October 12, 2020

Printable Minutes

TAMU Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes
October 12, 2020
Via Zoom
Speaker John N. Stallone called the fifth meeting of the 38th Session to order at 3:00pm.  Due to ongoing social distancing practices resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was conducted via Zoom.  Speaker Stallone began by reminding Senators of the Zoom features to be used during the meeting, then several newly-elected Senators were sworn in.
Speaker Stallone welcomed guest speaker John Sharp, Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System.  Chancellor Sharp began by introducing Billy Hamilton, Deputy Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer, who was joining for the discussion of TAMUS finances.
  • The total financial impact from COVID-19 on the flagship (College Station campus), including lost revenue and increased costs, has been $112 million projected through the past August 2020. The CARES Act reduced that loss to 9.3 million, and hopefully shortly after the November election there will be more funds forthcoming.  The System schools are experiencing worse numbers.
  • Billy Hamilton shared that most of the revenue loss is higher than the projected cost, especially within the auxiliary units.  The costs incurred were from preparing classrooms, providing COVID testing, support for contact tracing, etc.  The university is doing better than many, due to preparation for events such as these by building up the reserves and maintaining conservative spending policies.
  • Texas A&M has not had the virus surge experienced by other universities, preventing even further losses caused by sending students home again.  This eventuality, as well as the outcome of the Houston lawsuit seeking lower tuition and refunds, is why the merit raises have been delayed until spring.  Barring any serious further losses by the end of December, the merit raises “ought to be in good shape.”  The funds for the raises are set aside in an account for this purpose.
  • There is some uncertainty around the State budget, but the projected shortfall from by the State Comptroller is $4.6 billion, much less than was the case in 2011 after the financial crisis.  A more accurate projection will be released sometime in January.
  • The General Appropriations Act is the main bill the legislature has to pass in its 2021 session.  The System receives ~80% of its funding through primary formulas, and is asking the legislature to maintain that funding to cover growth and increasing enrollment.  Special Items support has become more important; just last year the Board secured an extra $55 million just for Texas A&M and wants that to continue.
  • Tuition revenue bonds (TRB) for capital (building) projects have been requested of the legislature.  TRB’s were last awarded in 2015, prior to that was 2006; Chancellor Sharp thinks they may be awarded this year as building helps kickstart the economy.
  • The presidential search is underway and the plan is to have the new president in place by June 1st, 2021.  The search committee is chaired by James Hallmark, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of the TAMU System.
  • Chancellor Sharp feels he may have underestimated the impact of the Rellis campus.  The Secretary of the Army visited recently, and the funding by the Pentagon to Rellis is for research in hyper sonics and directed energy.  In the last week, hyper sonics research funds in the Army increased from $3 billion to $7-8 billion; the Air Force has doubled its funding and the Navy has more than doubled it.  That money can only be spent in four universities selected for this work, one of which is Texas A&M.  Recently, approximately 100 contractors have sought work space within the Rellis campus to be near the Army and this research.  A hyper sonics tunnel is being built at Rellis, the only one in the United States.  Testing by major companies will be done at the site, and Texas A&M will be credited for all of this research.
  • The EnMed program will soon be in its new home in Houston at the Texas Medical Center.  Two more high rise dormitories will be built for EnMed and Prairie View nursing students, costing $500 million, and will be called Innovation Plaza.  Another project, TMC3, is a research partnership between Texas A&M Health Science Center, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, and MD Anderson.  This is a few years out, but each will have four buildings with research space for private companies and is expected to attract the best medical researchers in the world.
  • Texas A&M College of Medicine has almost completed negotiations on a new deal with Baylor, Scott and White, which has been approved by the Board of Regents.  It will vastly increase the number of students in Dallas and provide an opportunity for students to be in BSW hospitals around Texas.  Our Temple site will be turned over to Baylor College of Medicine and Texas A&M will take over spaces in Dallas and Austin. 
    Chancellor Sharp then took questions from the following Senators: Senator Dale Rice, College of Liberal Arts; Senator Peter McIntyre, College of Science; and Senator Catharina Laporte, College of Liberal Arts.
(The full video recording of the meeting can be accessed on the Faculty Senate website: https://facultysenate.tamu.edu/Faculty-Senate-Meeting-Recordings.)
Speaker Stallone thanked Chancellor Sharp for speaking to the Faculty Senate.
