower
In Attendance:
Gamal Akabani, Ergun Akleman, Derya Akleman, Joe Arosh, Raymundo Arroyave, Judith Ball, Debjyoti Banerjee, Guy Battle, Domonic Bearfield, Leonard Bierman, Carlos Blanton, Joseph Boutros, John Buchanan, Christine Budke, Christian Cable, Tahir Cagin, Pat Campbell, Richard Carlson, Piers Chapman, William Bedford Clark, Walter Daugherity, Darryl De Ruiter, Mary Elizabeth Herring, Janice Epstein, Margaret Ezell, Alva Ferdinand, Jose Fernandez-Solis, Anthony Filippi, David Ford, Lisa Geraci, Kevin Glowacki, Melinda Grant, Ira Greenbaum, Julie Harlin, Greg Heim, Kim Quaile Hill, Brian Holland, Richard Hutchinson, Jon Jasperson, Daniel Jimenez, Mark Johnson, Trez Jones, Kathleen Jones, Cong Kang, Bita Kash, Claire Katz, Gary Kunkel, Jason Lindo, James Long, Charles Long, Blanca Lupiani, Clint Magill, Vanita Mahajan, Catherine McNeal, Beth McNeill, Stephen Miller, Miguel Mora, Leslie Morey, Christine Murray, Bimal Nepal, Bruce Neville, Calvin Parnell, Alexandra Pooley, Dale Rice, Eric Rowell, Laura Sare, Jordan Schweitzer, Ergin Sezgin, Robert Shaw, Mark Sicilio, Nancy Simpson, Joe Spurlock II, John Stallone, Bob Strawser, Robert Strong, Michelle Strong, Cecilia Tamborindeguy, Gabriela Thornton, Grace Townsend, Kim Vy-Tran, Nancy Turner, Gretchen Tyson, Jyotsna Vaid, Evan Vestal, Hank Walker, Coran Watanabe, Jaye Weston, Richard White, Matthew Whiteacre, Jim Woosley
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 3:18pm.
Guest Speaker
Speaker Comments
The Speaker asked Mr. Jim Snell to address concerns regarding ecampus.  He provided an update on e-learning issues from beginning of semester; he recognized that ecampus is a mission critical operation, with very high priority, and that they spend large amounts of time making sure that system is up and running; they have 2 nodes with redundant databases etc.  It is important to ITS that ecampus is up and running as they understand the importance it has for the students and faculty that use the system. In July there was an upgrade to our system; they used one that had been out for over 6 months with 2 patch systems, and felt it was a stable release.  They engaged the vendor to do a performance review prior to the semester start- looked at settings and configurations, and they felt it was ready for Fall semester. After the semester started, it became obvious that there were problems. The first week is always busy, but they saw more problems than normal that first week. Random nodes, never necessarily the same, would spike with very high CPU usage causing people on those nodes to experience terrible response time or log-in error messages. If no another node, performance was adequate. They used current engagement with consultants for guidance to fix situation, but it became apparent that they were not getting anywhere. The situation was elevated to a tier 3 support issue with daily meetings with vender, fulltime IT help, and TAMU provided them with data. They found that they had programming problems and provided TAMU with 3 specific patches to the software based on the problems they found with analysis of the data provided. The campus started seeing relief from high CPU processes, then started having network problems, and anyone on system would see problems. They began working with central IT to pinpoint root cause of communication issues. The vendor provided additional configuration settings and things got better. There have been 3 weeks with no performance calls or issues reported to help desk, except this morning a problem with infrastructure arose; their corrective actions from a component going down in one of the servers over the weekend caused issues with our system. This didn’t affect the entire system; only about 3 nodes were affected, but were back up and running in 30 minutes or so. They are trying to catch issues as soon as possible and alert the help desk as soon as possible so they can answer students. ITS is working closely with their colleagues in Central IT. ITS takes responsibility for the situation.  He felt like they have  addressed issues from early on in the semester, working to ensure that resources are as stable as possible, and that they monitor these so real time can be collected from the nodes. He expressed confidence that they have addressed everything that they can up to this point, and doesn’t expect issues for this rest of this semester and year.   Senator Daugherity expressed concern about the distributed independent administrative structure. He inquired if ITS has a problem with networking and networking has problem with Provost IT Office, are the different directors/managers peers or is there a chief information officer to help coordinate? Mr.  Snell replied that they all have a good working relationship, and are getting good cooperation. Senator Jimenez asked if Mr. Snell thought that it’s right to have this sitting aside other machines that are running less critical things that are interfering with the application.  Mr. Snell agreed that this was a problem and that he is working on getting them separated.
