Zeigler answers questions about advising, retirement
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 20:10
This college is moving toward faculty advising, President Robert Zeigler said in response to English Professor Dawn Elmore-McCrary’s question on how advising will be handled in the spring semester.
Dr. Robert Vela, vice president of student success and interim vice president of academic affairs, said he wants to keep advising simple to minimize confusion.
He said first-time-in-college students will continue to look for major, then once a decision has been made, that student will then see the chair of the department of their major.
The chair will assign an adviser to that student, Vela said.
“The chair will have the ultimate decision on where the advisees go,” Vela said.
He said they will finalize training steps to get it started in spring.
Vela said advising is something the college needs to ease into, rather than students rush to department advisors.
Julie Cooper, public information officer, asked questions submitted anonymously.
One question asked for more information on salary increases.
Staff and administration received a 2 percent raise, while faculty salaries were based on a range system for 2012-13.
The Ranger reported that faculty increases ranged from 1.65 to 14.55 percent.
Chancellor Bruce Leslie received a 7 percent increase.
Zeigler said faculty salaries were looked at for two years for research to align them with peer colleges in the state.
He said raises varied with each faculty member.
He said it also depended on summer pay, which used to be if a faculty member taught the whole summer, they would get an extra three-month salary in addition to nine-month contract.
The summer salary was reduced, and the money that was saved from the summer was put in faculty’s nine-month schedule. Summer pay for full-time faculty will be the adjunct rate plus 30 percent.
Another question also asked why there is a difference between staff and faculty pay increases.
Zeigler said the faculty salary schedule had not been overhauled in year, and there was no intent to disgruntle any one.
“Everybody is important,” Zeigler said. “Wherever you are, whatever you do, how you do it, how well you do it affects students. It just does.”
Fine arts Chair Jeff Hunt wanted to know Zeigler’s opinion about The Ranger.
Hunt said The Ranger has had an “erosion in ethics” over the past few years.
He said there was an incident with a student who had an “episode” in McAllister Fine Arts Center and faculty and students were trying to make a barricade to keep the student’s privacy.
Hunt also recalled how The Ranger caught a “nice” photo of paramedics trying to resuscitate speech Professor John Skinner after a heart attack in April.
He said The Ranger has a police scanner in the newsroom and immediately shows up whenever EMS is called.
Zeigler said he supports The Ranger because it has been a part of the college since the beginning of the college.
“I’m supportive of the newspaper, and I will continue to be as long as I’m here,” Zeigler said “We need forums for expression, and we need to value and support free speech.”
Zeigler said he encourages those who have a problem to talk to him or media communications Chair Marianne Odom.
Justin Wideman, Student Government Associationsecretary, asked what the accountability is for The Ranger.
He said there were two mistakes in the issue and there is at least one mistake in every publication.
Zeigler said reporters are accountable to faculty because students are writing for their coursework.
“It is a student newspaper and students make mistakes,” Zeigler said. “I would challenge any student to be willing to submit their test or their papers that they turn in to the whole college communities to read and critique, because, in fact, that’s what The Ranger reporters are doing.”
He said significant mistakes need to be brought to the attention of The Ranger, which runs corrections.
Hunt also asked about the new rule change in the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, which states adjunct faculty teaching 7.5 or more semester hours will be required to contribute 6.4 percent of compensation to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
The college will also have to contribute 6.4 percent.
Hunt wanted to know how chairs can go forward with scheduling the spring semester.
He said there is a shortage of adjuncts available to teach during the day, so he also wanted to know if the college is willing to pay to keep adjuncts teaching 7.5 hours.
Zeigler said there are three options: Teach within 7.4 hours and hire more adjuncts, let adjuncts teach more than 7.4 hours with justification or cut classes.
He said there needs to be justification to show efforts for hiring adjuncts and more information will be made available to faculty as it becomes available.
He clarified that the rule change does not apply to retired employees.
Another anonymous question asked when the public/private partnership between this college and the Tobin Hill Neighborhood association will be complete.
Zeigler said the Tobin Hill Lofts, housing for students, faculty and staff, will be ready for occupancy before the fall 2013 semester.
The apartments contain 550 beds for students and about 200 beds for employees.
Housing for employees will be available around December 2013.
Zeigler said the apartments will be reserved for students enrolled in surrounding colleges and universities as well.