Dr. Jocelyn Widmer, Assistant Provost for Academic Innovation, and Dr. Juan Garza, Assistant Vice President for Academic Services & Director of Provost Information Technology Office – Attachment A (for information only)
Dr. Widmer provided her monthly update on the progress of Canvas (LMS) via a video, and the meeting time was devoted to questions only.  The following Senators posed questions or offered comments: Senator Catharina Laporte, College of Liberal Arts; Senator Tony Cahill, College of Engineering; Senator Matt Taylor, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences; and Provost Carol Fierke.
Speaker Stallone provided updated information about the future Open Forums with President Young and Provost Fierke.  He encouraged interested faculty to look for the dates on the Faculty Senate website’s home page.
Speaker Stallone saluted faculty for their hard work, their diligence in the face of a challenging environment, and their commitment to providing a first-class education for the university’s students.
He reminded Senators that they would be voting on a revision to the Title IX language in the Minimum Syllabus Requirements, and thanked Dr. Jennifer Smith, Assistant Vice President and Title IX Coordinator, and Susan Forney, Professor and Director of the Program for the Advancement of Legal Ethics at the Texas A&M University School of Law, for their efforts to improve the Title IX language.
Speaker Stallone closed his comments by encouraging faculty to get their flu shot, and wished all good luck and good health for the remainder of the Fall 2020 semester.
The motion passed to approve the September 14, 2020 minutes as distributed. Attachment B Passed
The motion passed to approve the October 12, 2020 Consent Agenda as presented. Passed
(Full Consent Agenda with FS #’s can be found under Adjournment below.)
Core Curriculum Council Course Report Attachment C – Passed – FS.38.125
The motion passed to approve the Core Curriculum Course Report as presented. 
(Full CCC Report can be found under Adjournment below.)
Resolution in Support of Formation of a Graduate School Attachment D – Passed – FS.38.126
This resolution was brought to the Senate by Dr. Karen Butler-Purry, Associate Provost for Graduate and Professional Studies.  Throughout the past year, Dr. Butler-Purry visited both the Senate and the Executive Committee to discuss this proposal for a graduate school.  A robust discussion was had by Senators, with input from Dr. Butler-Purry and Provost Carol Fierke.  The resolution was approved as presented.
Election – Vacant Seat on FS Executive Committee
Candidate Statements Attachment E – For Informational Review – FS.38.127
The following candidates presented their statements: Dr. Patricia K. Smith, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, and Dr. Mark Sicilio, College of Medicine.  The vote followed the candidate statements, resulting in the election of Dr. Patti Smith to serve on the Executive Committee for the remainder of the 2020-2021 academic year.
Emergency Item: Proposed Amendment to Title IX Language in Minimum Syllabus Requirements Attachment F – Passed – FS.38.128
The motion passed to approve the Proposed Amendment to the Title IX language in the Minimum Syllabus requirement as presented. 
Speaker-Elect Dale Rice convened the Committee of the Whole. 
Senator Darlene McLaughlin, College of Medicine, expressed concern about Silver Taps being held virtually, especially while football games and other events are being conducted face to face.  Provost Carol Fierke shared that the decision to hold Silver Taps was made by the student committee in charge, and that discussions with Student Affairs about returning to in-person Silver Taps is ongoing.
Senator Clint Magill, College of Agriculture, stated that the vote on the graduate school resolution would have been easier and less work if a link to the Graduate School Proposal had been shared on the agenda. 
Senator Lou Tassinary, College of Architecture, raised two issues.  First, faculty have approached him to find out the status of the Sullivan Ross statue issue.  Second, he raised a concern about a faculty member who has been singled out for participating in the “Day of Action,” wondering if the Faculty Senate wants to do anything in response.  Speaker-Elect Dale Rice responded that the President’s Commission is reviewing the monument issue, which is complicated by the Texas Attorney General’s determination that the Sul Ross statue would require approval by the state legislature.  Senator Klein shared a comment by former Speaker Julie Harlin, that the Commission will be making their recommendation to the President in December.  Speaker-Elect Rice encouraged Senators to consider if we want to take a position on this issue, and Speaker Stallone indicated that he intends to pursue the Faculty Senate’s position on the statue.
Senator Andrea Roberts, College of Liberal Arts, asked if there has been any discussion of land acknowledgement in the past, or could there be in the future?  For those unfamiliar, land acknowledgement is an honest and historically accurate way to recognize the traditional first nations and native American territories and spaces, which can be presented verbally or visually.  For example, Texas A&M is on the land of multiple Native nations.
Senator Kathryn Falvo, TAMU Galveston, asked if the Sul Ross statue issue might be addressed by a sub-committee?  If so, she would make a motion for it.
