April 3, 2019

Wednesday, 04/03/2019
8th floor Mary and John Gray Library
Submitted By:
Nicki Michalski

Faculty Senate Minutes

April 3, 2019

8th Floor John and Mary Gray Library


Attending: Arts and Sciences: Brian Williams, Jennifer Fowler, Tom Sowers, Garrick Harden, Stacey Knight, LeAnn Chisholm, Pat Heintzelman, Jing Zhang, Sujing Wang, Gwinyai Muzorewa, JP Nelson, Christopher Martin, Suying Wei, Cengiz Sen, Robert Vallin, Valentin Andreev, Ted Mahavier, Joseph Kruger, Martha Rinker, Cheng-Hsien Lin Business: Kelly Weeks, Karyn Neuhauser, Vivek Natarajan Education: Donna Azodi, Dorothy Sisk, Johnny O’Connor, Shannon Williams, Kim McGough, Cristina Rios, Israel Msengi Engineering: Berna Tokgoz, John Gossage, Xuejun Fan, Fine Arts and Communication: Ashley Dockens, Jacob Clark, Nicki Michalski, Paul Hemenway, Cherie Acosta Library: Michael Saar, Scott Crawford College Readiness: Melissa Riley Lamar State College Port Arthur: Mavis Triebel


Not Attending: Arts and Sciences: Sanaz Alasti, Kami Makki, Gretchen Johnson, Ashwini Kucknoor Business: Kaushik Ghosn, Purnendu Mandal, Tim McCoy Education: Connie Ruiz, Kaye Shelton, Janice Kimmons, Engineering: Gleb Tcheslavski, James Curry, Mien Jao Fine Arts and Communication: Nandu Radhakirshnan, Amber Marchut, Sherry Freyermuth



Guest Speaker: Craig Escamilla, director student retention and success, enrollment management

  • Katrina Brent oversees our admission, retention, scholarship and registrar services.
  • We have been restructuring retention and success.
  • We are working with Valentin Andreev on these issues.
  • Kayla Holloway is our director at the Undergraduate Advising Center.
  • Rachel Hoover is the director of STARS and facing an issue scaling services there.
  • Grace Drnach is overseeing data collection and helping keep students from falling between the cracks.
  • We are spending a lot of time fixing internal issues.
  • Kayla is meeting with department chairs to discuss their needs and what they feel are the issues with the UAC. Many of the problems are on the department level. The UAC should be an extension of the department, not the other way around.
  • We are trying to assess who our students actually are, to separate the myth from reality. This will help us to intervene more effectively.
  • We are trying to streamline the progress report down to one report per semester. Getting good return rates is vital to student success since this is our first line of intervention. Our rates have improved, so thank you for spreading the word to colleagues.
  • We are reviewing the first time in college population and working on tracking them and building plans for success as well as contacting them if necessary to offer assistance and guidance.
  • We are working on a plan to track attendance in core classes.
  • We are restructuring the Cardinal Communities program.
  • We have a coordinator to work with at-risk students; we are working on an individual admissions contract which should help.
  • We will be installing academic success coaches to serve as the on-the-ground contact in each college.
  • We were recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for improvement in retention.
  • The results of our student satisfaction survey were good. We learned that 35-40% of our students work 20+ hours per week. About 10-15% of them work 40+ hours per week.
  • We need to clarify for students that in order to graduate in four years, they need to take 15 hours per semester. We have a culture of about 12 hours per semester and aren’t serving students well by letting them think they can graduate on time by doing that.
  • Students report that they like the new Setzer Center, but they are not happy with parking on campus.
  • In response to a question from a faculty member, Escamilla states that we can reopen progress reports if a faculty member requests we do so. We will also look into establishing a three week window rather than two.


Guest Speakers Judi Mann and Terry Mena representing LU Strong

  • LU Strong has a Hurricane Harvey assistance plan/fund. We have received 1.5 million dollars from the Department of Education and Qatar.
    • Students can receive financial assistance if they or their family were affected by Harvey.
    • They can qualify if they were not a student during Harvey but the hurricane impacted their ability to attend LU or they are a current student who was harmed by the hurricane.
    • We have two years to disburse this money, so people need to apply. Go to lamar.edu\lustrong to apply.
    • We are currently meeting with students to discuss and set-up awards.
    • We will send a copy of the form out to faculty.
    • Students can receive help if they were students but had to drop out due to Harvey and need assistance to return.
    • Please get your students to complete the survey that was sent out. It is a requirement for documenting the need of our students, and need is tied to the funding.
      • About ten percent of students in the fall survey said they were “between places” for living; they are homeless.
      • An additional ten percent said “other” regarding their housing without any additional explanation.
    • The amount of the award will vary depending on which grant the student qualifies for: it is 2500 from the DOE and 5000 from Qatar. Students are eligible to come back for more money.
    • We are also putting together a resource list for students.
    • Students who are graduating are still eligible.


Approval of Minutes: Tom Sowers made a motion to approve the minutes. Vivek Natarajan seconded the motion, and it carried.


