Resolutions & Work Accomplished
Submitted by the Faculty Senate Faculty Relations Committee March 21, 2019
Whereas TCU affirms a campus culture that promotes equity, fairness, collaboration, and connection; and
Whereas TCU’s strategic plan, Vision in Action: Lead On, identified raising the university’s academic profile as a primary objective; and
Whereas all TCU faculty members should have an equal right to advance their professional development and raise their academic profiles; and
Whereas the number of full-time non-tenured faculty has steadily grown over the past decade; and
Whereas current confusions in the Faculty/Staff Handbook’swording concerning leave policies limit access to opportunities to professional development for full-time non-tenured faculty; and
Whereas the specific use of the ambiguous word “normally” in reference to who qualifies for academic leave contributes to an inconsistent, and thus unfair, granting of academic leave among TCU’s various colleges and schools1; and
Whereas such inconsistency allows some, but not all, full-time non-tenured faculty to take academic leave, thereby limiting access to professional development opportunities; and
Whereas such inconsistency is incompatible with TCU’s commitment to equity, fairness, collaboration, and connection;
Whereas TCU, and particularly the TCU Faculty Senate, has previously endorsed the conviction that TCU faculty should not be separated into gratuitous tiers of greater and lesser privileges;
Therefore, be it resolved, that the TCU Faculty Senate strongly suggests that the wording in the Faculty/Staff Handbook be clarified to indicate that “Leaves can be awarded to all full-time faculty whose leaves enhance the academic profile of their department, college, and/or the University.”
1 ”Normally, leaves are awarded only to tenured faculty and are awarded to faculty whose leaves enhance the academic profile of their college or the University.” (TCU 2018-19 Faculty/Staff Handbook, p. 53)
Passed April 4, 2019
The first goal of TCU’s Vision in Action strategic plan is to “strengthen the academic profile and reputation of TCU.” We can only accomplish this goal through faculty excellence in both teaching and research/creative activities.
Regular merited faculty leaves provide faculty with the time, attention, and energy needed to achieve such excellence. Accordingly, the 2018-19 TCU Faculty/Staff Handbook indicates that “The University supports the concept of merited leaves with pay for full-time faculty” and that they are “awarded to faculty whose leaves enhance the academic profile of their college or the University.”
The 2018-19 TCU Faculty/Staff Handbook also indicates that “Normally, seven academic years at TCU must pass between applications for leave of absence. Hence, one applies for a leave in the fall of the seventh academic year since the previous leave with the award taken in the eighth year of service.” In contrast, most of our peer and aspirant institutions offer a seven-year leave cycle, and we are unaware of any other comparable institution that offers an eight-year leave cycle.
Therefore, to facilitate faculty excellence in teaching and research/creative activities, the TCU Faculty Senate recommends revising the TCU Faculty/Staff Handbook to change the eight-year leave cycle to a seven-year leave cycle (i.e., with six years of service and leave taken in the seventh year). The revised handbook language would read, “Usually, seven academic years at TCU must pass between leaves of absence. Hence, one applies for a leave in the fall of the sixth academic year since the previous leave with the award taken in the seventh year of service.”
This resolution does not preclude the awarding of more frequent leaves in exigent circumstances (such as fellowships, grants, invitations, and other special opportunities) where a leave would greatly enhance the academic profile of the University.
Passed April 4, 2019
Mirroring the broader world around us, the TCU community strives to accommodate a diversity of opinions, perspectives, and experiences on many issues of importance. Given these differing views, authentic and respectful dialogue must guide faculty discussions on current and future issues of concern to the University. Especially now, as we begin work toward crafting a structure for teaching our students how to speak, relate, and work productively across differences, it is imperative that faculty model this skill set. A willingness to address differences respectfully and frankly, with an attitude of curiosity, humility, and a desire to understand, should be our ground rule in all matters involving discourse and debate. We therefore call upon all TCU faculty, regardless of rank, discipline, or perspective, to listen carefully to one another, to seek understanding over divisiveness, and to engage in respectful dialogue in their discussions with one another.
Passed May 2, 2019
The Faculty Senate of Texas Christian University, representing the faculty, reaffirms its commitment to the University’s core values of academic achievement, personal freedom and integrity, the dignity and respect of the individual, and a heritage of inclusiveness, tolerance, and service. The faculty supports the TCU community’s ongoing efforts to fully realize those values and their expression in diversity in all its forms, equity, inclusiveness, freedom of expression, and academic freedom.
December 1, 2016
- In recognition for conducting the colossal work of researching and cataloguing historical proceedings from 1970 to 2015, and appreciating the significance and many possible future uses of this contribution in the operations of the Faculty Senate, the Senate hereby presents this expression of its sincere gratitude to its Information Officer, Dr. Art Busbey.
