April 8, 2019

Printable Minutes 

TAMU Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes

April 8, 2019
Rudder 601
Speaker Harlin called the meeting to order at 3:15pm.
Speaker Harlin introduced guest speaker Michael K. Young, TAMU President. 
Michael Young, TAMU President
President Young shared the current focus of the administration:
  • Student Success Initiative: outcomes are very good compared with those in Texas; monitoring retention, graduation rates; recommendations forthcoming; will implement some this fall; hope for small class section for each student to be implemented as possible; data to determine if what is instituted make a difference, as well as any complications; appreciation to those involved; specifics forthcoming.
  • Incoming class: applicant pool increased by 20% this year; more completed applications than total applications in previous years; demonstrated understanding why A&M is remarkable; out of state applications increased 26%
  • Legislature: formula funding stable in House, increased in Senate; helpful to University; pressed for equity funding; per student funding is not as high as in 2008, a relative low point in state history; schools that are growing have a net decrease/student; schools that are not growing have a decline in net revenue; UT got 55 million, and we said, “Us, too!”  UT’s FTE funding is $800/student more, and it’s not fair to deincentivize decreasing or stable enrollment; House is supportive, Senate does not typically like special funding;
  • $700,000/$10,000,000 research funding;
  • Hazelwood $23 million in funding, 3 million for vets, 20 million for descendants; a 500/student tax to pay for subsidizing an unfunded state obligation; cost to A&M increased 3 million/year, as we have more veteran students and dependents here;
  • Special requests for TRB; teaching lab building as teaching facilities in sciences are inadequate; some possibility there will be TRB; TMC 3 in Texas Medical Center to be part of major research facility; Baylor, UT MD Anderson, UT Southwestern, and Texas A&M;
  • Attentive to free speech; by any legal standard, TAMU is doing well, the only school in Texas with across the board green lights, welcoming diverse views;
This May, TAMU will graduate our 500,000th student; of that 500,000, over half have graduated since 1997. Young and robust alumni base. 
President Young then fielded questions.
Jorge Alvarado, College of Engineering
Senator Alvarado asked about UT Austin getting $100 more per FTE: what are the underlying reasons for this?  President Young responded that it mostly has to do with equity funding.
Clint Magill, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Senator Magill asked if the University is taking more students since there are more applicants.  President Young answered that we are trying to hold at current level while the distance locations like Galveston and McAllen are set to grow.  Our goal is to right size our faculty, classrooms, student affairs, and support services to meet current demands; on track to meet $3.4 billion in capital campaign which will help graduate growth through stipends.
Adam Kolasinski, Mays Business School
Senator Kolasinski followed up asking if the quality of the applicant pool has stayed the same or improved.  President Young replied that the growth seems to be at the top end of the pool. 
Dan Collins, College of Science
Senator Collins asked if the Thursday football game in September is going to be a regular occurrence.  President Young shared it is a desirable time slot and as we have gotten it twice, we are unlikely to get it again.  If we do, he is not coming to speak to the Senate!
Speaker Harlin thanked President Young for speaking to us. She then welcomed Dean Andy Morriss from the School of Innovation to the podium.
Andy Morriss, Dean, School of Innovation
Andy Morriss briefly shared the genesis of the School of Innovation, whose goal is making it easier to collaborate across interdisciplinary lines.
  • Innovation X; based on Duke and Stanford.  Funded six at $125,000.
  • Maroon base; app based program to inventory all programs on campus; students can check into event and get points toward scholarship; platform can accommodate more than I school; thus, Corps, etc. will use it.
  • Commercialization seminars.
  • Recruited Law firm to provide pro bono services.
  • Database called Patent Vector.
  • Licensed and produced new materials.
  • Joined MIT founded consortium with Michigan, Indiana and other’s planform to share resources across labs.
  • Aggie Forum to take ideas forward.
  • Pilot program with Johnson & Johnson leadership.
  • Hosting Entrepreneurism minor.  
Dean Morriss distributed a School of Innovation flyer and opened the floor to questions.
Jorge Alvarado, College of Engineering
Senator Alvarado asked what percentage of faculty members and students have been engaged.  Dean Morriss was unsure but knew it has been small and is growing.  Senator Alvarado followed up by asking if the I School is working with Colleges not to duplicate efforts, which was answered in the affirmative.
