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Faculty Senate 2002 Year in Review

The TAMUSHSC Faculty Senate has just completed its third year of existence. This was a busy and productive session in terms of two major areas; further study, discussion and revision of existing faculty policies and generation of new policies and procedures required for our new institution of the HSC.

With regard to the former, early in the year the Senate fulfilled its responsibility to appoint a Chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee on Academic Freedom, Ethics, Responsibility, Rights and Tenure (CAFERRT). The members of this committee were elected by the faculty. CAFERRT is a very important part of the appeal process for faculty who are subject to possible dismissal. In addition to the committee structure being finalized, the document which describes the functions of CAFERRT is currently under review by the Senate and will be revised to be in agreement with recent changes in A&M System policy concerning faculty academic freedom, rights and tenure.

The Senate also reviewed proposed changes in the HSC Faculty Appointment, Promotion and Tenure (FAPT) document and recommended some changes. These concerned better safeguards to ensure that both tenure and nontenure track faculty coming up for promotion are evaluated at the HSC level by a peer faculty committee containing representation from both tenured and nontenure track faculty and inclusion of a broader policy for tenure-track faculty being able to add time to their tenure clock in cases of maternity leave or the need to care for a spouse or child.

Finally, the Post Tenure Review procedures proposed for the HSC faculty were reviewed and approved by the Senate. These procedures include the State of Texas requirement that all tenured faculty must undergo a post-tenure review evaluation at regular intervals. The Senate felt that the policy proposed for tenured faculty in the HSC was fair and equitable and supported it becoming official policy.

With regard to the area of new policy development, a number of policies were developed by the Senate and sent to the HSC Executive Committee for approval. These included: (1) Designation of Faculty for Emeritus Status, (2) Selection of Faculty for the Rank of Distinguished Professor, (3) Awarding of Posthumous Degrees, and (4) Awarding of Honorary Degrees. These are all policies which need to exist in order to make us a mature and complete academic institution.

The new Senate for the year 2003 has been elected and is continuing the work started by its predecessors. Faculty should check the Senate Website for the names of the Senators representing their component of the HSC. Any issues that faculty wish the Senate to address or suggestions for more effective communication between the Senate and the faculty should be brought to the attention of these individuals. The Senate meets the second Thursday of every month and that these are open meetings and all are welcome and encouraged to attend.

On behalf of last year's Faculty Senate and its officers, let me say that it has been a privilege to serve as your elected HSC-level faculty governance body.

Sincerely,

Thomas V. Peterson, Ph.D.
Speaker, HSC Faculty Senate