June 9, 2014

Faculty Senate Meeting
June 09, 2014
601 Rudder Tower
Present:  Louise Abbott, Ergun Akleman, Stephen Alton, Guy  Battle, Michael Benedik, Doug Biggs, Carlos Blanton, Leonard Bright, Edward Brothers, Greg Cobb, Jonathan Coopersmith, Charles Criscione, Walter Daugherity, Darryl De Ruiter, Janice Epstein, Margaret Ezell, Jose Fernandez-Solis, Gerald Frye, Holly Gaede, Melinda Grant, Ira Greenbaum, Janet Hammer, Julie Harlin, Greg Heim, Kevin Heinz, Kim Quaile Hill, Bita Kash, Andrew Klein, Karen Kubena, Karen Landry, Clint Magill, June Martin, Catherine McNeal, Stephen Miller, Albert Mulenga, Christine Murray, Lynne  Opperman, Ladan Panahim, Heather Ramsey, Dale Rice, James Rogers, Eric Rowell, Karen Russell, Laura Sare, Mark Sicilio, Karen Snowden, Bob Strawser, Grace Townsend, Gary Varner, Chuck Wakefield, Richard Woodman, Jim Woosley, Hongwei Zhao
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Speaker Jim Woosley at 3:19 p.m.
Guest Speakers
Pablo Marvin
Hacienda Santa Clara Study and Research Center, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico - Attachment
Guest speaker Pablo Marvin, who built a center for faculty and students near San Miguel Allende, presented a slide show on the center to introduce it to faculty who may not be aware of the opportunities for study abroad there. Marvin explained that Hacienda Santa Clara is a study center with a current capacity for 76 students and could ultimately grow to 500. The center, a green campus, also has ties to the University of Guanajuato. Santa Clara, he said, features an interdisciplinary approach to education that includes cuisine, art and language, along with an interaction with students from the University of Guanajuato. The vision is to broaden minds through an intercultural experience and to prepare students to become life-long learners.
Chris Houser
Soltis Center for Research and Education, San Isidro de Penas Blancas - Attachment
Guest speaker Chris Houser, global faculty advisor and associate professor in the Department of Geography, discussed a second Latin American center associated with TAMU. The Soltis Center in Costa Rica, he said, opened in June 2009 and has facilities to handle up to 56 students and faculty. It provides students and faculty with up to 250 acres of laboratory space that includes dense jungle. It’s a prime location for tropical ecological studies. It also offers a cultural exchange with the University of Costa Rica. Many openings still exist at the center, which Houser said is much more than an ecological field station. There is an opportunity for students to have a strong cultural experience and it provides an easy entrance for students into study abroad.
Speaker Comments
In his speaker comments, Woosley noted the new section of the agenda on information items only was for the five designated First Professional Programs and was framed that way to meet accreditation requirements.
The 2014-15 committee rosters are now being formed, Woosley said. Those who haven’t responded needed to respond by that Thursday to be placed on a committee. The Executive Committee appointed everyone who did respond to their first choice. Some second choices were also named in order to balance committees with representatives from various colleges. Woosley said the Executive Committee expects everyone who chooses to be on committees will attend committee meetings.
Woosley also announced that at its annual retreat the Executive Committee agreed on several topics for the Senate to consider in the coming year. They include violence on campus, which includes sexual assault, depression, mental health of students, and concealed carry; plus-minus grading for graduate students; writing; teaching evaluation; and the academic calendar and class times.
Approval of May 12, 2014 Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes – Attachment A
The minutes of the May meeting of the Faculty Senate were approved as submitted.