- The Faculty Senate Governance Committee acknowledges the actions of the executive committee in the creation, charges, and membership appointments of the Committee on the Academic Profile of the University, The Committee on Research and Creative Activity, and the Horizon Commission. Therefore in accordance with section IV, Articles C and D, we move for a vote of confirmation by the senate in the creation of these committees.
Motion from EEC:
The TCU Faculty Senate endorses the shortened e-SPOT, as recommended by the University
Evaluation Committee (UEC) and the EEC. The new shortened e-SPOT questionnaire is as follows:
New Proposal for Student Perception of Teaching (S.P.O.T.) Survey
– This course is a requirement (i.e. part of my major/minor/program/core requirements).
– I am a major in the department offering this course.
[Strongly Disagree / Disagree / Neither Agree nor Disagree / Agree / Strongly Agree]
– I was interested in taking this course.
[Better than expected / same as I expected / worse than I expected]
– My performance in this course is …
[Strongly Disagree / Disagree / Neither Agree nor Disagree / Agree / Strongly Agree]
– The instructor encouraged active involvement in this class.
– The instructor treated students fairly.
– The instructor created and maintained an atmosphere of civility and respect.
– I felt welcome seeking the instructor’s help outside of class or online.
– The instructor was well prepared.
– The instructor provided clear explanations during class.
– The instructor provided useful feedback on my work.
[Strongly Disagree / Disagree / Neither Agree nor Disagree / Agree / Strongly Agree]
– The course work helped me learn.
– What worked well in this class?
– What are your suggestions for improving this class?
Resolution on Faculty Inclusivity
By the TCU Faculty Senate
November 3, 2011
Whereas TCU affirms a campus culture that emphasizes collaboration, reciprocity, cooperation, and connectivity, and
Whereas TCU upholds a firm institutional commitment to shared governance and a participatory process that encourages faculty involvement, and
Whereas all full-time TCU faculty should have the opportunity to participate in the structures of governance that concern them, and
Whereas TCU administrators and faculty must guard against forming of specious hierarchies that unnecessarily limit faculty participation due to different ranks, designations, and duties,
Therefore, be it resolved, that the TCU Faculty Senate endorses a policy of inclusivity regarding faculty participation in governance structures; that full-time TCU faculty should not be separated into gratuitous tiers of greater and lesser privileges due to their different ranks, designations, and duties; and that all full-time TCU faculty have the right to express their concerns and opinions in all appropriate departmental, college, and Senate forums.
Resolution on Access to Wireless Networks
By the TCU Faculty Senate
November 3, 2011
Whereas TCU has established a reputation as a center of academic excellence and innovation, and
Whereas TCU’s ability to achieve its mission to educate individuals to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community is significantly impacted by the ability of TCU students to have easy and reliable access to the World Wide Web, and
Whereas maintaining the teacher-scholar model also requires all TCU faculty and support staff to have easy and reliable access to the World Wide Web, and
Whereas TCU students are continuing to experience connectivity difficulties with the StuWireless network, and
Whereas TCU faculty and support staff are experiencing connectivity difficulties and restricted access to TCU networks, and
Whereas these difficulties negatively impact the ability of TCU students, faculty, and support staff to contribute to TCU’s mission and achieve academic and operational excellence, and
Whereas an increasing reliance on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile wireless devices over traditional desktop computing devices will only exacerbate any current wireless network problems, and
Whereas Mac users currently experience more problems than PC users,
Therefore, be it resolved, that the TCU Faculty Senate urges Technology Resources to make (1) reliable student access to TCU networks, (2) unrestricted and reliable access to TCU networks by TCU faculty and support staff, and (3) equal treatment and support for Mac and PC users priorities of the highest order and (4) to provide the Faculty Senate with regular updates on the progress being made toward achieving these goals.
Submitted by the Student Relations Committee
A Resolution Honoring Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr.
The TCU Faculty Senate
WHEREAS, Dr. Victor J. Boschini, Jr. has provided exemplary leadership and service as Texas Christian University’s Chancellor since 2003;
WHEREAS, he has encouraged new strategic initiatives that have raised TCU’s reputation while positively impacting the community, nation, and world, such as Vision in Action and Vision in Action: The Academy of Tomorrow;
WHEREAS, under his leadership the student-faculty ratio has improved to 13:1; the freshman-to-sophomore retention rate has reached 90 percent; undergraduate financial aid has doubled; and applications for admission have soared to more than 19,000;
WHEREAS, under his leadership TCU has been consistently listed among the nation’s top 100 universities, its schools, colleges, and programs highly ranked; and its reputation enhanced with the recognition it has received for its promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics and campus life;
WHEREAS, under his leadership a dozen chairs and professorships have been created, so that now 11 percent of the faculty hold endowed positions;
WHEREAS, under his leadership the physical campus has been transformed by continual improvements; TCU’s facility space has increased by 24 percent; $573 million has been invested in 25 new facilities and renovation projects, including Scharbauer, Palko, Reed and Lowe halls; and classrooms and laboratories have been universally upgraded;
THEREFORE, be it resolved, that the TCU Faculty Senate commends Chancellor Boschini for his exemplary leadership and expresses its profound gratitude and esteem;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution be made a part of the official minutes of the TCU Faculty Senate and that a copy be presented to him.
