John J. Sachs USA Faculty Senate Chair’s Report

For September17th, 2008 Faculty Senate Meeting

Faculty Senate Executive Committee Meeting September 17th, 2008

  1. The revision of the Non-Reappoint Resolution is almost complete and hopefully by the time of our meeting we will have the revision ready to be presented to the Faculty Senate.
  2. The search for the Vice-President of Academic Affairs has begun and committee members participated in some of the fact finding meetings conducted by John Hicks, thecommunicated to John Hicks that university has experienced an increase in enrollment of over 4000 new students with over 14,000 total students. In addition, the university has also seen a significant increase in additional programs and the construction of numerous buildings across campus. Consequently, executive committees believe that whoever is selected to the Vice-President of Academic Affairs will need to represent the faculty needs and concerns. Some of the main concerns that the faculty have expressed are the need for additional faculty and resources for Faculty. These concerns were discussed in our Executive Committee meeting as it related to the increased enrollment, while the university is instituting a hiring freeze. These concerns were brought to the attention of President Moulton in our September 8th meeting (see below). In addition, these concerns were brought to the attention of the Board of Trustees on September 11th, 2008.
  3. The Senate Executive Committee discussed the Conflict of Interest Policy and will recommend that the Faculty Senate approve the proposed resolution on September 17th. In a related matter we discussed a complaint from a faculty member regarding the evaluation procedure within their college. The committee decided that the Chair of the Senate will provide informal guidance to the Faculty member and that the Senate should not to get involved in individual matters because there is a formal grievance process that faculty may utilize, which is outlined in the Preamble of Faculty Senate Constitution. “The Faculty Senate shall be organized so that the faculty may work cooperatively with the chief administrative officer and the other administrative officers of the University for the general welfare of the University. The Senate’s formulation provides a means for the faculty to deal with faculty issues that have university-wide application and with more localized issues which have exhausted” (Chapter 2, Page 35, Faculty Handbook).
  4. The Senate Executive Committee has worked closely with the Keith Ayers of the University Public Relations, for including Faculty Senate News and Announcements in the Mid-Week Memo. In addition, Mr. Ayers and his colleagues have provided the committee with some insightful suggestions and assistance with helping the Senate in its goal to better represent the Faculty at large.
  5. The proposed location for the university Club has been moved a little further off from Old Shell Road, to provide more parking and a more relaxed atmosphere. Dr. Turnipseed, Chair-Elect and I have been working with Bob Shearer and other administrative officers to develop policies and procedures for utilizing the University Club Facility.
  6. The Senate Executive Committee discussed the process of conducting three town hall meetings which will be held in October. The first Town Hall meeting will be held Oct 1st, 2008 from 12-2:00 in the Lecture Hall in the College of Education. Coffee, Soft Drinks, and Cookies will be provided by the Faculty Senate.
  7. The University of South Alabama “Campaign Leadership Meeting which is organized by The University of South Alabama Development and Alumni Relations Committee held a meeting to further develop their team effort to meet the goal of raising 75 Million Dollars for the University Endowments. To date they have raised approximately 68 Million dollars and expect to reach or exceed their goal by the March Deadline.
  8. The University of South Alabama Board of Trustees Meetings were held on the week of September 1st and September 10th. One of the major goals was to accept the bid and approve the funding for the Football Field House. On the September 11th meeting the Board of Trustees approved the Balanced Budget for over 615 million dollars for the 2008-2009 academic Year, as well as a Bond Issue of approximately 105 Million dollars. The universities bond rating has been upgraded from A2 to A1 by Moody and the University is also now rated by Standard and Poor, which allowed the university to obtain a better interest rate for the bond issue. The Bond issue is to be utilized for capital improvements such as the construction of the addition to Women’s and Children’s Hospital, renovations to the student center, physical education building, the existing student center and other projects. The President discussed the reality that the state appropriations for USA’s general operations budget was cut by over 17 million dollars and that there are approximately $ 10 million of operational increases in Teachers Retirement and Matching Funds, Building and Maintenance, Scholarships, and other line items. Wayne Davis did announce that the Health Benefits Program for Employees and Staff will not increase during this fiscal year.

