Month: January 2014

NVC Faculty Senate Sends Letter to THECB

Chancellor Bruce Leslie is in hot water again. This time over changes in the core curriculum.

At issue is a proposed change in the core curriculum for the Alamo Colleges which seeks to include an EDUC 1300 course in place of an additional Humanities requirement.

On January 29, the Northwest Vista College Faculty Senate sent a letter to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board informing the Board that “the faculty and administration at each of the five colleges were effectively left out of the process of creating the proposed changes.”

A signature page attached to the letter shows the signature of outgoing NVC President Jackie Claunch.

This story is developing…

Social Media Policy Watch

KU governance leaders call for suspension of social media policy

By Ben Unglesbee
Posted Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Lawrence Journal Leader

Governance bodies at state universities have begun calling for the Kansas Board of Regents to suspend a social media policy it approved last month.

Today the University Senate executive committee at Kansas University endorsed a resolution stating its opposition to the policy and urged the regents to suspend it while under review by a newly created work group.

The resolution will go before the full University Senate at its first meeting on Feb. 6.

The language was crafted by the Council of Faculty Senate Presidents, which includes representatives from all regents universities, who asked the regents to suspend the policy earlier in the month. Christopher Steadham, president of the KU Faculty Senate, said the council’s goal with this resolution was to show broad consensus among the governance bodies of Kansas universities.

So far it has been passed by the Pittsburg State University faculty senate, the Wichita State University faculty senate and the KU Medical Center senates representing nursing and medical faculty, Steadham said. Although it is not in the regents system, the Johnson County Community College faculty senate also endorsed the resolution.

At today’s meeting the executive committee also had a chance to meet with members of the work group created by the regents to review the controversial policy and recommend revisions.

Chuck Epp, co-chair of the work group and a KU professor in the School of Public Affairs, fielded a slew of questions from the committee, including questions about how much power the work group has over the ultimate policy.

“It’s my understanding (the regents) will revise the policy as they see fit in light of our recommendations,” Epp said. “We have no final authority over the policy whatsoever.”

Epp said the group planned on releasing its recommendations to the public for comment before submitting them formally to the regents.

As currently written the social media policy allows university heads to suspend and fire employees for social media posts that conflict with the best interest of the university or its ability to perform services.

The regents passed the policy unanimously in December. In response to widespread criticism that it was too broad and could restrain free speech, the regents announced they would review the policy and established a work group of university personnel to make recommendations by April.

The regents work group met for the first time on Jan. 24. Its members decided at that meeting to start from scratch and craft their own policy.

The regents passed the policy after KU journalism professor David Guth’s anti-NRA tweet sparked a national uproar as well as calls from some state lawmakers for Guth to be fired.

UT Brownsville Prof reinstated

Staff Attorney Russell Ramirez represented Marvin Lovett. Lovett is the only person reinstated with rank, tenure, and back pay as of this date.

Educator Who Fought Layoff Back on Campus

By Melissa Montoya The Brownsville Herald

One of the professors who filed a grievance with the University of Texas at Brownsville after being laid off during the school’s reduction in force will return to the classroom when the semester begins on Monday.

Marvin Lovett, a marketing professor at the university, said he is looking forward to teaching once again after being away from the classroom during the fall.

“It was a very uncomfortable time,” Lovett said.

Lovett and three other faculty members were represented by the Texas Faculty Association, which filed grievances with the university as well as filing complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Lovett and the three professors were given notifications in 2012 that their positions would be terminated in May 2013. University officials say Lovett and more than 80 professors were let go to cut costs because of the separation with Texas Southmost College.

Lovett said he could not provide any details regarding the settlement with the university, but he said he was being granted his tenure and full rank.

Now that Lovett will return, he said, he feels “great.”

“I’m really looking forward to the new UT-RGV,” he added.

Letty Fernandez, spokeswoman for UTB, said the university does not comment on personnel issues.

Lovett thanked Tom Coyle, who was previously the chair of the program, for supporting him during the committee process that had voted to let Lovett go.

Although Lovett is looking forward to returning to the university, he said he does so with some trepidation because the members of the committee that had originally let him go are faculty members in his department.

Lovett will teach three classes this semester, he said.

Mary Aldridge Dean, executive director of the TFA, said the other three professors represented by the association have not been granted their full rank or tenure, but it’s possible they may still be working at the school as adjunct professors.

“With in the next week or two, legal is going to decide how they approach their situation,” Aldridge Dean said.