Resolution on TCU Employee Benefits
Adopted by the Faculty Senate
May 2, 2013
Whereas the TCU Faculty Senate recognizes the need of the Board of Trustees and senior administrators to practice fiscal responsibility, and that prudent oversight of such responsibility ensures the longevity, competitiveness, and well-being of the institution, and
Whereas the TCU Faculty Senate believes that robust benefits are a vital part of employee compensation and thus crucial in attracting top faculty and staff, fostering long-term employee commitment to the institution, and promoting its national and international reputation, and
Whereas the TCU Faculty Senate further believes that robust benefits are crucial in sustaining institutional momentum, maintaining faculty and staff morale, and preserving the Teacher/Scholar model that distinguishes TCU’s excellence, and
Whereas the TCU Faculty Senate is proud to contribute to TCU’s momentum, distinction, and excellence, and is fully committed to protecting the overall health of the university,
Therefore, be it resolved, that the TCU Faculty Senate recommends that employee compensation, including benefits, either be maintained at current levels, or increased when appropriate;
Be it also resolved, that reductions to employee compensation, including benefits, should only be considered in the event of a severe budget crisis that clearly threatens TCU’s institutional health and well- being; that, if such financial exigency occurs, employee compensation should only be considered for reduction as part of a larger campus-wide effort to reduce costs; and that, if such budget cutbacks become necessary, all employees be grandfathered in at their current levels;
Finally, be it further resolved, that any reductions to faculty compensation, including benefits, be discussed in the Faculty Senate before any steps toward implementation are taken; that, as a means of declaring its position, the Faculty Senate take a formal vote on such reductions; and that designated representatives of the TCU Faculty Senate take part in Cabinet-level budget discussions when changes in employee compensation are discussed.
Resolution Summary: This resolution reaffirms the 2013 “Resolution on TCU Employee Benefits,” expresses concern that the Faculty Senate was not consulted regarding the recent reductions in benefits, respectfully asks for a meaningful dialogue to consider the restoration of the PPO90 plan and the domestic partner policy, and, in the spirit of shared governance, calls for the involvement of the Faculty Senate representatives in future decision-making discussions on benefits.
Whereas the TCU administration, faculty, and staff have strongly supported a campus culture of connection, collaboration, and cooperation; and
Whereas shared governance has been widely endorsed as a part of this campus culture; and
Whereas the TCU Faculty Senate’s “Resolution on TCU Employee Benefits,” adopted by the Senate on May 2, 2013, resolves that employee compensation and benefits should be maintained at current levels or increased, and reduced only in the case of a severe budget crisis that threatens TCU’s well-being; and
Whereas the 2013 resolution states that benefit reductions should occur only after the TCU Faculty Senate has had the opportunity to discuss and make a recommendation concerning proposed reductions and that “designated representatives of the TCU Faculty Senate take part in Cabinet-level discussions” when changes in compensation and benefits are discussed; and
Whereas the TCU administration has recently—and without consultation—reduced employee benefits by precluding employees from enrolling in the PPO90 health insurance option and ending access to benefits for domestic partners; and
Whereas these reductions in benefits are inconsistent with TCU’s Vision in Action Lead On strategic plan, which calls for strengthening the workforce and emphasizes the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion,
Therefore, be it resolved that the TCU Faculty Senate (1) expresses its concern that the Faculty Senate was not consulted in the administrative recent decisions to reduce benefits, and therefore, (2) respectfully asks for a meaningful dialogue with the Chancellor, the Cabinet, and the Retirement and Benefit Plan Committee to consider the restoration of full access to the PPO90 plan and the domestic partner policy, and (3) calls for specific procedures to implement a greater level of shared governance by involving Faculty Senate representatives in all future administrative deliberations on benefits.
The Academic Excellence Committee, in conjunction with the DEI Subcommittee for Curriculum, propose adding a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) requirement as an Essential Competency to the TCU Core Curriculum. (Faculty Senate, March 7, 2019)
- The Scholarship and Financial Aid Committee, in cooperation with the Academic Excellence Committee, will review the GPA requirements for maintaining eligibility for scholarships and other forms of financial assistance. In the spirit of flexibility and fairness, special consideration should be given to evaluating each trailing semester’s GPA for maintaining eligibility as well as the current policy of considering the cumulative GPA.