Dr.  Stephenson issued a plea for faculty to turn out for open campus forums for the Dean of Faculties candidates. These are held in  Rudder 601,  and if it cannot be attended in person, the sessions are being streamed. Any questions can be emailed  to
Approval of October 12, 2015 Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes
Approval of October minutes tabled for December 2015 meeting.
Consent Agenda
October 1, 2015                        
New Course Request
PSYC 640              Personality Psychology
PSYC 696              Principles and Methods for Teaching in Psychology
Attachment B
Motion Passed
Change Course Request
FREN 601             Introduction to Scientific French
GERM 603           Introduction to Scientific German
PHEO 601             Principles of Basic Medical Sciences
PHEO 605             Chemical Hazard Risk Assessment
PHEO 610             Basic Environmental Toxicology
PHPM 606           Health Systems Management
PHPM 614           Strategic Planning and Marketing
PHPM 616           Introduction to Management or Human Resources
PHPM 617           Health Care Quality Evaluation and Utilization Management
PHPM 620           Operations Management  
PHPM 623           Health Care Financial Management I
PHPM 633           Health Law and Ethics
PHPM 640           Health Policy and Politics
PHPM 661           Introduction to Health Economics
PHPM 668           Applied Health Services Research
PHPM 680           Health Systems Leadership
PSYC 622              Emotions: Neuroscience, Cognitive, and Social Approaches
Attachment C
Motion Passed
Change in Curriculum
                School of Public Health
                        Master of Health Administration
                                  Request for courses to have variable course credit hours
Attachment D
Motion Passed
New Courses – October 2, 2015
AFST 398              Africana Cinema
AGEC 223             Establishing Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Networks I
AGEC 423             Establishing Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Networks II
ANSC 215             Introduction to Livestock Evaluation
BAEN 431             Fundamentals in Bioseparations
BIOL 462               Amazon River Tropical Biology
CHEN 431             Fundamentals in Bioseparations
FILM 349              Documentary Cinema
FILM 398              Africana Cinema
HORT 416             Understanding Wine: From Vines to Wines and Beyond
PHLT 432              Human Factors and Ergonomic Health and Safety
PHLT 433              Industrial Inspections and Audit Techniques
PHLT 434              Project Cost Benefit and Economics
WFSC 462            Amazon River Tropical Biology
Attachment E
Motion Passed
Change in Courses
AGSC 425             Learner Centered Instruction in Agricultural Science
AGSC 436             Professional Teaching Internship in AGSC
AGSC 481             Seminar
AGSC 484             Field Experience
HORT 306             Woody Ornamental Plants
HORT 308             Landscape Plant Materials
OCNG 252           Oceanography Laboratory
NRSC 311             Comparative Psychology
PSYC 311              Comparative Psychology
Attachment F
Motion Passed
Change in Curriculum
                College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
                      Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication
    BS in Agricultural Sciences – Teaching Option
Attachment G
Motion Passed
Change in Curriculum
                Mays Business School
                      All undergraduate degree programs
Attachment H
Motion Passed
Change in Curriculum
                College of Liberal Arts
                      Department of International Studies
                            BA in International Studies
                                  International Communication and Media Track
Attachment I
Motion Passed
Change in Curriculum
                College of Liberal Arts
                      Department of International Studies
                            BA in International Studies
                                  Environmental Studies Track
Attachment J
Motion Passed
Change in Curriculum
                College of Liberal Arts
                      Department of International Studies
                            BA in International Studies
                                  International Geographic Information System Track
Attachment K
Motion Passed
Change in Curriculum
                College of Liberal Arts
                      Department of International Studies
                            Minor in Arabic Studies
Attachment L
Motion Passed
Special Consideration Item
                College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
                      Department of Agricultural Economics
                            Minor in Agribusiness Entrepreneurship
                                  Request for a new minor
Attachment M
Motion Passed
New Courses (from September 2015 UCC Meeting)
ESSM 461     Spatial Databases for Data Storage, Manipulation and Analysis
Attachment N
Motion Passed
Change in Curriculum (from September 2015 UCC Meeting)
                College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
                      Department of Ecosystem Science and Management
                          BS in Spatial Sciences
Attachment O
Motion Passed
Change in Curriculum (from September 2015 UCC Meeting)
                College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
                      Department of Ecosystem Science and Management
                          Minor in Spatial Sciences
Attachment P
Motion Passed
W-COURSES   - Report October 7, 2015
