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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Faculty Senate hears liaison concerns over return to in-person classes and Personnel Committee

The+Bobcat+statue+on+Texas+State+campus+wears+a+mask%2C+Tuesday%2C+Sept.+29%2C+2020%2C+near+the+Quad+bus+loop.+The+Swine+Flu+occurred+in+the+spring+of+2009%2C+and+according+to+Dr.+Emilio+Carranco%2C+H1N1+consisted+of+mild+symptoms+while+COVID-19+can+cause+more+long-term+effects.

The Bobcat statue on Texas State campus wears a mask, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, near the Quad bus loop. The Swine Flu occurred in the spring of 2009, and according to Dr. Emilio Carranco, H1N1 consisted of mild symptoms while COVID-19 can cause more long-term effects.

Faculty Senate liaisons expressed discomfort with a potential return to in-person classes in the fall 2021 semester and the addition of an outside observer to Personnel Committee meetings in the senate’s Oct. 21 meeting.
Some liaisons expressed unease at the prospect of a full return to in-person classes for the fall 2021 semester, with the majority of concerns surrounding the lack of enforcement the university possesses over student vaccination. Some concerned liaisons speculated that the percentage of vaccinated students on campus after a potential COVID-19 vaccine roll-out would be too low to return safely. Another liaison feared that a full return to campus would not be feasible until 2022.
The Personnel Committee oversees faculty evaluations and performance expectations. Some liaisons perceived adding an outside observer to PC meetings as an added layer of bureaucracy, as well as a reminder that the meeting is being watched. Some liaisons proposed the idea of their respective departments opting out of the outside observer.
Senate member Lynn Ledbetter debriefed Faculty Senate over a Non-tenure Line Faculty Committee meeting, relaying a comment from an attendee at the meeting, who spoke about discontent with proposed changes to a draft policy aiming to provide a career track for lecturers and senior lecturers. Associate Provost Debbie Thorne reportedly added language which gave some senate members the perception that lecturers would have to engage in peer-reviewed research to climb in their career track.
“She said, ‘It’s a recipe for failure,’” Ledbetter said. “No one can teach four large courses with hundreds of students and be expected to be active in producing peer-reviewed publications. [The draft changes were] not to the spirit of being an instructional faculty member.”
Senate member Gwynne Ash speculated the draft policy was not reciprocal for research faculty because the university viewed them as self-sufficient. Ash added instructional faculty draws students to their classes, bringing in revenue for the school regardless.
“[We were reminded] over and over again, that the reason we can’t be more than 50% online is because, ‘What people value about Texas State is our teaching,’” Ash said. “Well, if we value teaching so much, why are we making them do research?”
Senate Fellow Tina Cade updated the Faculty Senate on her sustainability project, surveying the Senate members about their concerns and wishes for sustainability on campus.
Several members of the senate discussed potential budget cuts in the biennial plan for the university. Senate member Rachel Davenport hoped the cuts would not affect the now Information Technology Assistance Center, a department affected by previous budget cuts.
“I had to come up with my own setup and actually [buy] my own equipment,” Davenport said. “So I don’t know if there’s not a set up in the teaching theaters, [but] it’s just not good enough.”

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