Senator Andrew Klein, College of Geosciences, shared concerns about the lack of social distancing and mask-wearing at the recent televised football game, and wondered if any administrator wanted to address this.  Provost Fierke stated that she wasn’t present, but that the televised views looked better than the previous game, and that there would be multiple discussions about it this week.  One of the questions she has heard is related to the decision by the Corps and Athletics that each Corps floor is a family and they may sit together; she has argued (unsuccessfully) against this as it sends the wrong leadership message to other students on campus.
Senator Lou Tassinary, College of Architecture, wanted to follow up on the second issue he raised regarding disciplinary action against the faculty member.  Senator Kolasinski asked for more information on this issue.  Provost Fierke shared that there is a Texas State law making it illegal for a state employee to participate in an organized work stoppage.  Texas A&M Office of General Counsel has determined that joining in the Day of Action and cancelling classes is an organized work stoppage.  Other faculty members participated by using a teach-in, which was considered acceptable.  It was the cancelling of classes that was determined to be actionable behavior.  Dr. Moore has received a letter and has the opportunity to appeal it, but Dr. Fierke could say no more because it is a personnel matter.  She did add that Dr. Moore is not being fired.
Dr. Widmer stated that the person interested in providing feedback on the polling technology could contact her directly at widmerj@tamu.edu or aihelp@tamu.edu.
Senator Adam Haney, TAMU Galveston, expressed his pride in joining the Faculty Senate.  He asked that the Senate consider saving amendments to the Minimum Syllabus Requirements to introduce them at the end of a semester to avoid confusion.
Senator Catharina Laporte, College of Liberal Arts, expressed concern about the length of her syllabi, suggesting a central repository for the University Policies where a single link could be provided to this information. The policies could still be discussed in class.  Senator Angie Hill Price stated that the revisions to the MSR don’t go into effect until the next semester, and that she isn’t sure that having links will make students read them any more than when they are on the syllabus.
Senator Adam Haney, TAMU Galveston, stated that it was his understanding that the Student Handbook has all of the same information as the MSR, and that faculty are just copying that.  He shared that he had asked his Galveston colleague to bring this issue to the Academic Affairs Committee for consideration.
Senator Peter McIntyre, College of Science, suggested identifying several Senators knowledgeable about the Sul Ross statue issue and pairing them with several Senators knowledgeable about the land acknowledgment issue for constructive purposes.  Senator Andrew Klein asked Speaker Stallone to identify the Senators currently serving on the President’s Commission.  Speaker Stallone shared that former Senator Julie Harlin is serving, but he doesn’t know of any others.  Speaker-Elect Dale Rice affirmed that Senator Falvo’s and Senator McIntyre’s suggestions mesh well together and that he would make sure the EC considers how to move forward.
Speaker-Elect Rice returned the meeting to Speaker Stallone.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:15pm.


New Courses – Passed – FS.38.105
BICH 658: Application of Scientific Values in Daily Research Practice
ECEN 740: Machine Learning Engineering
EPSY 617: Advanced Topics in Temperament, Behavior Problems, and Psychopathology
EPSY 639: Experimental Research Design in Educational Settings
ESET 611: Industrial Internet of Things
ESET 662: Advanced Control Systems
IDIS 656: Leading People and Managing Performance
INTA 701: Women, International Development and Environmental Conflict
INTA 708: Data Science and Visualization for Policy Analysis
INTA 710: Intelligence Collection Systems
KINE 652: Methods in Human Clinical Research
MMET 663: Machine Elements in Mechanical Design Applications II
MPHY 603: Applied Microscopy for Biomedical Research
MPHY 635: Lymphatics - Regulation of Immunology and Inflammation
MEEN 690: Entrepreneurship in Nano and Energy Systems
MSCI 603: Tumor Microenvironment and Cancer Metastasis
OCEN 660: Data Science for Ocean Engineers
SCMT 665: Artificial Intelligence for Business
SOPH 671: Applied Research in Global Health
Change in Courses – Passed – FS.38.106
GENE 620: Cytogenetics
ISTM 655: Security Management and Compliance
MEEN 607: Polymer Physical Properties
MEEN 631: Microscale Thermodynamics
MEEN 634: Dynamics and Modeling of Mechatronic Systems
MEEN 642: Gas Turbine Heat Transfer and Cooling Technology
MEEN 688: Advanced Solid Mechanics