Courses submitted for W certification
RELS 491                               Research
RPTS 401                              Tourism and Recreation Enterprises
WFSC 481                            Seminar in Wildlife & Fisheries Science
Courses submitted for C certification
NUTR/FTSC 491                 Undergraduate Research and Communication
Courses submitted for W recertification
DCED 301                             Dance History
DCED 401                             Dance Pedagogy
FREN 336                             Contemporary France
GEOL 311                             Principles in Geologic Writing
KNFB 416                             Middle & Secondary School Kinesiology
MAST 425                            Thesis and Technical Writing
MUSC 312                           Music in Modern Western Culture
SOCI/RPTS 404                  Sociology of Community
SOCI 230                              Classical Sociological Theory
WFSC 484                            Internship
Attachment Q
Motion Passed
__________________________________End of Consent Agenda____________________________________
Core Curriculum Council Report- from September 9, 2015
Attachment R
Motion Passed
Core Curriculum Council Report- November 2, 2015
Attachment S
Motion Passed
SEBAC Committee Report: Senator Daugherity provided a brief overview of the more recent SEBAC Committee meeting. Enrollment in Dental PPO has increased while HMO decreased. Vision coverage has also increased. For fiscal report for last academic year (through August), expense of about 2 million dollars out of our premiums to go to ACA, but this should go down. A&M is self-insured, but Blue Cross is just an administrator which is paid administrative fees. A&M used $ 10 million to keep premiums going up.  The year ended 2.7% in the black, which is good.  Life insurance and accidental death & dismemberment outgoing payments exceeded premiums. Fluctuation from year to year is normal, but at some point premiums will likely go up.  Compared to national average, the premiums still went up 7.9%, almost double national average, although at a much lower point when considering overall dollar amount. The state contribution helps cover most of it.  The average premium for A&M on par with national average.  The System is rolling out a new cell phone app, giving the ability to check my wellness incentive status.
Informational Review Items
Unfinished Business
BIOL 645 from Attachment B- There are virology faculty who should have signed off on this particular course as they offer very similar courses. The senator asked that the committee get input from Virology faculty, and ask that the course be submitted correctly as well (i.e. minimum syllabus requirements). Motion to send back to committee by Senator Daugherity, seconded by Senator Parnell, approved by vote of the Senate.
PHEB 617 from Attachment B- Senator Daugherity noted the same issue with the way course description starts. He wanted to remind the Graduate Council to do it right the first time. He moved to send it back, and Senator Parnell seconded.  The motion was approved.
Old Business     
Proposed Revisions to Student Rule 1
Attachment T
Motion Passed
Proposed Revisions to Student Rule 5
Attachment U
Motion Passed
Proposed Revisions to Student Rule 8
Attachment V
Motion Passed
Proposed Revisions to Student Rule
Attachment W
Motion Passed
Proposed Revisions to Student Rule 10.14.4
Attachment X
Motion Passed
Proposed Revisions to Student Rule 17
Attachment Y
Motion Passed
New Business
Posthumous Degree Candidate- CONFIDENTIAL
Attachment Z
Motion Passed
Information Only
Speaker Comments
Speaker Strawser welcomed Senator Katz and Senator Stallone as newly elected members of the Executive Committee.
Speaker Strawser reminded the Senate that he meets monthly with President Young and with Chancellor Sharp, and that he is seeking suggestions of topics that Senators would like him to bring up with them since they always ask what are the concerns of the Faculty Senate.  Senator Parnell pointed out the difficulties with administrators at Missouri, and that in his opinion those administrators did not have experience with shared governance. He suggested that the Senate come up with a synopsis of what has been done related to shared governance. Speaker Strawser noted that the A&M administration does ask for, wants and does consider whatever issues the Speaker brings to them. He stated that it is his job as Speaker to argue for the faculty position on a topic, but once a decision is made, it is his and the Senate’s job to advocate for making whatever decisions they’ve made work (example: Guns on campus; it’s a state law and we need to do our best to work within the confines of this).  Speaker Strawser wants to spend part of every meeting talking about what issues the Senate wants to have taken to the administration. Senator Parnell stated that more publicity regarding what is going on between Faculty Senate and administration is desirable in order to show that we DO have a shared governance position. Speaker Strawser also meets with the executive committees of the CPI and DPs to share ideas that way too for perspective and he can bring back to the Senate any issues there. One issue, which has the support of CPI, is a concern that researchers on campus with funded research are well represented via CPI, but there are groups that aren’t in funded research that need representation as well. Working with CPI and the Senate’s research committee, Senator Margaret Ezell is heading a task force to set up a parallel organization so that group can have access to administrators.
