UTMB Faculty Senate

January 11, 2010

4:30 – 6:00 pm



Present:  Drs. Wisnewski, Chair, V. Brooke, J. Broussard, C. Cooper, Y. Davila, S. Gerik, S. Higgs, C. Jansen, M. Kanuth, J. LeDuc, L. Massey, N. Mendias, D. Munsell, M. O’Keefe, S. Petronella, D. Powell, K. Sandor, P. Singh, E. Smith, D. Solanki, H. Spratt, A. Torres, C. Utsey, S. Watowich, P. Watson and C. Wigg


Absent:  Drs. I. Boldogh, E. Hannigan and S. Jain

Special Guests:  Mr. William New and Ms. Laurie Sower


I.      The meeting was called to order at 4:30 pm by Charlotte Wisnewski, Faculty Senate Chair.


II.    Approval of Minutes of December 14, 2009.  Minutes of December 14, 2009 were accepted as written and voted on by email sent January 05, 2010.


III.  Dean’s Report

Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences – Dr. Cary Cooper (report provided by Dr. Cooper).

·      GSBS Presidential Scholars Program. We are pleased to announce a new GSBS recruitment program. With the support of the Provost, GSBS is initiating the Presidential Scholars Program, aimed at recruiting truly excellent, training grant-eligible, students to the GSBS. Presidential Scholars will be selected by a special committee and awarded to outstanding applicants based on GRE scores, academic performance and significant research experience.  Scholarship award will be offered to 8 graduate students who are either US citizens or permanent residents.  The award is a $5000 increase in stipend per year (total stipend will be $30,000 for Presidential Scholars beginning in the fall 2010) for 5 years and a onetime $3000 relocation award.  If you know of an excellent prospect who fits this profile, please contact a member of the Presidential Scholar Selection Committee [Scott Weaver, Kenneth Ottenbacher, Vincent Hilser, Norbert Herzog, Lisa Elferink, and Volker Neugebauer] with the information.

·      The GSBS Newsletter is now available on the UTMB GSBS website at:  http://www.gsbs.utmb.edu/alumni/newsletters/GSBSWinter09.pdf.  The Development office is currently working on a semi-annual alumni newsletter for all schools.

·      Homecoming 2010 will be held from March 4-6, 2010 and held at the San Luis Conference Center, except the Inaugural Dean’s Lecture, by Dr. Frederick Murphy will take place in Levin Hall South, 4:00-5:15 pm on March 5th, followed by the GSBS Dean’s Reception in Levin Hall 4.429.  Homecoming information: www.utmb.edu/homecoming.

·      The Postdoctoral training initiatives are going well with Certificates for coursework.  HR is working on finalizing the pay scales for postdoctoral fellows (based on NIH guidelines).

·      Homecoming is March 5th with an inaugural dean’s lecture and reception with Dr. Barbara Sasser, UTMB GSBS 1983 alumna and President of the GSBS alumni association.


Dean, School of Health Professions – Dr. Elizabeth Dr. Protas (report provided by Dr. Protas).


·      We are considering adding a Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics program in the school.  Dr. Jeff Baker has accepted an appointment in the Dean’s Office as Coordinator of Academic Programs and Student Advocacy to begin developing proposals for a Nutrition and a M.S. program for faculty preparation among other activities.

·      The APT Committee is proposing changes for promotion of faculty in non-tenure track positions.  This proposal will be considered by the Faculty Assembly in February.

·      We reviewed our admissions processes in order to provide feedback to Enrollment Services.  We receive approximately 1,250 applications each year, with 1,000 submitted in September and October for Physical Assistant Studies and Physical Therapy.  Interviews began for these programs in January and will continue in the spring.  Both programs are considering admitting an additional 10 students each for next year in order to increase enrollment and due to the large applicant pool for these programs. 


People: We welcome Mark Hackfeld, Software Systems Specialist II, CLS, Jennifer Hyde, Clinical Res Coordinator (B Doucet), OT, Christopher Danesi, Sr. Clinical Research Coordinator (D P Jones), PT, Ronald Medley, Research Associate II (G Whitlock), CLS, Amol Karmarkar, Post Doc, Dillon Walker, Post Doc

Education:  The proposal for a distance education program for a MPT to DPT transition will be considered at this month’s meeting of the THECB.  Dr. Utsey, Chair of Physical Therapy, will attend the meeting to answer any questions.

Community:  Dr. Harry and Joanne Davis have established a fund for the Davis Professorship in the SHP.  The Professorship will be awarded to a faculty member in the school for a maximum of a 3 year period.


Dean, School of Nursing and Vice President for Education - Dr. Pamela Watson (report provided by Dr. Watson).