MSCI 650: Foundations of Clinical and Translational Research
PETE 630: Geostatistics and Data Analytics
VPAT 653: Pathology of Laboratory Animals
Change in Programs – Passed – FS.38.107
College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
Department of Recreation, Park & Tourism Science
MRYD-RYDV: Master of Recreation and Youth Development
Change in Programs – Passed – FS.38.108
College of Architecture
Department of Construction Science
MS-COMG: Master of Science in Construction Management
Change in Programs – Passed – FS.38.109
College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
Department of Rangeland, Wildlife & Fisheries Management
MS-RWFM: Master of Science in Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries Management
Change in Programs – Passed – FS.38.110
College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
Department of Rangeland, Wildlife & Fisheries Management
PHD-RWFM: Doctor of Philosophy in Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries Management
Change in Programs – Inactivation Proposal – Passed – FS.38.111
School of Public Health
Department of Health Promotion & Community Health Science
CERT-CG57: Health Coaching for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management - Certificate
Special Consideration Item – Passed – FS.38.112
College of Education & Human Development
Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture
CERT-PSST: Post-Secondary Science Teaching Certificate
Special Consideration Item – Passed – FS.38.113
College of Nursing
Department of Nursing
DNP-NRPR: Doctor of Nursing Practice
Special Consideration Item – Passed – FS.38.114
College of Architecture
Department of Construction Science
PHD-COSC: Doctor of Philosophy in Construction Science
Special Consideration Item – Passed – FS.38.115
College of Liberal Arts
Department of Performance Studies
BA/MA-PERF/PERF-LPF: Performance Studies - 5-Year Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts in Performance Studies
New Courses – Passed – FS.38.116
OCEN 460: Data Science for Ocean Engineers
RWFM 202: Concepts in Applied Plant Biology
RWFM 305: Principles and Practices of Wildlife and Fisheries Management
RWFM 321: Communicating Natural Resources
RWFM 345: Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Management and Policy
RWFM 349: Rangeland and Wildlife Animal Nutrition
RWFM 350: Wildlife Population Dynamics
RWFM 354: Wildlife Anatomy and Physiology
RWFM 370: Aquatic Vegetation Management
RWFM 401: Rangeland Plant and Herbivory Dynamics
RWFM 421: Upland Bird Management
RWFM 422: Large Mammal Management
RWFM 423: Waterfowl and Wetland Management
RWFM 424: Wildlife Damage Management
RWFM 425: Carnivore Management
RWFM 444: Aquaculture Hatchery Management
RWFM 445: Fish Health and Diseases
RWFM 446: Fish Physiology
RWFM 461: Community-Based Conservation
New Courses – Galveston – Passed – FS.38.117
MARB 215: Marine Zoology
Change in Courses – Passed – FS.38.118
HEFB 324: Technology and Teaching Skills for the 21st Century Learner
HLTH 222: Concepts in Peer Health Education
HLTH 332: School Health Program
HLTH 335: Human Diseases
HLTH 353: Drugs and Society
HLTH 403: Consumer Health
HLTH 410: Worksite Health Promotion
HLTH 415: Health Education Methodology
HLTH 421: Elementary School Health Instruction
KINE 318: Athletic Injuries
KINE 334: Coaching in Personal Training
MMET 307: Computer Design Graphics
PHLT 307: Public Health in the Global Context
RPTS 323: Managing Hospitality and Recreation Organizations
RPTS 370: Youth Development Organizations and Services
SCMT 300: Business Communications I
SCMT 361: Operations Planning and Control
Change in Programs – Passed – FS.38.119
Mays Business School
Department of Information & Operations Management
BBA-SCMT: Supply Chain Management - BBA
Change in Programs – Passed – FS.38.120
College of Education & Human Development
Department of Health & Kinesiology
BS-CHLT: Community Health - BS
Change in Programs – Passed – FS.38.121
College of Education & Human Development
Department of Health & Kinesiology
BS-HLTH-AHO: Health - BS, Allied Health Track
Change in Programs – Passed – FS.38.122
Department of Recreation, Park & Tourism Science
CERT-PETM: Professional Event Management - Certificate
Courses Submitted for C Certification – Passed – FS.38.123
MATH 396-C: Communications in Mathematics
Courses Submitted for W Certification – Passed – FS.38.124
ATMO 459-W: Tropical Meteorology
BESC 484-W: Field Experience
ENGL 107-W: Introduction to the Health Humanities
ENGL 482-W: Health Humanities Senior Seminar
FREN 418-W: Seminar in French Civilization
MATH 467-W: Modern Geometry
______________________________End of Consent Agenda____________________________________
New Courses Submitted for Foundational Component Area: Life & Physical Sciences
MARS 102-GE: Ocean and Earth Science