Members of the Faculty Senate met yesterday in Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium to discuss faculty salaries, minority recruitment and retention and the future of the Computer Science Department, among other issues.
Faculty salaries increased an average of seven percent during the 2001-2002 academic year, according to Provost Biddy (Carolyn A.) Martin.
A similar increase is planned for next year, Martin said. The increase was in accordance with the promise of President Hunter R. Rawlings III to make University faculty salaries comparable to faculty salaries at peer institutions within five years. During the 2002-2003 academic year, faculty salaries will increase an average of 7.8 percent.
“The college deans and I have agreed on college-specific goals for continuing faculty [for the upcoming academic year],” Martin said. These individual goals have created very minimal differences in the amount of money each college receives from the Provost’s office for faculty salaries.
The Faculty Senate also discussed and approved a proposal presented by the faculty committee on minority education that standardizes practices for recruitment, retention and addressing concerns of students of underrepresented minority groups across colleges.
“There are large differences [in these practices] across colleges,” said Prof. Tony Ingraffea, civil and environmental engineering.
According to Ingraffea, many practices relating to minority retention and recruitment are outdated and do not work effectively.
“There are large differentials in the retention of minority and majority students across colleges,” he said.
To alleviate these problems, the faculty committee on minority education completed a two-year study of the issues of recruitment, retention and conflict resolution of students of underrepresented minority groups. This involved meeting with students, admissions officials and representatives of minority programs to get their opinions on the best practices, according to Ingraffea.
The faculty senate approved the committee’s list of recommended best practices of recruitment, retention and procedures for addressing student concerns.
To improve the recruitment of students from underrepresented minority groups, the committee recommended an increase in hosting programs, follow-up contacting of prospective students and outreach programs.
In order to retain more students from underrepresented minority groups, the committee suggested that all colleges improve mentor programs, student associations, early intervention procedures and the availability of undergraduate research.
The committee recommended that all colleges create a program through which underrepresented minority students can find support and share their concerns. These programs will be similar to the College of Engineering’s Safe Haven program, in which trained faculty and staff, according to the committee’s proposal, “are available to listen to individuals’ concerns and discuss possible resources or actions that might help resolve the situation.”
The faculty senate approved the committee’s request that it review the responses to these recommendations in three years.
“We don’t just want to throw money at a program and hope it’s working,” Ingraffea said, adding that the committee should have a way of evaluating the efficacy of their recommendations.
The Faculty Senate also began the process of locating the computer science department in one or more of the existing colleges by approving the committee on academic programs and policies.
Computer science became independent of the College of Engineering under former Dean John Hopcroft. In response to this decision, the faculty senate approved an agreement written by former Vice Provost Cutberto Garza two years ago, which delayed the reinstitution of the department into one or more of the existing colleges.
The Faculty Senate approved a motion to locate the Computer Science Department in one or more of the existing colleges by October 2002.
Currently, Robert Constable, chair of the department of computer science, has control over tenure and budget issues. When the department is located in a college, the dean of the college, who traditionally has control of faculty hires, promotions and salaries, will assume these responsibilities.
The chairs of the departments in the College of Engineering expressed dissatisfaction with the separation of the Computer Science Department from the college.
“The college has vigorously and repeatedly protested the separation to the President and the Provost. We have explained that the temporary organizational structure imposed by then-Provost Randel harms Engineering and is simply unacceptable to its faculty,” they said. “We believe c.s. should be located in an existing college, and prefer that to be [the] Engineering [college].”
Archived article by Stephanie Hankin