Vicki L. Tate
Faculty Senate Chair’s Report
For Oct. 17, 2007 Faculty Senate Meeting
Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Oct. 3, 2007
Committee Chair Eric Loomis and the Policy & Handbook Committee agreed to draft a memorial resolution honoring Mayer Mitchell for his many years of service and financial assistance to the University. The resolution will be presented at the next senate meeting with hopes of suspending the rules to adopt it at the October meeting.
Committee Chair Loomis presented a rough draft of a resolution for revising the policy and procedures for non-reappointment of probationary faculty that he will be presenting to the Policy & Handbook Committee. This resolution is the first step of several that the senate will be proposing to address the updating our handbook. He also distributed the AAUP’s wording from their “Statement on Procedural Standards in the Renewal or Nonrenewal of Faculty Appointments” (adopted 1971, revised in 1989) and proposed change in wording for the USA Handbook. His draft was modeled on the wording used by Auburn University. There was some discussion and suggestions for changes for the resolution. Loomis will be submitting the revised version to his committee and will try to have a final draft ready to be presented to the senate at the Oct. meeting.
Committee Chair Jean Irion brought up the issue from the Salaries & Benefits Committee that the present USA Health Plan does not cover fertility issues. The Executive Committee suggested that she present the issue to the University Fringe Benefits Committee for their comment.
Committee Chair John Sachs reported that the ad hoc University Club Committee (Sachs, Doug Haywick, & Nicole Carr) met with Pres. Moulton and Wayne Davis regarding the proposed building of University Club by the builders of the Grove Apartments. The proposed 5,000 sq ft building, with various types of rooms for gatherings will be for the use of the University faculty, administration, departments, colleges and staff. There are several details that remain to be answered such as the cost to be a member and the management of the building.
Committee Chair Sachs suggested that, with all of the improvements that have been made over the past decade to the quality of academic programs and campus life, the senate should acknowledge them with a letter of appreciation to Moulton for all of these positive changes. The Planning & Development Committee will work on writing a rough draft.
Chair Vicki Tate reported on the progress of the Town Meetings. Everything is on schedule.
Committee Chair Steve Morris brought up the issue of football that has been announced in the local press. He was concerned that the senate should have received a heads up about the renewed interest before reading about it in the newspaper. The Executive Committee will bring this issue up at our next meeting with Pres. Moulton.
Fringe Benefits Committee, Oct. 9, 2007
The USA Health Plan’s “Annual Valuation & Projections Plan” and “Financial & Utilization Review” were distributed. There has been an approximate 7% increase in costs over last year’s expenditures. If health costs continue to increase for the rest of the year, it is estimated that there will be a $1.3 million short-fall. Rather than increasing the employee contribution for the Health Plan this year, the consultant from recommended covering the short-fall by taking a credit against a general fund reserve that was set up a few years ago. The consultant believes the university can absorb the deficit for the next fiscal year (2008), but we may need to consider an increase in employee contribution for the next fiscal year. The last increase in the base for employee contribution was in 2005.
The Office of Human Resources is in the process of moving its offices over to the former Health Services Building, now known as Research Technology Park Building 3. There will be an open house of the new facilities during the Employees Benefits Fair, which will be Nov. 1st for on-campus and Nov. 2nd at the hospitals. The Benefits Fair will have several vendors and lots of freebees. A change from last year’s fair is that there will be no flu shots administered since the shots are now covered under our health plan. Human Resources will be moving to an on-line employment application system by the beginning of the year, and will also be covering student health services.
Athletics Council Meeting, Oct. 10, 2007
Hal Williams reported about the results of an investigation involving the University’s men’s tennis team that came to light in Aug, 2006. It was determined that there were 3 major NCAA violations, involving 5 athletes. As a result, Scott Novak resigned his position as coach last fall, the University will have a 1/3 reduction of scholarships for tennis and will be on 5-years probation. There will also be an independent audit of the sports program for compliance review.