Heather Wilkinson announced that applications would be accepted starting on May 1 to teach in the 21st Century Classroom building.  She shared the variety of classroom sizes and configurations that will be available and fielded a couple questions.
Collection boxes were passed to accept donations for this year’s Aggie Spirit Awards.
Speaker Harlin recognized three Senators who will be honored with the Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Awards: Cheryl Herman, Claire Katz, and Rebecca Burns.  Also, Tim Lomax from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute will be at the June Senate meeting to discuss Thursday football.  After encouraging her colleagues to choose words carefully to avoid unnecessary hurts, she shared recent Faculty Senate highlights:
  • A reminder that our Faculty Senate election process has begun.  The deadline for completing ballots is noon on Monday, April 15.
  • The Election Committee will tally the votes on Tuesday, April 16 and announce the results on the following day, Wednesday, April 17 on the Senate website.  Any necessary run-off elections will occur promptly after results are announced. 
  • Nominations for Speaker Elect, Secretary-Treasurer, and the Executive Committee will be done electronically this year with the nomination form available April 19-29.  I appreciate the conversations I have had with many of you considering these important leadership roles in the Senate.  Please direct any questions to Betsy at the Faculty Senate office. 
  • As most of you know, we will be conducting officer and EC elections during the May 13 meeting.  The Election Committee recommended that we move to digital voting to improve the process and speed of the elections.  Since only those Senators physically present are able to vote for the positions, we will be carefully monitoring attendance at the May meeting both in this room and on TTVN.  Each candidate in each race will be given two minutes to address the senate.  Following those, an online ballot link will be emailed to those present during the meeting. You will need access to your email during the meeting on a digital device such as a smart phone, tablet, or laptop during the meeting.   We will do this three times, once for Speaker elect, once for Secretary-Treasurer, and once for the EC election.  I have personally tested our ballots and believe this will be a great way to improve our processes and move us into the 21st century. 
  • To celebrate the conclusion of a successful semester and honor those elected to officer and EC positions as well as our Richard Stadelmann award recipient, following the May meeting we will again host a reception upstairs in the University Club.  Invitations have already been sent to our University leaders including your deans and department heads.  We hope our distance senators will also consider physically attending this meeting. We look forward to the opportunity to network with you face to face. If you have any questions, please let Betsy know and be sure to complete the RSVP form found in your email.
  • We are seeking nominees for the Richard Stadelmann Faculty Senate Service Award.  The nomination form is online this year.  This award seeks to recognize the noteworthy service of a first-term Senator.  Please consider nominating a colleague for this award.
  • As you know, we voted last month to approve a Senate Resolution related to the MyEvive requirement.  All of our system schools have considered a similar resolution; all have received approval of the Speaker or full Senate.  I have a meeting scheduled later this month with the System to discuss our collective viewpoints on the new requirement.  I will continue to keep you informed as I learn more about this issue. 
  • At our March meeting, the Appendix to the Standard Administrative Procedure drafted by the Task Force on Faculty Participation in Selection, Evaluation, and Retention of Deans and Department Heads was presented for your information.  The survey for faculty to provide feedback closed on Friday and received 80 responses.  The majority (63.2%) were satisfied or very satisfied with the Appendix section on Selection.  The majority (67.1%) were also satisfied or very satisfied with the Appendix section on retention and evaluation.  This draft again appears on our agenda today for discussion.  The Task Force will be meeting in the coming weeks to review that feedback and make additional changes and recommendations. 
  • You will also see Student Rule 7: Attendance on our agenda again this month, but today we will be voting to consider these rule changes.  I have received a number of emails regarding suggestions to change the language presented before you.  Almost every one of these emails starts by saying that the rule is much improved and they agree with the nature of the changes.  The suggestions received focus on primarily on wordsmithing.  I hope that as you consider this rule change, you will consider the big picture and intended consequences of these rule changes.  My recommendation is that we consider additional changes through the Student Rules Committee later if there are additional changes that are suggested.
  • In response to the ongoing discussion in the Committee of the Whole in our recent Senate meetings, the ad hoc committee to explore the questions, concerns, and benefits of the CHI St. Joseph partnership with Texas A&M continues to meet.  We hope to conclude their work in April.