In addition, the Senate recommends that there should be a review of the current policy whereby a 3.00 GPA is required for the continuation of Academic scholarship eligibility in the first year and then increases to the 3.25 GPA level in succeeding years.
2. Policies regulating the number of times a course may be retaken are the province of the college offering the course. In the case of a course offered by one unit, which is required in the major degree plan of another, the Deans of the respective units, in cooperation with the Provost, will reach an agreement on policy.
3. A student taking a course multiple times will have all grades achieved in that course averaged together for inclusion in the calculation of theirGPA*.
*If a student takes a course multiple times it will only count once in terms of credits earned. A 3 credit course taken three times will contribute 3 credits (not9 )toward the degree and the GPA.
Resolution from EEC: Appropriate use of student evaluations
TCU is committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and seeks to “promote a campus environment that is welcoming for all and free of bias.” Academic research, however, demonstrates that student evaluations of teaching “systematically disadvantage faculty from marginalized groups,” including women and minorities, and are poor indicators of teaching quality.
Therefore, while SPOT data may be useful in (a) helping faculty members reflect upon and improve their teaching and (b) giving students an opportunity to voice opinions about their class experiences, SPOT data should not be used by colleges or departments in consequential decisions, such as annual review, tenure and promotion, or merit pay.
Note: For alternative methods of Teaching Evaluation, reference the “On the Evaluation of Teaching” – Faculty Senate Report (2011) and the “Best Practices on the faculty senate website.
 Texas Christian University Strategic Plan. (2019). https://inclusion.tcu.edu/about/strategic-plan/
 Statement on Student Evaluations of Teaching. (Sep 2019). American Sociological Association.
 Mitchell, Kristina M.W., Martin, Jonathan. (July 2018). Gender Bias in Student Evaluations. Political Science & Politics. 51(3), 648-652.
 Supiano, Becky. (Sep 9, 2019). Sociologists Caution Colleges Not to Over-Rely on Student Evaluations of Teaching. Chronicle of Higher Education.
Basow, S. A., & Silberg, N. T. (1987). Student evaluations of college professors: Are female and male professors rated differently? Journal of Educational Psychology, 79(3), 308-314.
Falkoff, Michelle. (April 25, 2018). Why We Must Stop Relying on Student Ratings of Teaching. Chronicle of Higher Education.
Flaherty, Colleen, Teaching Eval Shake-up (May 22, 2018). InsideHigherEd.
Merritt, Deborah Jones. (January 2007). Bias, the Brain, and Student Evaluations of Teaching. Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 87.
Reid, Landon D., 2010. The Role of Perceived Race and Gender in the Evaluation of College Teaching on RateMyProfessors.com. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. 3(3), 137-152.
A Resolution on Pass / No Credit Policy
Faculty Senate Student Relations Committee
The TCU Faculty Senate, in its role as the representative body of the TCU faculty, joins with the TCU Student Government Association (SGA) in increasing and reaffirming our commitment to student learning and success by amending the current Pass / No Credit option to allow students an opportunity to forfeit their Pass/No Credit to receive the actual letter grade earned.
Pass – No Credit Grading Option (revised 04-2018)
Undergraduate students may elect a Pass/No-Credit (P/NC) grading option. They may do so by indicating their choice online using the Manage Classes then the Edit option in my.tcu.edu no later than the date listed in the academic calendar for electing the P/NC grading option. These P/NC courses are not counted in computing the student’s GPA. A “P” course, however, will carry credit hours and be used toward a student’s total hours required for graduation. A “P” indicates achievement equivalent to a “C-” or better. Achievement equivalent to a “D+” or below results in the grade of “NC.” Students earn no credit hours in courses in which the grade of “NC” is received.
Students may take up to two courses (eight hours maximum) on a P/NC basis. No course applied to the student’s major, minor or associated requirements may be taken on the P/NC basis. Students in the M.J. Neeley School of Business may not take any course in the lower-division business sequence or in the upper-division business core on the P/NC basis. Students in the College of Education may not take any education course required for teacher certification or in the student’s teaching content area on the P/NC basis. Courses offered only with the P/NC grade will not be counted toward this limit on the number of P/NC hours. The P/NC option is not allowed in any English as a foreign language courses offered by the English Language Center.
At the conclusion of the course, a student who elected the Pass/No Credit grading option before the deadline may forfeit the Pass/No Credit designation in order to claim the letter grade earned in the course. They may do so by indicating their choice online using the Manage Classes then the Edit option in my.tcu.edu by the end of the business day (5pm) two days from the day the grade is posted to the registrar.
If the student claims the letter grade for a Pass/No Credit course, that course still counts toward the two course (eight hours maximum) limit.