President’s Report

  • Lamar is working on coordinating with LIT regarding underprepared students. There is a plan in the works to refer them to LIT with a promised admission to LU when they finish over there.
  • There will be group advising at orientation.
  • There is discussion of meta-majors; this will affect curriculum as it is developed.
  • The information about collegiality was sent out after the last meeting.
  • The new Beck teaching fellows program will not accept self-nominations. The award will be $25000.
  • Marquart has not yet released the results of the Dean’s review for the deans of education and fine arts and communication. He says he is “near the end” of getting the material ready.
  • We have a plan to call admitted students and ask if they actually plan on attending. The hope is this will increase the number of actual attendees.
  • The 60x30 plan is going to offer resources to students who are very close to graduation but dropped out to encourage them to finish. This is part of the completion goal. There are also goals about increasing identifiable marketable skills and decreasing student debt load in Texas. The overarching goal is that by 2030 at least 60 percent of Texans between 25 and 34 will have a certificate or degree.
  • The call for nominations for senators is in the process of being sent out.
  • Jennifer Fowler will meet with Joe Nordgren to discuss the open committee slots and establishing a committee on committees.
  • Sarah Tusa has agreed to head up the Staff Appreciation Day luncheon.


Committee Reports:


Academic Issues: the faculty senate portion of the self-study for SACSCOC has been submitted.


Faculty Issues:

  • We have a draft of the grievance policy.
    • It has been sent to the lawyer. In three weeks, he has not yet sent back comments.
  • We want the Senate to have input regarding the use of ePortfolios for faculty.
  • Current LU-TAP policy doesn’t allow for participation in AP courses. We would like to open the policy to include them. Joe Nordgren says he supports the change.


Budget and Compensation:

  • We are trying to get resolution regarding the tenure track travel funding. There are still concerns about junior faculty travel funding. Provost Marquart has said he will provide $5000 in $500 increments if a faculty member is presenting at the conference as a way to bolster funding.
  • It looks like the Research Enhancement Grants are not going to happen this year. The administration claims they are being moved to summer. This is something we need to stay on top of.
  • There has been very slow response regarding the possibility of faculty raises.


Distinguished Faculty Lecture:

  • Total has agreed to a five year funding commitment to support the lecture.
  • Brenda Nichols is overseeing the event. The committee is waiting for the go-ahead from her to schedule a date.



  • The committee is working on improving the system for applications.
  • We have begun trying to discover the state of funding for the faculty development leaves.


F2.08 task force:

  • Faculty would like to have examples of criteria sent out with the memo.
  • We are working on the wording for the chair and dean memo.
  • We hope to get the information out to faculty next week.


Strategic Issues:

  • We are working on financial aid issues; the people over there seem better than in the past. They want to improve services. There are financial aid vouchers available for book purchases if a student’s financial aid has not yet come in. We suggest that meetings be held in the colleges to discuss the needs and developments in financial aid.
  • The meta-major issue is under examination. They are started working on how it will affect retention, financial aid and such.


Old Business: none


New Business:

  • Dorothy Sisk invited senators to attend the opening presentations for the education conference in Landes Auditorium. The speakers will be a doctor who does surgeries in poor countries and a priest who served in Rawanda.
  • The question is asked if the administration still does a fall orientation for new chairs and administrators. They need to be provided information and training about the faculty handbook and shared governance. The chairs don’t know what is in the handbook, and that is dangerous for faculty. This issue is referred to the faculty issues committee.
  • Kelly Weeks presented a motion proposing a forensic audit of the university and a vote of no-confidence in President Evans and Provost Marquart. The motion was seconded by Valentin Andreev. Discussion was opened.
    • Kelly Weeks provided a list of concerns that led to the motion.
    • It is stated that these are serious charges and the Senate should investigate before taking a no-confidence vote.
    • Garrick Harden made a friendly motion to amend the previous motion so that it calls for an audit first, and pending the results of the audit, followed by the no-confidence vote. The amendment was accepted.
    • It is stated that as an advisory body, a no-confidence vote is our most powerful statement. We should be sure of the situation before taking such a stance.
    • A question is asked about how we would pay for a forensic audit.
    • Tom Sowers made a motion to “establish an ad-hoc committee to investigate the charges. If there is no response or a negative result to the investigation, we will open the call for a vote of no-confidence against the President and Provost and ask the Board of Regents to perform a forensic audit. There will be a six month deadline (including the summer) on the investigation.” The motion was seconded by Dorothy Sisk. Tom Sowers called for a vote and ended discussion.
      • 21 voted in favor of the amended motion
      • 4 voted against the amended motion
      • 3 abstained
    • If you are interested in serving on the ad-hoc committee, let President Fowler know at the end of the meeting.
  • We need to caucus to form our nominating committee after this meeting.


Adjournment: Tom Sowers made a motion to adjourn. The motion was seconded by Valentin Andreev and passed. The meeting was adjourned at 4:57 p.m.