Faculty Senate Executive Committee Meeting with President Moulton September 8th, 2008

  1. The Senate Executive Committee provided President Moulton with an update on the progress of the non-reappointment resolution. President Moulton indicated that he is pleased that the administration and the executive committee are working on this policy and he is looking forward to receiving the completed resolution.
  2. The Senate Executive Committee asked President Moulton and Dr. Moore, Interim Vice- President of Academic Affairs if the Workload Resolution update had been considered by the Deans Council. We were informed that the Resolution was being presented at their next meeting.
  3. The President and The Executive Committee reviewed some of the feedback that has arisen from the meetings with John Hicks, the consultant for the Search for the Vice- President of Academic Affairs. One concern that was brought up in the various meetings by faculty and administration is that the university is expanding at a considerable rate and that this expansion has a direct impact on the university facilities and faculty. Also, the Executive Committee indicated that in addition to the expansion issue identified in the meetings for the Vice-President of Academic Affairs Search, there has also been an increase in student enrollment, which not only has an impact the entire faculty, but has the potential of having a significant impact on the general service classes. Consequently, many of the participants in these meetings have indicated that the impact of additional programs and increased student enrollment is a major issue that the new Vice-President of Academic Affairs will have to be able to address. Also, President Moulton indicated that the hiring freeze enacted did not impact this years hiring of Faculty. In addition, President Moulton indicated that he is also concerned about the impact of increased enrollment and expansion of programs is having on the Faculty, staff, and facilities. President Moulton indicated that when the new buildings are completed there are plans to provide additional classroom and laboratory space for Chemistry, Science and other academic areas. President Moulton said that he has been monitoring this issue and is asking his staff to review the institutional data with the Senate Executive Committee to examine the current impact on university facilities and faculty workload, but also to help prepare for the future.
  4. The Senate Executive Committee informed President Moulton that the Senate Executive Committee will be recommending that the “Conflict of Interest Policy “developed by Russ Lea, Vice-President of Research, be accepted by Faculty Senate at our September Meeting.
  5. The Executive Committee thanked Keith Ayers and his staff from USA Public Relations for their efforts to assist the Faculty Senate in communicating with the at-large faculty e.g., Advertizing and announcements being incorporated into the Mid-Week Memo.
  6. President Moulton reported that The University Club is still scheduled to be completed by the end of December.

Senate Chair’s Presentation to University of South Alabama’s Board of Trustee’s

The Chair of the Faculty Senate requested permission for President Moulton to speak to the Board of Trustees at the Fall Board Meeting. President Moulton did not hesitate, and said he would provide me the opportunity. The essence of my presentation to the Board of Trustees was a description of the metamorphosis that our campus has been experiencing in recent years. We have increased the number of academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, we have added sports programs, expanded our hospitals and medical programs, and are making capital improvements across all of our campuses. I also indicated that USA is on the verge of becoming the premier University from Jacksonville to Port Author, Texas and from Mobile to Atlanta. I also indicated that while the University expanding, the Archaic State Legislature Funding mechanism has resulted in a $ 17, 000, 000.00 shortfall with concomitant increases in operational expenses. This financial shortfall has resulted in a hiring and salary freeze for faculty and staff, which is jeopardizing our goal of being the Premier University on the Gulf Coast. I implored the Board of Trustees, the University Foundation, the Development and Alumni Office, and Faculty Senate to work together to develop a mechanism to help respond and adjust to the extreme fluctuations in state funding for USA e.g., a Trust Fund for Faculty and Staff .

Respectfully submitted
John J. Sachs, Chair
Faculty Senate

University of South Alabama  -  Faculty Senate -  Mobile, AL 36688-0002
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