Faculty Senate Minutes March 2020

Senators present:

Kym Acua, Jennifer Anderson, Chuck Bultena, Dave Carlston, Sarah Cobb, Eduardo Colmenares, Roberto Fuertes-Manjon, Terry Griffin, Attapol Kuanliang, Tammy Kurzewski, Adam Lei, Marcos Lopez, Stacia Miller, Vicki Sanders (proxy for Rodney Fisher), John Schulze, Lynette Watts, Tyler Williams, Bradley Wilson


  • Ruby Garrett (Staff Senate Representative)

Call to order: 3 p.m.


The minutes and agenda were approved.



1. UPP 3-160 Expressive Activities on Campus (Senator Lopez)

Senator Lopez stated that this policy is in response to Texas SB-18, which establishes guidelines on what university can and cannot prohibit. The policy follows the law very closely.

A senator expressed concerns that the examples listed in the policy tend to limit free expression and suggested that examples could be removed. The senator asked for more time to consider the policy.

Senator Cobb motioned that the proposal be tabled until April. The motion passed.

Senators will circulate the policy in their colleges, directing feedback to Senator Lopez.

2. UPP 3-450 Drug-free Schools and Communities (Senator Lopez)

Senator Lopez stated that this policy is a consolidation of two previous policies. A senator asked how the policy affects the legal distribution of alcohol. Senators will circulate the policy in their colleges, directing feedback to Senator Lopez.

3. Faculty Survey Re: Texas Tech System

Senator Wilson presented a summary of the responses to the survey about attitudes towards considering joining the Texas Tech system. Most faculty favored moving forward with considering Texas Tech’s invitation. The survey received 80 responses.

A summary of the responses to open-ended questions in the survey:

  • Benefits: resources and name recognition
  • Concerns: loss of identity; economic savings are not certain; loss of faculty voice; decrease in donor support; loss of jobs; loss of control; impact on local economy
  • What should be non-negotiable: name should not change; faculty workload and governance; liberal arts mission; transparency is imperative

Chair Carlston asked which things were important to faculty as we enter the negotiation process. Some areas mentioned were:

  • Control over tenure and promotion policy should remain local
  • Naming of buildings and structures should be a local decision
  • Decisions about academic programs and curriculum need to be local
  • What are the benefits to us as faculty and to our students?
    • Will we have access to resources and databases
    • Will staff or dependents have access to courses throughout the Texas Tech system?
  • Registration and recordkeeping processes
  • IRB process
4. UPP 2-320 Office Hours for Faculty (Wilson)

Chair Carlston stated that after a semester trial of requiring five office hours instead of ten, relevant items in course evals didn’t change. He also stated that most universities do not have policies similar to MSU’s policy.

Senator Carlston moved to accept Senator Wilson’s proposed Amendment to the Office Hours Policy.

Senator Cobb moved to amend the policy by changing the words “posted and included in the course syllabus” to “posted and made available to students.” The motion passed with two opposed.

The amended motion passed with one opposed and one abstention.

5. The Classic Learning Test

Dr. Dietz is interested in accepting the Classic Learning Test for admission and would like input from the faculty. Senator Miller offered to look into the test.


1. UPP 1-325 Policy on Policies and Shared Governance

Seantor Carlston stated that the development of these policies is continuing with the goal of presenting them at the May board meeting.

A senator stated faculty were not consulted on the possible Tech alliance and Coronavirus closure and that faculty are routinely not represented in important decisions.



Senators discussed questions and concerns about the university’s response to COVID-19, to be forwarded to the administration:

  • Can we have an End Date, a Provisional End Date, or a date when reevaluation is going to happen?
  • What are the explicit requirements of faculty?
  • Are faculty required to be on campus?
  • Is it okay to work from home?
  • Is it okay to work from home?
  • What effect does this have on ADA guidelines?
  • What resources are available to faculty who have never taught online?
  • Are we required to use D2L?
  • For those faculty not well versed in online instruction, can there be crash courses to help them adjust?
  • How are we expected to handle exams and assessment?
  • Will students be allowed on campus? Are we allowed to hold any meetings with students?
  • Field based courses are required to have a certain number of hours of observation for state certifications. Labs also have issues without meeting. What are these types of courses expected to do?
  • Students should have a least a week of notification before resuming regular courses to accommodate travel.
  • Why was the faculty not involved in this decision, timing, communication?
  • Why did no person from the administration come to the Senate meeting?
  • What is the criteria to resume normal classes?
  • Is Dr. Williamson involved in the discussion?
  • Are students in pre-requisite classes going to be penalized for presentation of less quality?
  • Is travel registration voluntary?
  • Can MSU handle the bandwidth uptick? (We can, but they should say this.)
  • Can the emergency planning committee develop a plan for this in the future?



Administrative Council (Dr. Carlston): No report

Academic Council (Dr. Lopez): No meeting

Financial Report (Dr. Anderson): No report

Other Active Committees: The Board of Regents will hold a special meeting in April.


The meeting adjourned at 4:15 p.m.



Sarah Cobb, Faculty Senate Secretary

Dave Carlston, Faculty Senate Chair


Next Meetings:

  • The next Executive Committee meeting with be at 3 p.m., Tuesday, April 14, 2020 in the Mass Communication Conference Room.
  • The next Faculty Senate meeting will be at 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 16, location to be determined.