  • Speaker Elect Andrew Klein made it safely to Patagonia where he will soon make the trek to Antarctica.  He will return for our June meeting.  We will pass the gavel at that time.
  • I want to update you on the scheduled Speaker for our remaining Senate meeting in May. The decision was made to move some of our speakers to a later meeting to minimize the length of the May meeting due to elections and awards.   In May we will receive an update from Elizabeth Schwartz regarding faculty concerns on Workday.  For those of you expecting to hear today from Scott Woodward, our Athletic Director, he will address this body in the fall semester.   Dr. Robin Means Coleman will be presenting at our June meeting.  If you have specific questions you would like any of our guests to address, please let the Senate Office know two weeks prior to our Senate meeting.Addendum (presented later in meeting):
  • Addressing concerns about rolling appointments, especially by APT faculty: Office of General Council for the System found these inconsistent with our institution’s employment policies so they have been removed.  However, we are able to do multi-year appointments.  This discussion is centered on offering multi-year appointments at promotion milestones.  Senate leaderships supports the use of multi-year appointments.  Speaker Harlin will reinforce this at her upcoming meeting with the Council of Deans.
  • Update on Student Success Initiative: Currently in the process of hiring an Executive Director and Director of Advising; nothing to report at this time.  Faculty are engaged in developing the First Year Experience guidelines.  Call for proposals went out for the fall pilot and 150 sections (of 25 students or less) will be included in the pilot year.
Speaker Harlin addressed numerous reports of a new student evaluation system.  There is a pilot of the new system and the Executive Committee is following up. 
The motion passed to approve the March 18, 2019 minutes as distributed.   
The motion passed to approve the Consent Agenda.  (Consent Agenda can be found below Adjournment.)
No unfinished business was conducted.
Core Curriculum Council Course Report – Attachment R (no course documents) – Passed – FS.36.515
The motion passed to approve the Core Curriculum Course Report.  (Core Curriculum Course Report can be found after Consent Agenda below.)
Other Committee Reports
Task Force for SAP: Selection, Evaluation, and Retention of Deans and Department HeadsAppendix – Attachment S – For Informational Review & Discussion Only
The Task Force on the Selection, Evaluation and Retention of Dean and Department Head Standard Administrative Procedure completed a draft of the Appendix found in Attachment R.  It was included on the agenda for informational review for the second month. Input was sought from faculty members with 80 responses.  It will be reviewed by the task force members at their next meeting.  Discussion was opened.
Jorge Alvarado, College of Engineering
Senator Alvarado asked for the timeline for approval.  Speaker Harlin reminded Senators that the Senate is advisory only on this issue.  After the feedback goes to the Task Force, they will make revisions that will come back to the Senate.  The EC will decide if there should be any kind of vote since we are advisory only.  The last step will be making the recommendation to the Provost.
Speaker Harlin requested that Committee Chairs submit a semester-end report for their Committee for the June meeting.
No old business was conducted.
Proposed Revisions to Student Rules
Rule 7                Attendance – Attachment T – passed – FS.36.516
Rule 24.4.23      Abuse of Student Conduct Process – Attachment U – passed – FS.36.517
Heather Ramsey, College of Science
Senator Ramsey asked about how do faculty verify an absence is for a non-acute reason if we are not allowed to ask what the absence is for?  Speaker Harlin recognized Ann Kenimer, Office of Undergraduate Studies, who shared that routine medical care would not count and suggested the “tell” would be if a student is too ill to attend class.  If they are not willing to make that statement, it suggests that their doctor’s appointment is not a reason to stay away from class.
Raymundo Arroyave, College of Engineering
Senator Arroyave asked about a long list of reasons why a student might be absent, followed by “college’s dean or designee” may make a judgment on the validity of the reason.  He questioned the need for this clause.  Senator Jay Ramadoss, College of VetMed and member of the Task Force working on this rule, explained that there could still be things unforeseen where documentation is not realistic, for example, flooding in the student’s room.  Dr. Kenimer reinforced this statement with examples, and Speaker Harlin shared that it also requires the approval of both Deans (home college and course college).