Consent Agenda
GRADUATE COUNCIL – GC REPORT                                                   
New Course Request - May 1, 2014
INTA 635              Great Famines, War and Humanitarian Assistance
NRSC 616             Advanced Developmental Neurotoxicology
SYEN 641              Systems Engineering Methods and Frameworks
Attachment B
Motion Passed
Course Change Request
STAT 616              Multivariate Analysis
STAT 618              Statistical Aspects of Machine Learning and Data Mining
STAT 636              Methods in Multivariate Analysis
STAT 656              Applied Analytics Using SAS Enterprise Miner
Attachment C
Motion Passed
Special Consideration Items
Systems Engineering New Master of Engineering Degree Program
Attachment D
Motion Passed
Closure of Master of Science in Public Health Degree in Health Policy and Management Program
Attachment E
Motion Passed
Closure of Masters in Public Health in Health Policy and Management Program in McAllen
Attachment F
Motion Passed
Proposal for an Executive Master of Health Administration Distance Education Program
Attachment G
Motion Passed
Distance Education Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering  
Attachment H
Motion Passed
New Courses
ALEC 460              Applying International Development Theories in Agriculture
ANSC 436             Texas Panhandle Beef Production Tour
BEFB 482              Seminar in Teachers as Effective Communicators
NRSC 401             Developmental Neurotoxicology
Change in Course
ALED 225              Leadership Learning Community II
Attachment I
Motion Passed
Change in Curriculum
                College of Science
                      Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Faculty - TAMIN
                                Minor in Neuroscience
Attachment J
Motion Passed
Change in Curriculum
Texas A&M University at Qatar
                      Mechanical Engineering
                                BS in Mechanical Engineering
Attachment K
Motion Passed
Courses submitted for W certification
WFSC 449            Professional Aspects of Aquatic Ecology
Courses submitted for W recertification
COMM452          Cultural Studies of Communication Technology
ECEN 403             Electrical Design Laboratory I
GENE491              Research
POLS 357             National Judicial Politics
POLS 413             American Foreign Policy
RUSS 302              Advanced Grammar and Composition II
SPAN 445            Cervantes
SPMT 482            Writing Seminar in Sport Management
WFSC 304            Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation
Attachment L
Motion Passed
Core Curriculum Council                                                                          
Academic Affairs
Attachment M
Motion Passed
Health Science Center
Attachment N
Motion Passed
Budget and Information Committee
Attachment O
Motion Passed
Research Committee
Attachment P
Motion Passed
Planning Committee
Attachment Q
Motion Passed
SEBAC – pending
As part of Committee Reports, Walter Daugherity, the Senate representative to SEBAC, provided the following update:
“For several years I had requested a survey of ORP participants, and I am happy to report that this has now been done.  Most respondents were positive, except for one item: "When the respondents became eligible for ORP, 50% indicated they received too little information from their Human Resources/Payroll office.  In addition, 45% thought the information was difficult to understand."  This is now an action item to be remedied.
“The information available points to the need for a 6.4% increase in total health-care premiums for the A&M Care plans administered by Blue Cross.  Also, another ACA (commonly called "Obamacare") cost of 1.03% will take effect this September since copays other than prescriptions will now count toward the out-of-pocket maximum.  (Looking ahead, prescription copays will count starting in September 2015, so there will be an additional ACA/"Obamacare" cost for that a year from now.)
“As you are all well aware, employee and spouse must have a physical or wellness exam between January 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, or there will be a $30 per month surcharge starting in September.  You have received emails from your Human Resources or Payroll department on how to verify that your physical or wellness exam has been recorded.  Several faculty have reported that Scott & White has not reported their exams to "Blue Access"; I am told that Scott & White is still working on rescinding the extra "facilities charge" which we (the Faculty Senate) were instrumental in getting reversed.  My suggestion is that if your Scott & White exam has not been recorded at "Blue Access" you call Scott & White periodically and remind them that they need to report your exam to Blue Access by June 30th.
“Also, if you call Blue Cross, be aware that there is a special call center group which has been trained on A&M's plan.  To be sure of reaching them, call between 8:00 and 5:00 and ask for "Incentives" or "Benefits"; otherwise you may reach the general call center.
“However, I have been assured by both the University and the System that if you had your exam before June 30th and through no fault of yours it is not reported to Blue Access by then, they will make every effort to see that you are not subject to the surcharge in September.  The actual "drop dead" date for assessing the surcharge is mid-September, when the September payroll is run for your October 1st paycheck.
“Now for the good news!  As I said, medical costs are projected to rise 6.4%, but this will be more than covered by a 7.3% increase in the state contribution for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.  In addition, the Chancellor has approved using another $10 million from plan reserves.  As a result, it will be possible to reduce the employee coinsurance after deductibles are met from 30% to 20%, i.e., the plan will now pay 80% instead of 70%.  Your annual enrollment information should be available in a few days, to be completed by July 31st. 6.4 percent increase in health care premiums for A&M health care plans. ACA will impose additional costs as well. Wellness exams required or $30 a month surcharge beginning in September. Plan will now pay 80 percent.”
The consent agenda was approved as submitted.
                __________________________________End of Consent Agenda____________________________________
Informational Items Only
College of Medicine grading policy
Attachment R
Motion Passed
Baylor College of Dentistry and Law School First Professional Programs
Attachment S
Motion Passed
When the informational items were presented, Senator Kim Hill of Liberal Arts asked why the policy changes from the First Professional Programs were only informational. Vice Provost Pam Matthews explained they were being handled that way to avoid conflicts with accreditation standards for those professional degree programs.
Unfinished Business                                                                                                                                                                                             
New Business  
Committee of the Whole
With all business complete, Woosley then turned the meeting over to Speaker-elect Bob Strawser for the Committee of the Whole.  No items were introduced.