October 14, 2013

Faculty Senate Minutes
Oct. 14, 2013
The meeting was called to order by Speaker Walter Daugherity at 3:15 p.m.
Guest speaker John Junkins, director of the Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Studies, said TIAS had just launched its second year of activity. The goal, he said, is to find world-class talent to attract to A&M that will enhance the academic climate and enrich the university. He briefly described the 2012-13 inaugural class of faculty fellows and the structure of TIAS. Second class of fellows was announced last month, and some already are on campus, he said. TIAS was able to move from six fellows last year to nine fellows this year, all with an outstanding record of collaboration and student mentoring. Nominations are about to open for the third class, he said, with TIAS working its way toward attracting 20 eminent scholars per year.
The meeting’s main guest, Chancellor John Sharp, began his remarks by saying the new law school and the Health Sciences Center are now integrated into Texas A&M University. They helped propel A&M to become the largest university in the state with the addition this year of several hundred law students and a couple thousand HSC students, he said.
According to Sharp, the system currently is conducting three reviews. One is a review of the administrative function of the university, conducted by Pricewaterhouse. The second is a review of instructional technology and the third is a review of human resources. All should be finished around the end of the year, he said.
The search for a new president for A&M is underway, Sharp said. A search committee has been appointed and Korn/Ferry International, an executive search firm based in Philadelphia, has been engaged to assist. Korn/Ferry is gathering names and looking at potential people, he said. The search committee has met to set the ground rules, including absolute secrecy for initial applicants. Sharp said applicants would be assured their names will not be in the public domain until the end of the process.  Sharp said he would like to have three names of finalists to take to the Board of Regents in January, although it is possible the person might not be able to begin the job here until summer.
In the area of high performance computing, Sharp said A&M is 651st in the nation in computing power for research. He said he is trying to find a way to boost that ranking into at least the 20s and acknowledged that some mistakes had been made in the initial proposal for a new system from IBM. That has been rectified, he said, and a new team is working on a proposal.
Construction plans include new dorms on West Campus, which Sharp called a “brilliant idea” and the remodeling of Kyle Field. The east side of Kyle will be remodeled first, the chancellor said, and pilings already are being drilled for that.  South end zone also will be constructed during that time. Then the construction will stop for the next football season. After that, the west side will be imploded and new stands will be built. For one year, he said, Kyle will seat 109,543 people.
On the subject of a reported new branch campus in Israel, Sharp said he could not say anything about it.
Speaker Daugherity announced a committee was being appointed to examine the outsourcing of email and asked any senator interested in serving on that panel to contact him.
The speaker installed newly elected senators who had not been sworn in yet.
The minutes of the September 9, 2013, meeting of the Faculty Senate were approved as submitted.
The consent agenda was approved.
Core Curriculum Council co-chairs Janice Epstein and Dale Rice reported that 269 courses had been approved for the new core that will begin with students who enter in 2014. The following summary was submitted by the CCC:
Total Number of Proposals Submitted 312
Total Number of Proposals Approved by CCC 269
American History 11
Communication 9
Creative Arts 35
Government-Political Science 2
Language, Philosophy, and Culture 103
Life and Physical Sciences 53
Mathematics 12
Social and Behavioral Sciences 44
Lower Division 185
Upper Division 84
In the report from SEBAC, A&M’s self-insured health insurance program, Speaker Daugherity reported that Chancellor John Sharp had concluded the system could maintain a prudent reserve without raising premiums for most employees. Employees are receiving a letter from the system that states system health insurance program more than meets requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Beginning in September 2014, there will be a new $30 monthly surcharge in the cost of health benefits for anyone who does not have an annual physical.
In unfinished business:
Attachment AA, the Academic Affairs Committee endorsement of the UCC/GC Course Submission Checklist, was passed.
Attachment BB, Executive Committee Resolution for the approval of the MSN-FNP Professional Program, was passed.
Attachment CC, Proposed Revisions to the Texas A&M Student Rule 47, was passed.
Speaker Daugherity then turned the meeting over to Speaker-elect Jim Woosley for the Committee of the Whole.
Provost Karan Watson addressed the issue of IDC funds. She said the administration had listened to many faculty members who, in essence, had asked why after 10 years of working hard to move the university’s status upward, we were barely holding ground. Watson said that after looking strategically at what public schools above us are doing, there was an attempt to have conversation: What should we do if we had more centralized funds? She said she planned on having that discussion over the next few months “so we can come up with most strategic recommendation for moving forward.”
The Committee of the Whole was completed and the meeting was returned to Speaker Daugherity.
The Faculty Senate was adjourned at 4:36 p.m.