Senator Arroyave then asked about the documentation for when a student has a mandatory interview: it does not require that the employer say “the dates cannot be moved.”  Senator Angie Hill Price, College of Engineering and member of the Committee working on this rule, shared that the faculty member makes the decision so they may set the requirement for the documentation.  Dr. Kenimer reinforced this statement and said that you can defer this decision to the Dean’s Office for them to make the decision.
Melinda Grant, College of Education
Senator Grant shared that she has served on the Student Rules & Regulations Committee for ~20 years, this rule has been considered multiple times, and believes this to be one of the best rewrites she has seen.  She sees it being “global” rather than including every possible eventuality in the rule, making it easier to follow.
Speaker Harlin then recognized the Senators who served on either the Task Force or the Rules & Regulations Committee, as well as Dr. Kenimer.
Several more supporting comments were made by Senator Jay Ramadoss, Senator Angie Hill Price, Senator Adam Kolasinski, and Senator Joan Wolf. 
Jim Erickson, College of Science
Senator Erickson had two wording concerns about that he believed makes the rule sound parochial and hostile to students.  Speaker Harlin reinforced what she had said earlier, that the Senate look at the big picture and the intent of the rule, rather than wordsmithing every detail.  Every faculty member has the right and ability to accept absences beyond this rule, a statement that was reinforced by Senator Jim Woosley, College of Education.  Dr. Kenimer pointed out that gives the faculty member the authority to make a more lenient choice.
The motion to pass Rule 7-Attendance found in Attachment T was approved.
The motion to pass Rule 24.4.23-Abuse of Student Conduct Process found in Attachment U was approved.
In Speaker-Elect Andrew Klein’s absence, former Speaker Angie Hill Price was invited to the podium for the Committee of the Whole.  She began by applauding former Senator and colleague Dr. Yassin Hassan from Nuclear Engineering who was admitted to the National Academy of Engineering.
Matt Hoffman, College of Nursing
Senator Hoffman expressed that issues of concern have arisen in the College of Nursing and asked for his colleague, Dr. Jane Bolin, faculty member in the College of Nursing, be recognized to speak.  Senator Hill Price did so.
Jane Bolin, College of Nursing
On behalf of some faculty members in the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, and Dentistry, Dr. Bolin expressed concern about threats arising from two new policies regarding Practice Plans originating from two members of the TAMHSC executive leadership.  She spoke at length detailing these threats, the details of which can be found in her handout attached to these minutes.  The brief amount of time that HSC faculty had to look at these new policies and the lack of engagement with faculty in developing them were the cause of this urgent appeal to the Senate for intervention.
Senators Darlene McLaughlin, Rajesh Miranda, and Mark Sicilio, College of Medicine; Geoffrey Booth, College of Architecture; Allen Honeyman, College of Dentistry; Dale Rice, College of Liberal Arts; and Raymundo Arroyave and Debjyoti Banerjee, College of Engineering, all expressed concerns about these proposed policies in support of Dr. Bolin.
Speaker Harlin and Senator Hill Price reminded the Senate that there is a Task Force currently convened to look at the TAMU partnership with CHI St. Joseph and it will add these concerns to its charge.  Another reminder was that the Senate has little control over System policies, but will do its part in expressing concerns to the System.
Walter Daugherity, College of Engineering
Parliamentarian Daugherity clarified the Board of Regents’ process for approving rules and hearing public testimony. He followed up on his concern expressed in March about the issue with Workday regarding pre-tax deductions; this issue has now been resolved. 
Senator Angie Hill Price turned the meeting back over to Speaker Harlin.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:28pm.