Pres. Moulton gave a lengthy description of where we are in regards to football at USA. He first reiterated that there is no commitment to date for football, but what we are doing is re-evaluating the “fit” of football for this university. He emphasized that where this university is to day is not the same place we were back in 2000. When he took over in 1998, the university was essentially broke, with over $40 million in unfunded construction. There were no development activities being done, and our enrollment was in a decline with the change from quarters to semesters. His first priority at that time was to re-built academic programs, which is what has happened over the last decade. Today our financial condition is sound with good reserves. We have an active development program, with the USA Campaign raising almost $60 million towards the goal of $75 million. Our enrollment has reached a record of over 14,000 students. In light of all of these changes, Moulton believes it is time to re-examine the status of football.
Moulton believes that the majority of people from various constituents support athletics in general and football, specifically. In order for him personally to support adding football to our athletics program, he has some caveats: a.) If we are to add football, we shouldn’t do it half-heartedly. We will need to have a 1-A team; b.) USA students will have to carry a large portion of the financial burden through student fees, and we are not to draw a large amount from the university’s operating budget; and c.) Additional support should come from new money, such as ticket sales and donations, as well as community support. He did concede that some of the money to subsidize football will be coming from the general operating budget, but we are already doing this now with our athletics program. But he pointed out that USA has one of the lowest subsidies for athletics in the Sun Belt Conference.
SGA is currently working on plan to show the true support from students and determine what they would be willing to pay in the way of student fees. Also, before football can become a reality, the university would need to come up with a 4-year budget projection and take a realistic look of the costs. The reason for the 4 year span is because scholarship costs will accrue over time since NCAA rules stipulate that only 25 new scholarships may be added per year, and it would take 4 years to reach the maximum number allowed of 85 scholarships. We will also need to find a place for the team to play. Ladd-Pebbles Stadium is a good potential site.
In other items, the Gender Equity Report was distributed. For the 2007/08 academic year, the Dept. of Athletics has awarded 74.31 scholarships to female students compared to 73.50 in the previous year. Scholarships for male student athletes decreased from 45.24 in 2006/07 to 41.49 in 2007/08. NCAA limits are 83.00 for women and 46.50 for men. Currently we have 135 female student athletes (51%) and 128 male student athletes (49%) for a total of 263 student-athletes participating on athletic teams. Of the 135 female student-athletes, 64.3% receive scholarship monies while male students-athletes receive 35.7%.
[NOTE: With 1-A football, and the addition of a possible 120 more male athletes, the ratio of female to male student athletes would be 135 female (35.2%) and 248 male (64.7%).]
FS Executive Committee meeting with President Moulton, Oct. 15, 2007
Pres. Moulton once again talked on the topic of football at USA. In addition to his comments before the Athletics Council, he indicated that earliest a team would be able to play would be the fall of 2009, but more probably 2010. We could possibly start recruiting team for next fall (2008) and could possibly have 25 scholarships initially available. Also, as a side effect to a football program would be the inclusion of a marching band program, with the potential for more music scholarships. The issue of Title IX was brought up. Pres. Moulton said that “program need” would be used to address the balance. This is where a group pushes to start a new sport, as was the case with the addition of women’s softball.
The question of what is the policy concerning funds generated by summer courses was put to senior administrators. Dr. Covey addressed the issue. Of the revenue generated by summer courses, the first 10% stays with Academic Affairs to cover costs, then the cost of summer faculty salaries are covered. The remainder goes to the deans of the colleges, which is used to address the needs of the colleges as a whole. Some colleges barely break even (Engineering and Computer & Information Science), while other colleges (Education and Arts& Sciences) do fairly well with summer course revenue.
Another issue discussed was salaries for adjunct faculty. Dr. Covey said the last time the base salaries for adjuncts were raised was in 2004. Prior to that, 1996 was the last year salaries were increased. Adjuncts holding masters degree received a 28% increase, while PhD holders received an increase of 23.5%. The average base salary for adjuncts holding a masters degree is around $2400 per credit hour, though there are differences in the base salaries in different disciplines. Pres. Moulton pointed out that part-time pay is based on local opportunity, and that the university does take into consideration the rate of pay at regional institutions. Unlike many universities, USA has a low percentage of adjunct faculty compared to full-time faculty.
The perennial question of day care was raised, but this time not as a fringe benefit for employees, but rather as an encouragement for the Technology & Research Park administration to actively look for day care franchises to fill vacant space at the Research Park. The idea is that a day care business within the setting of the Research Park would provide potential research and practicum opportunities for faculty and students in the fields of Education and Allied Health.
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