Faculty Senate discusses tenure issues

The SHSU Faculty Senate met last Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in Austin Hall, for its scheduled meeting, which included discussing a draft proposal from the Standing Faculty Tenure Committee.

Mary Evelyn Collins, chair of the Standing Faculty Tenure Committee presented the committee’s recommendations for revising the faulty reappointment, tenure and promotion policy.

The draft proposal was developed as part of the committee’s general charge to make recommendations concerning the tenure process for faculty at SHSU.

Collins said the committee looked at other universities in the system to decide what implementation provisions needed to take place.

Collins said SHSU President James Gaertner wanted the committee to have a tie between tenure and promotions.

The Senate voted to support the Standing Tenure Committee’s proposal with the following changes for the faculty reappointment, tenure and promotion policy.

The Faculty Senate voted to change the implementation provisions in section one, which stated faculty members with three or fewer years of full-time academic service recognized by SHSU at the time that the policy goes into effect.

The Senate asked that the change only apply to those people who are new hires, for example, as of Sept. 1, 2003.

“If it goes into effect as of September, we want it to go into effect for new hires as of the date the policy goes into effect that was our recommendation,” Valerie Muehsam, chair of the Faculty Senate said.

Section 3.02 B of the policy stated the term “special credentials” should be defined to mean an accredited master of library science degree.

Ann Jerabek, Faculty Senate member, expressed her concern that about half of the faculty members in the Newton Gresham Library are non-tenure right now. It takes six years to become tenured.

The Senate removed this section because a masters’ in library science is considered a terminal degree; therefore, it was moved to the next section under terminal degrees.

Changes to tenure units under section 4.01, removed all colleges except the College of Criminal Justice since, the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Business Administration is not a tenure unit.

The College of Criminal Justice will stay under this section since it has no departments. A tenure unit is the faculty of a college that is not divided into smaller units.

A motion to accept the Standing Faculty Tenure Committee’s draft proposal with a few changes for consideration was passed.

This committee is in charge of recommending guidelines for probationary periods, holding tenure elections, monitoring tenure elections, serving the SHSU president in compiling the results of the elections and in helping to resolve issues arising during the tenure of administrative officers and to the faculty.

Muehsam brought up a brief discussion about the possibility of Southwest Texas changing its name.

If a Senate Bill to change the name of Southwest Texas State University to Texas State University at San Marcos is passed, the name of Sam Houston State University and other universities in the Texas State University System might also be changed.

Texas State Sen. Jeff Wentworth filed a bill with the Senate of Texas on March 6 at the request of Southwest Texas State University’s Associated Student Government. A press release from Wentworth’s office stated if Senate Bill 928 passes, it would be effective Sept. 1.

“If we are just doing it for cosmetic reasons, I don’t see the reason (in the name change for SHSU),” one Faculty Senate member said.

“We had an e-mail vote on (the name change of SHSU) and we overwhelmingly supported not changing the name,” Muehsam said. “The vote was a total of 20 votes with 16 no votes-don’t change our name- two yes- it is OK to change the name- and two abstained.”

Muesham then opened the floor for discussion about complaints, which related to the Alpha Chi National Honor Society being the only honor society recognized on stage during SHSU’s graduation ceremony.

“I think on stage should only be academic honors,” Muehsam said. “I think it is unfair to recognize one group and not the other.”

A number of representatives from honor societies indicated that they would like to have their members recognized like Alpha Chi, Muehsam said.

“Since the (Convocations) committee is already concerned about the length of the ceremony, we felt that we should consider other ways to recognize all honor societies, so we recommended recognizing all honor societies through a printed insert in the graduation program,” Muehsam said. “Just in the interest of fairness and equity, that way everyone is recognized in the same fashion.”

Kandi Tayebi, chair-elect for the Faculty Senate at SHSU, presented a resolution to the Faculty Senate members, which was passed by the Texas Council of Faculty Senates on Feb. 22.

“The idea was with the pending budget cut there would be advertisement,” Tayebi said. “We know there are budget cuts but don’t put the extra load on the faculty.”

The resolution-highlighted concerns about an extra workload on faculty members because of the current budget cut in Texas.

“Therefore be it resolved that the Texas Council of Faculty Senates, an organization representing the leaders of the faculty to participate in this process and believes that the burden of doing more with less must not be interpreted to mean the faculty should be paid less and/or that the faculty should assume a greater overall workload. While the Texas Council of Faculty Senates believes that colleges and universities should be free to make adjustments as needed to meet their budget restraints, these adjustments must be done within the constraints of fair pay for a reasonable workload. Colleges and universities must recognize that teaching load is only a subset of workload. Any adjustment in teaching load therefore must mandate a corresponding adjustment in service, research, and other work activities. Furthermore, in the spirit of shared sacrifices, we ask all Texas College and university administrators to shoulder a just portion of this burden by limiting their own increases in compensation packages to a percentage no greater than that received by the faculty at their institutions. To do so otherwise will harm the missions, values, and goals of the state colleges and universities of Texas,” part of the resolution by the Texas Council of Faculty Senates stated.

The Faculty Senate supported the resolution that came from the Texas Council of Faculty Senates.

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