·      NCLEX Pass Rate: The School of Nursing was informed by the Texas Board of Nursing that students had a preliminary pass rate of 94% on the 2009 NCLEX-RN® Examination. The period is from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009.  Programs with above 90% pass rate receive commendations.  The rate achieved by SON is higher than the national average.  This is a considerable accomplishment that the school can be quite proud of, particularly in light of all the difficulties endured by the school in association with Hurricane Ike. 

·      New Students: The School of Nursing held Orientation for new students January 5th and 6th in Levin Hall.  A total of 193 new students were admitted.  The program breakdown is: 69 – Bacc2 students; 77 – BSN students; and 25 – MSN students.  Students were given information from the Dean, SON faculty and various entities on campus such as Institutional Compliance, Campus Security, synergy, and IS. The entire group exhibited great enthusiasm and positive energy.

·      The President’s visit to the Dean’s Faculty Exchange meeting:  On January 25th in Levin Hall south auditorium at 10:30, the President will address the faculty.  He recently met with the Dean’s Council and hopes to visit with us on a quarterly basis.  This is part of engaging all UTMB employees as the University moves forward.




·      The new SIS System: University Student Services is at the end of the Fit-Gap process and is now fully underway with the implementation of the admissions process. The Enrollment and Financial aid processes will be addressed next.  Dr. Loffredo reports that they are on target for the calendar and budget at this time.


·      Tuition and Fees: The Tuition and Fees proposal has been presented to all schools and to the Tuition and Fee committee.  University Student Services is making the final adjustments to the presentation.  Each school will be increasing both tuition and fees (amounts vary by school).  There will also be increases in academic resources to support the library and the distance education fee to meet the growing demand for online learning.  There will be no increase in student service fees at this time.  And University Student Services will be requesting permission to charge an “Enrollment Deposit” for all students who accept our offer to join UTMB.  The proposed amount is $200 (same as UT Austin).


·      synergy will host Interprofessional Education Day on Wednesday March 24, 2010. The day is full of opportunities for all students to become engaged in the activities for the day.


The tentative schedule is as followed:

11:00 AM   Welcome / Introductions/ Comments                   (Levin Hall Dining Room) 

             11:30 AM   Lunch & Poster Session                                       (Levin Hall Dining Room)

  1:00 PM    Speaker’s Main Session - Presentation and Q&A              (Levin Hall Main) 

             Presentations by Dr. Stanley Lemon & Dr. James Leduc

3:00 pm     Student Team Building                                         (Levin Hall Dining Room)


·      On Tuesday February 16, 2010, there will be an end of life simulation activity in the Children’s Hospital Auditorium, Room 2.312 from 3:00-5:00pm.


·      Patient Safety Initiative:  synergy is currently in the planning stages to develop and bring forth a significant contribution in the area of patient safety.  synergy will participate in upcoming campus meetings and discussions on bringing forward the new initiative for the UTMB student body. 


·      Student Grants:  The call for applications for the 2009-2010 academic year will be available in March 2010. The selection process has been organized and approved.


·      The Current Designated synergy endorsed activities are:  The Family Home Visit Program, The Spirituality and Clinical Care Module, Global Health Interprofessional Core Course, Court Visitor Program.


·       Enrollment: Stability with slight growth.

·       Fall 2009 enrollment is up 4% (3.93%) when compared to fall 2008.

·       This reverses the slight decline seen between Fall of 2007 and Fall 2008.










































·       Degrees Granted: Stability with growth

·     Degrees awarded in 2009 were 737, a 2.2% increase over 2008. 

·     However, this is a 19.6% increase over 2007. 

·     This increase is primarily attributable to increase in degrees awarded at the schools of Health Professions and Nursing. 










































·       Assessment and Program Improvement:  Each degree granting program now has an assessment plan on file and is collecting data.  The challenge this year is to demonstrate use of results of assessment for program improvement.  The Office of Institutional Effectiveness is scheduling meetings with program leadership to review existing plans, make any needed changes and document use of results of assessment for program improvement.


IV.   Reports by Officers/Chairs:

Dr. Wisnewski stated that there was no business since the December Faculty Senate meeting.  The Executive Board will be meeting on February 4th and the UT Sys Faculty meeting will be in Austin on January 28-29.  Dr. Wisnewski stated that she, Dr. Utsey and Dr. Watson will be meeting on January 20th with Dr. Callender.

Dr. Utsey stated the Tracking form will be discussed at the upcoming Executive Board meeting.

Dr. Sandor reported for the Faculty Quality Committee:  They are working on the Post Tenure Review for all schools. 

Dr. Wigg stated for the Governance Committee: No report.

