The new provost and senate president also said they plan to improve communication channels between faculty and administration.
Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s chief financial officer is retiring, President Cynthia Teniente-Matson announced at the Faculty Senate meeting this month.
The senate has already designated two representatives to serve on the hiring committee to replace Kathryn Funk-Baxter, who is also the vice president of business affairs.
“It’s a critical position,” President Cynthia Teniente-Matson said in an Aug. 31 interview. “Kathy is a critical contributor; anybody in that role is a critical contributor. So the position is already being advertised. Kathy is stepping down several months from now; it takes a while to fill these roles.”
The Mesquite is scheduled to interview Funk-Baxter about her upcoming retirement next week.
The Senate meeting was held Sept. 2 in the Vista Room of the Central Academic Building.
Dr. Mohamed Abdelrahman, provost and vice president for academic affairs, also addressed the senate.
Abdelrahman discussed an effort to reduce the number of students who fall under the nonsatisfactory academic progress category.
Among the strategies to address this issue is a reevaluation of the rules or policies that are involved in assigning students to the category.
According to Abdelrahman, changing which GPA the school uses to determine if a student is put on the list already helped several hundred students
Abdelrahman announced he will be having open office hours for faculty. He will also start hosting a regular lunch, where a few faculty are selected at random to sit down and have a close conversation with him.
“I would really welcome that closer type of exchange of information,” Abdelrahman said.
Other topics covered by the provost included future collaboration with sister universities, increased recruitment of international students and a restructuring of the Office of the Provost to create a better hierarchy and reduce the number of direct reports the provost has.
During her address, Matson spoke about the initial census for the fall semester.
According to Matson, the initial census showed an increase in both headcount and credit hour production for A&M-San Antonio.
She also announced Texas A&M University-College Station will be taking over procurement for A&M-San Antonio, something the parent school has done for other sister universities in the past.
Matson also gave an update on a new city-funded road, which will connect Lot 3 to Mauermann Road. It will begin design in 2023 and will be named Agave Avenue.
Following the updates from administration, the senate moved onto their own business.
One major focus of the meeting was a discussion on making changes to the faculty handbook.
According to members of the senate, the faculty handbook is extremely out of date and needs to be updated if not rewritten entirely.
A committee has been working on updating the handbook, but the changes haven’t been finalized yet.
The senate also plans to create procedures for making regular updates to documents like the faculty handbook so they can evolve as A&M-San Antonio grows.
Dr. Megan Wise de Valdez, senate vice president, announced changes to the evaluation process for core curriculum courses.
The evaluations will be “more appropriately rigorous, taking into consideration different disciplines,” Wise de Valdez said. “It’s all put in the hands of the program.”
Previously, there had been a generic rubric used for these evaluations.
The meeting was the first under new leadership as Dr. Leonard Love, associate professor of management, and Wise de Valdez assumed the roles of president and vice president, respectively.
Love spoke to The Mesquite about goals for his first semester as senate president.
“One of the biggest things is increasing communication with both the faculty and the administration,” Love said.
The improved communication would include more regular reports from senators in each department and the executive committee, Love explained.
Other goals for this semester are the ongoing push for further shared governance and the issue of faculty pay.
The next meeting of the faculty senate will be Oct. 7.
Sergio Medina contributed to this story.