ATTACHMENTS BELOW: Approved Consent Agenda, CCC Course Report
New Courses – Attachment B – passed – FS.36.499
BIOL 621               R for Biologists       
ESSM 646             Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for Remote Sensing
LAW 7859             Probate and Estate Planning Clinic
Change in Courses – Attachment C – passed – FS.36.500
EDCI 715              Academic Writing for Graduate Students
EDTC 608             Online Course Design
EPSY 618             Neurodevelopment and Genetic Disorders in Children
SCSC 605            Pedology
SCSC 624            Soil Chemistry
SCSC 625            Biofuels and the Environment
SCSC 641            Plant Breeding I
SCSC 650            Mode of Action and Environmental Fate of Herbicides 
SCSC 651            Weed Biology and Ecology
SCSC 657            Environmental Soil and Water Science
SCSC 660            Experimental Designs in Agriculture
WFSC 614            Down River: Biology of Gulf Coastal Fishes
WFSC 624            Dynamics of Populations
Change in Programs Attachment D – passed – FS.36.501
   College of Liberal Arts
       Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
           MS-PSYC              Master of Science in Psychology
Special Consideration Item Attachment E – passed – FS.36.502
    College of Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences and Bush School of Government & Public Service 
       Departments of Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences and Public Service & Administration
           BS/MPS-WFSC/PSAA-BPS        Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences - 5 year Bachelor of Science/ Master of Public Service Administration
New Courses – Attachment F – passed – FS.36.503
PSYC 316             Media Psychology
Change in Courses – Attachment G – passed – FS.36.504
AGEC 315             Building Customer Relationships in AgriFood Selling
HIST 336               Europe Since 1919
MUSC 245             Composition I
MUSC 318             Electronic Composition
PERF 301              Performance in World Cultures
PERF 325              Dance and World Cultures
PERF 327              Popular Musics in the African Diaspora
PERF 328              Japanese Traditional Performing Arts
PERF 386              Evolution of the American Musical
PERF 402              Intermedia Performance
PSYC 301              Elementary Statistics for Psychology
PSYC 302              Research Methods and Design in Psychology
PSYC 307              Developmental Psychology
PSYC 315              Social Psychology
PSYC 320              Sensation-Perception
PSYC 340              Psychology of Learning
SCSC 304             Plant Breeding and Genetics
SCSC 311              Principles of Crop Production
SCSC 446              Weed Management and Ecology
THAR 156              Dress in World Cultures
Change in Courses – Inactivation Proposal – Attachment H – passed – FS.36.505
     College of Liberal Arts
        Department of Performance Studies
           MUSC 326             Dance and Identity in the United States
Change in Courses – Inactivation Proposal – Attachment I – passed – FS.36.506
     College of Liberal Arts
        Department of Performance Studies
           MUSC 386             Evolution of the American Musical
Change in Courses – Inactivation Proposal – Attachment J – passed – FS.36.507
     College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
        Department of Soil & Crop Sciences
           SCSC 452              Chemical Weed Control Laboratory
Change in Courses – Inactivation Proposal – Attachment K – passed – FS.36.508
     Texas A&M University Galveston
        Department of Marine Engineering Technology
           MARE 180              Basic Machine Shop Techniques
Change in Courses – Inactivation Proposal – Attachment L – passed – FS.36.509  
     Texas A&M University Galveston
        Department of Marine Engineering Technology
           MARE 303              Marine Thermodynamics
Special Consideration Item Attachment M – passed – FS.36.510
     School of Public Health
        Department of Public Health
           MINOR-GHLT        Global Health - Minor              
Change in Programs – Inactivation Proposal – Attachment N – passed – FS.36.511
     College of Liberal Arts
        Department of Liberal Arts
           MINOR-LBAH         Liberal Arts Honors – Minor
Change in Programs – Inactivation Proposal – Attachment O – passed – FS.36.512
     College of Liberal Arts
        Department of Performance Studies
           MINOR-PTCH Performance Technology - Minor
Courses Submitted for W Certification – Attachment P – passed – FS.36.513
COMM 458-W      Global Media
COMM 476-W      Advanced Social Media
FINC 350-W         Ethics in Financial Decision-Making
RPTS 401-W        Tourism and Recreation Enterprises
Courses Submitted for W Certification-TAMU Galveston – Attachment Q – passed – FS.36.514
MARA 440-W       Global Economy and Enterprise Management
______________________________End of Consent Agenda____________________________________
CORE CURRICULUM COUNCIL COURSE REPORT Attachment R (no course documents) – passed – FS.36.515
Courses Submitted for Recertification in Foundational Component Area: Communication
ENGL 203     Writing About Literature
Courses Submitted for Recertification in Foundational Component Area: Lang, Phil, Culture
HIST 103                          World History to 1500
HIST/RELS 221    History of Islam
Courses Submitted for Recertification in Foundational Component Area: Life & Physical Sciences
GEOG 213    Planet Earth Laboratory