Senator Arroyave expressed an issue with the way the survey on guns on campus was implemented. He did not think that the committee will have a lot of actionable information because of way it was designed. Difficult to extract valuable information. Poorly designed and don’t think I’m the only one that thinks that as a bunch of faculty have shared similar opinions. Speaker Strawser replied that if anyone has specific suggestions, that they should be sent to him or to Kelly Drake, the Senate assistant. Provost Watson expressed concern that qualitative research was not valued in this respect as there are some of the best qualitative researchers on this campus. A question was raised as to why the survey was done at all.  Vice Provost Benedik, who is on the committee replied that the legislation requires that the university staff, faculty, and students must be asked certain questions,  so the survey was specifically written to meet this requirement. He pointed out that there was no way to write the questions in a quantitative way without completely biasing the survey. The committee members, which include faculty, decided it was best to leave the survey  open ended and let people provide whatever comments they want to give, and that the committee members would spend the time to analyze the responses   Dr. Stephenson addressed the Senate on this issue; he explained that quantitative wasn’t the way to go if the University wanted to meet specifications. There are researchers looking at the data from line to line and making sure that nothing is overlooked. They are on a tight timeline to get this done and working as fast as possible.  They plan to get the information to the committee in December so they have time to consider it. Vice Provost Benedik noted that the law prohibits certain things. The survey was an attempt to gather opinions. Law does say how we can implement the law on campus by designating safe spaces. There is a broad committee with no pre-determined outcome at this point. Senator Daugherity announced that there was still until 1 minute before midnight to take survey.  Senator Jimenez stated that maybe the president can make sure that the survey is designed using best practices, and could include statement of how survey was designed so that the participants can feel good about the survey they are taking.
Senator Jasperson initiated a discussion on transportation issues.  He asked how to have access to Raymond Stotzer from the parking lot on west campus, which is creating traffic jams. With the apartments, some of streets not as wide as it needs to be for bus traffic. There needs to be some examination of safety for buses swinging wide to make corner etc. Pedestrian and bicycle traffic is all over the place, partly because of construction but designated paths from the White Creek  apartments to main campus could use improvement. He also pointed out that some faculty and staff have to get there in their cars. He is concerned that there is a huge potential for accidents, and hopes the transportation committee is monitoring the situation.  A discussion followed regarding bicycles on sidewalks and crosswalks.  He noted that there are a number of places on campus where safety is a concern. Several Senators expressed concern about the same issues, and Senator Hill noted that, though there are dismount zones on campus, they are not being enforced.
Speaker Strawser said that he will continue to ask for input in this forum throughout the year.
Committee of the Whole
Senator Daugherity, Engineering- Data breech of SSN- promptly filed affidavit of identity theft when suspected it was stolen, and then again when found out that it was stolen. He incurred a two cent fine because an IRS payment wasn’t accepted on time, but they agreed to waive the fee. Some colleagues have not been so lucky, and when the IRS accepted a corrected return, it has huge late fees attached to it. Three Senators indicated that they are still having problems.   Senator Hill- identity was stolen; he recommended using US Senator John Cornyn’s office to help,  who had a more friendly way to file a claim; he was connected with rep to whom he could speak to on the phone from Taxpayer’s Assistance Division,  and she cut through paperwork and got problem solved which included two different estimates of what he owed, but was able to work with her and get it eventually solved. Senator John Cornyn’s website has a link for you to fill out.
Senator Hill revisited the question about who is in charge of landscaping for the integrity of trees and plants. Through some digging, communicated with Bill Cox and he didn’t know the answer at first, but came back with 2 answers. Senator Hill advised the Senate members if they  see an issue where grounds problems appear to arise that is because of staff of the SSC, they should communicate with University’s outsourcing office-, an email that everyone in the office reads. Other issues, like vehicles parking under trees, contact transportation services. There is a parking enforcement dispatch phone number. It was his experience that the caller must convince the dispatcher that someone is doing something wrong, and then they respond quickly. There is a remaining question about whether university should get recertified as tree campus, but that’s a different matter/conversation. Speaker Strawser noted that in his last conversation with President Young, the President made a specific reference to wanting to see more green space on campus.
Speaker Elect Bierman announced that in March 2016, the Senate would be holding the annual joint meeting with the UT Faculty Council, and they are coming here. He requested that if the Senators have any ideas or thoughts along those lines, please let him know. He wanted to make sure that the meeting is substantive, as it is an important collaboration between two flagship universities.
The meeting adjourned at 4:31pm.