February Meeting – March  2, 2015

1. Call to Order:  

The March 2, 2015 (February) meeting of the University Senate was called to order at 4:00 p.m. in the Ropp Center, Room 105, by President Michael Swanbom.

2.  Roll Call:  Steven Toaddy

A quorum was met.

3.  Approval of Minutes:  December 2014 and January 2015

At the invitation of the Senate President, Steven Toaddy motioned to postpone the approval of the minutes to the next meeting; Greg Schelonka seconded. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

4. Business

  • Mike Swanbom informed the Senate that the Constitutional Amendment to enhance leadership continuity had been presented to the APC. President Guice’s only concern was whether anyone would be able to serve for the three year period proposed, however, the deans did not appear to share this concern. After a brief review of the Amendment for the sake of the proxies present, Jeff Pike moved to approve the draft Resolution for Amendment; Greg Schelonka seconded and the resolution was unanimously approved. The next step is to present it for a campus wide vote by all unclassified faculty and staff.
    To this end, Mike Swanbom proposed a meeting of all unclassified faculty and staff in Howard Auditorium on March 16 at 4 PM. He had reserved the room from 3:30-5:00 but wanted the Senate’s input as to whether or not such a meeting was warranted; he proposed this time (early in the quarter) assuming it would likely garner better attendance. He proposed this as a new tradition, an annual spring meeting hosted by the University Senate to share accomplishments for the year and tasks for the year to come. For this first meeting, the centerpiece would be discussing the proposed amendment, but other high points could include the Senate’s work on the Social Media Policy, the recent raise, the faculty-wide survey, and an update on the budget. Discussion of this meeting included several significant questions and comments.
  • What happens if the meeting fizzles? Will this be seen as a negative power play?
    • General sentiment seemed to be that as long as we bill it properly, that’s not a likely outcome. There was some discussion of using Howard vs Wyly; Wyly auditorium sends the message we don’t expect many to come
    • Additionally, we should bill the event as a chance to come and meet the people who represent their voices in the Senate; if individual senators talk the event up in their respective units, we are more likely to generate excitement and high attendance
  • What do we tell people is the purpose of the meeting?
    • First and foremost, this is about ratifying a constitutional amendment
    • It is also an opportunity to discuss our accomplishments of this academic year
    • People will be invited to submit questions in advance; there will not be an open mic in order to keep things within the allotted time
  • How do we get people aware now? (Final Exam period, so most people are checked out)
    • Executive Committee will send a campus-wide email
    • Someone also proposed making posters and signs, akin to what many student groups put up around campus
  • At the end of the discussion, Bill Stammerjohan motioned to go ahead with the meeting on March 16 as indicated; Dave Merchant seconded and the motion passed unanimously

    Though it has never been done before to anyone’s knowledge, the Senate does have the power to call such campus-wide meetings, akin to the Faculty Convocation called by the University President each Fall.

  • Patrick O’Neal discussed a new Work-Life Policy initiative on tenure clock extension. This has been routed through the Office of the VP for Academic Affairs. Such policies have a net benefit for universities and are common at other universities in our region. The 16th floor wants a sense that this sort of thing is what we (the Senate) want to see in policy. There was some discussion of whether to make this policy an opt-in or opt-out format; it is currently set up as an opt-in approach, but that is a change that could be made at some point down the road. Bill McCumber motioned to approve the policy proposal; Greg Shelonka seconded and the motion carried.
  • Dave Merchant informed the Senate that the body has been buying CDs for the last few years. Currently we have $20,901.68 in CD accounts and about $2,000 in cash on hand. The Senate spends approximately $8,000 each year (primarily on awards) and this means we have approximately two years of money left. In short, we need to find a way to put money into the Senate’s coffers. The current CD we have is up for renewal in April and we must decide whether we want to renew or do something else. He noted this depletion of funds was expected and inevitable, as the initial seed money came from a lump sum payment from an insurance settlement many years ago which was given to the Senate rather than being parceled out in small amounts across the university.
  • General Announcements included:
    • SACS will be here March 17-19; everyone should be prepared to discuss Blue Fire
    • The proposed Governor’s budget includes a change in how funding is distributed to higher education in the state (by sending it through the Board of Regents rather than directly to the various systems)
    • Mike Swanbom reminded the Senate of the Statewide forum at Southern U-Shreveport on March 5 at 6 PM. Legislators and the Board of Regents have been invited; more details are on Moodle
  • Committee Reports
    • Members of the salary adjustment project team have noted that our salaries are low compared to peer institutions and are working on a proposal to fix this, which should be ready soon. Since the Senate approved money to access CUPA-HR data, we now have that access, but it is not yet in distributable form.
    • Due to time constraints, we skipped reports from other committees, specifically the HotelPlaner (via the University Administration Committee) and the Staff Award (from the Staff Committee).
  • The floor was opened for nominations for the F. Jay Taylor Award. Julie Rutledge was voice nominated from the floor; Mike Swanbom said he would open a page on Moodle to accept further nominations of candidates.

5. Voluntary Remarks:


6. Adjournment:  The meeting adjourned at 5:02 p.m.

Shawn Trivette, Serving as Recording Secretary (Sandi Richardson absent)