Dr. Jansen reported for the Academic and Administrative Affairs Committee:  They are working on the grading policy and the committee was going to meet immediately following the Senate meeting today; also to be on the agenda is Faculty Development for Junior Faculty.

Dr. Munsell reported for the IHOP Committee: They need to send out any IHOP policies affecting faculty and how to get their feedback since this is required from Regent Rules.  Dr. Wisnewski stated that Mary Schlobohm can send the emails to the faculty asking for their feedback. Dr. Lieberman also offered to expedite messages to the School of Medicine Faculty.


Guest Speaker, Mr. William New, Associate Dean for Research
In follow-up to an earlier meeting, the Academic and Administrative Affairs Committee sent Mr. William New questions concerning research cores.  He said that research core facilities are vital to an academic health center and UTMB leadership understands this.

·      What is the mission of university cores?  Cores provide specialized equipment and trained personnel to run tests, process samples, etc., for many investigators.  They are important to UTMB because they provide a PI with capabilities that he or she alone would not be able to obtain.  These are important to Schools, Departments and Centers to help recruit new faculty and retain current UTMB researchers. 

·      What is UTMB’s vision for these facilities?  UTMB’s goal is to provide research core capacity with state of the art equipment at affordable prices.  Dr. Collins has highlighted technology in his recent statement about the five themes he wants to drive the NIH; specifically high-through-put screening technology.  This is an important acknowledgment that sophisticated equipment resources empower the best science. 

The challenges for academic centers is keeping up with the most current equipment and maintaining the equipment.  The technology rapidly develops, so universities have not depreciated equipment before new equipment is needed.  Often a core’s operational expense must cover depreciation costs for equipment that is obsolete and not used.   Maintenance agreements can be as much as 15-20% of the purchase price of the equipment.  Another expense is the high cost of training core staff which often involves travel costs and high tuition.  In short, the challenge for academic centers is that cores are expensive and the ability of the researchers to pay the full cost of the services is often compromised. 

·      How accessible are these facilities? Accessibility is usually dependent on the PIs ability to pay for the services.  It helps to understand the funding challenges for cores. 

o   Almost all UTMB research cores are organized and managed in a Department, Center, or Institute, so accessibility varies by core.  Each core is funded differently; some have furnished cores with equipment grants, others through NIH PPG/Center grants, etc.  Centers, Institutes, Department and/or the Provost have provided both start-up costs and operational subsidies for virtually every core at UTMB. 

o   Accessibility varies by the individual core.  For example everyone can access ARC.  Others (“local cores”; not university-wide cores) are only accessible to faculty members as part of a particular program or department (e.g. Program Project grants, Specialized Programs of Research Excellence “SPORES”, etc.)

o   In general, however, university cores are available to all PIs who can afford the services on a first-come, first-served basis.

o   While cores are willing to train researchers in the use of the equipment, most cores do not ‘rent access’ to the equipment; rather they only allow their highly trained staff to use the equipment.  This happens because equipment that is accessed is more likely to break or wear out earlier than when it’s located in a restricted environment.  The equipment is very expensive and core directors protect it.

·      Can cores offer training to graduate and post doc trainees?  Most cores are willing to do this.  The trainee’s mentor may need to pay for the associated expenses to the core. 

·      Does UTMB plan to strengthen the cores?  The Provost recently created a University Core Development Committee “UCDC” to advise him about the development of cores.  Additionally, we have hired a Director of Research Laboratory Operation Support, Dr. Laurie Sower in the Provost’s office to support resolution of cross-departmental problems and challenges and to focus on improving the wet lab environment for investigators.  Dr. Sower is actively supporting the UCDC.  You will be hearing more about planned activities related to core development sponsored by the UCDC.


Mr. New distributed the following information to the Senate:  Core Research Facilities - http://www.utmb.edu/core.asp, UTMB Core Labs Search – http://research.utmb.edu/ and on the right hand side is the link to NEW Search the UTMB Core Labs and the USES link - http://research.utmb.edu/USES/USES.asp - which is helpful in identifying collaborators within the UTMB community.   The Senate thanked him for attending.


V.        New Business – Dr. Wisnewski

·  Dr. Torres mentioned the new direction/new initiatives for UTMB (Chronic Disease, Age Debilitating Diseases, Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases). He stated that some faculty were concerned about the research agenda and had sent him some emails with their concerns. Dr. Wisnewski asked for the emails with faculty names deleted and she will share them with Dr. Callender. She also reminded Dr. Torres that Dr. Callender will be present at the February Faculty Senate meeting and Dr. Torres can ask him about the concerns then.


A motion for adjournment was made and approved.  The meeting was adjourned at 5:50 pm.  The Committees then met for their work.