Three Key Takeaways from the February Faculty Senate Meeting | Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Texas A&M University-San Antonio Faculty Senate address academic development and faculty representation on February 4.

Here are three notable topics that were discussed:

  • Ongoing plans for the academic health facility

University President Cynthia Teniente-Matson said plans to build an academic health facility on the South Side are expected to be completed this spring.

As previously statedthe University Health System is set to acquire 68 acres “at the intersection of South Zarzamora Street and Jaguar Parkway”, near the west exit of the university.

Matson said this collaborative project between Texas A&M-San Antonio, Texas A&M Health Science Center, and University Health will start a conversation about a potential long-term partnership and “what does A&M-San Antonio’s health research agenda look like?” “.

  • Textbooks from the university bookstore could soon be cheaper

Ursula Vaughan, an e-book program specialist at the College of Business, conducted a survey last semester that found that most students buy their course materials from sources outside of the college bookstore.

Vaughan attributes this to the university bookstore which does not always offer the cheapest manuals.

“It’s not to [the bookstore] to contact publishers and find the best price,” Vaughan said.

Vaughan said it was possible to save students money and that he planned to directly help professors create an ISBN database and work directly with textbook publishers to provide students with the best offer on textbooks.

It is not yet known when students will potentially see prices drop.

  • The role of the AAUP in relation to the Faculty Senate

Nearly half of the meeting time was spent discussing the role of the A&M-San Antonio Chapter of the American Association of University Teachers (AAUP).

The AAUP is described as a “non-profit association of faculty members and other academic professionals.”

Dr. Megan Wise de Valdez, associate professor of biology, expressed frustration on behalf of several non-AAUP faculty members who felt the chapter was misrepresenting the majority of faculty members in the chapter’s recent comments to media.

The university’s AAUP chapter, made up of about 30 members, recently spoke openly on social media and made several comments to the media, including the Mesquite.

Many of these comments were critical of the university’s actions, such as reopening amid spike in COVID-19 cases and putting the health of faculty members at risk.

Scott Gage, associate professor of English and director of the AAUP chapter of A&M-San Antonio, argued that many AAUP members feel their voice is not heard and have no “advocacy”. adequate”, even within the Senate of the Faculty.

Gage also said he never claimed to represent faculty, he previously agreed to comment to the media after “contacting (the) university and not being able to get a comment”.

President Matson responded to this with a written comment stating that “the university responds to all media and FOIA inquiries…to suggest otherwise is an inaccuracy.”

In particular, the Mesquite reported several instances of university officials refusing or redirecting requests for comment to the Office of Marketing and Communications.

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