Faculty Senate Minutes September 2019

Senators present:

Kim Acuña, Jennifer Anderson, Chuck Bultena, Dave Carlston, Jesse Carlucci, Randy Case, Sarah Cobb, Eduardo Colmenares, Catherine Gaharan, Terry Griffin, Nathan Jun, Tammy Kurzewski, Adam Lei, Marcos Lopez, Matthew Luttrell, Stacia Miller, Jonathan Quam, John Schulze, Beverly Stiles, Tyler Williams, Bradley Wilson  


  • Dr. James Johnston (Provost)
  • Patrick Dowling (Staff Senate Representative)

Call to order: 3 p.m.


The minutes and agenda were approved.



1. Midterm grade reports discussion—James Johnston, Provost 

Provost Johnston stated that retention is 3% above last year and that retention initiatives on campus are starting to have positive effects. He also stated that the purpose of midterm grade reports is to identify students who are in danger of failing so the list can be distributed to TASP, college advisors, and others who can offer support to the students. The midterm grade reports will be available from week 5 to week 8 to allow maximum flexibility in reporting, with reports generated on the Friday of each week the system is open. The suggested syllabus statement included in the email announcing the midterm grade reporting is primarily intended to convey to students that the midterm grade does not affect their final course grade. The statement is not mandatory.

Several senators asked that the process of entering grades be made as easy as possible for faculty. Suggestions included checkboxes rather than drop-down menus for assigning grades; the ability to assign no grade to students not deemed in danger of failing; a limited number of choices for grades to be assigned; and the ability to send data between banner and D2L.

One senator mentioned that some colleges already have processes for tracking students in danger and that midterm grades require duplicate effort. Another senator asked whether there would be consequences for faculty members who do not complete the reports; Provost Johnston said there would not. Another senator asked that the letter that has been sent to students after an academic referral be sent to students who are reported as in danger of failing.
Senators requested a report in the spring semester with actions taken as a result of midterm grade reports.
Provost Johnston asked how decisions of this kind should be recorded and communicated to the university. Senators suggested that the senate receive a detailed proposal which could be circulated before officially being voted on.

2. Evergreen report discussion—James Johnston, Provost

Provost Johnston discussed the latest draft of the Workload Study from Evergreen. He stated that some things might be helpful and others would not be as good a fit for us. He suggested that it is time to have Evergreen finalize the report and close the process. The next step is to put together a task force to do further research and make recommendations. He requested input from the senate on the composition of the task force.
Senators suggested that the committee needs to include representation of department chairs, junior and senior faculty, and non-tenure-track faculty, and that names be assembled in the next 3-4 weeks.
Provost Johnston also stated that giving the task force adequate time to complete their study might require postponing revision of the Tenure and Promotion Policy until the 2020-2021 academic year. Senators suggested that the Workload Task Force and the Tenure and Promotion Policy Revision Committee should overlap.
A senator inquired about whether it is possible to run courses that do not meet official enrollment requirements. Provost Johnston explained that he tries to run courses if graduating seniors need it and there are no other options. Deans can request that low-enrolled courses be run for other reasons. Provost Johnston hopes that Ad Astra will help plan course offerings to allow students to progress through their degree plans.
3. IRB policy—Stacia Miller

Senator Acuña moved to accept the new proposed IRB policy. The motion passed.

4. Faculty Recognition—Nathan Jun

Senator Jun reminded the senate that two resolutions were passed last spring calling for recognition of teaching and scholarship among MSU faculty.
The administration has asked for input from the faculty senate as to how these awards should be administered. Chair Carlston stated that President Shipley and Provost Johnston are strongly in favor of college-level awards for teaching and scholarship.
Chair Carlston moved that each college annually give two awards, one for teaching and one for scholarship. The process and criteria for these awards should be developed by each college between now and commencement, and the awards should carry some recognition. The motion passed.
Committee and Other Reports:
  1. Administrative Council (Dr. Carlston): No report
  2. Academic Council (Dr. Lopez): No report
  3. Budget Oversight Committee (Dr. Stiles): No report
  4. Other active committees: No report
  5. Financial Report (Dr. Anderson): The Texas Council of Faculty Senates will meet Oct. 18-19. If any senators wish to attend the conference, the senate funds will cover travel expenses.


Senators discussed specific processes through the registrar’s office that create problems for students and advisors.

  • Course substitutions are often not entered until a degree audit is done.
  • Degree plans are sometimes lost and must be sent multiple times.
  • The paper advisor-approved schedule form
  • Change-of-major forms are often processed slowly
  • Confirmation for course substitutions should be sent to the faculty member who requested the substitution
  • Graduation audits should be processed early enough to affect registration the semester before graduation




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. Oct. 3 in the Mass Communication Conference Room.
  • The next Faculty Senate meeting will be held in the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at 3 p.m. on Oct. 10.