The Faculty Senate discussed updates on higher education issues, sick leave and goals for the future of Faculty Senate during the Oct. 4 meeting.
The Senate discussed a change to Texas State’s General Education. Currently, every student needs six hours of the component area option (SCH). These general classes are mostly based in literary studies. Members proposed more flexibility within this area by increasing the options for students to take different math or science credits to fulfill their SCH requirement. Making these changes to the SCH would mean that some students, specifically those majoring in math and science areas, could go through this university without ever having to take an English literature class, cutting funds to the English Department. However, it was emphasized that none of these suggestions are set in stone; they are only recommendations.
The Senate began the discussions by covering the new “Dear Colleague” letter which concerned revisions to the Title IX compliance. Formerly, investigators were given 60 days to finish a case. Now, there will be no timeline for investigations, only the rule to finish “in a timely manner”. Using an informal resolution for cases of sexual misconduct is in consideration.
Next, senators conversed over possible revisions to the sick leave policy. They are aiming to make the policy simpler and shorter than the 37 pages it is now. It was suggested that reporting sick leave should be separated into three separate categories of health maintenance, emergencies and sickness without a doctor’s diagnosis. Additionally, the Senate aspires to create more balance in the sick leave pool. Major revisions will be made to the policy in upcoming weeks.
Strengthening community and securing a place are the main goals of the Faculty Senate this year. Many members felt that the loss of their faculty dining facility feels like they have less space on campus. Members suggested some revisions- such as tinted windows, providing quicker meals to faculty, and ordering their food in advance- that could make their dining experience better.
Federal Development Leave was another issue that faculty would like to see revised. Faculty Senate felt the current policy is too inflexible. Faculty must apply for leave five and a half years before their scheduled time off. The negotiation for changes is still ongoing, leaving members hoping for a compromise soon.
The Carnegie Foundation has contacted Texas State to submit nominees for the Carnegie Award. Two nominees will be chosen from each university that has received this request.
Lastly, Enrollment for undergrad and graduate students is down. Some have speculated that Hurricane Harvey could be the reason for this sudden drop in enrollment. To combat this, the school is looking to improve relationships with community colleges within the area. Institutions like Blinn College and Kilgore College could turn into feeder schools for Texas State.
The next Faculty Senate meeting will be on Oct. 11.