The original "SFA Survival Guide: A Colleague's Guide to Success" was written in 2000 for faculty by faculty. In part, it was a result of our university's 1995-2000 participation in the ACE / Kellogg project to investigate institutional transformation in higher education. It was closely modeled after a similar guide produced at Knox College, one of the other institutions also involved in the ACE / Kellogg project.
Some of the authors had worked at SFA for several decades, some of us had been here for fewer than 10 years, and some fell in between. We remained here because we found this to be a good place to work and live, and we knew that things we had learned during our time here had made life easier for us later. This guide represented our efforts to share with our colleagues our "insider’s perspective" - facts, ideas, and information gathered from colleagues across campus - that might make your transition to this campus and community more successful.
In 2006, the Teaching Excellence Center (TEC) was asked to rework the Faculty Handbook, which had not been updated in many years, and to combine it with the SFA Survival Guide. This process began with the TEC directors and associates revising each section of the guide so that the related information from the handbook was inserted. Following that, members of the campus community were given the opportunity to share their input. The project was completed in 2007.
More specifically, this guide will:
give new faculty some pointers to help you get oriented (and stay sane) as a faculty member at SFA;
list some practical ideas to improve teaching and handle other faculty duties;
share some fundamental, must-know items about responsibilities, money, and faculty benefits; and, finally,
share some information about our community and things to do in this part of Deep East Texas.
Please keep in mind that the following "advice" in no way replaces the university’s policies and procedures that can be found at http://www.sfasu.edu/policies/. The policies and procedures mentioned within this guide are subject to change by appropriate action of the faculty and/or administration of the University. Such changes become effective on the very date the said policies and procedures are approved by the Board of Regents. Therefore, this guide and handbook do not constitute a contract and the guidance offered shall not be binding on the University.
We plan to update this guide regularly because we recognize that as our university adapts to new societal pressures, new technology, and other general changes, we too must change. So, if you have any advice on items that should be updated or added, please contact one of your colleagues serving on the Faculty Senate and share your ideas. The Faculty Government and Involvement Committee of the Faculty Senate will update the Survival Guide and Faculty Handbook annually in accordance with the Faculty Senate's mission of promoting the general welfare of the faculty and opening avenues of communication between the faculty and the rest of the University community.
|First Edition (2000):||Combined Edition (2007):|
|Jim Magruger (now happily retired)||Carolyn Able|
|Treba Marsh||Kwame Badu-Antwi-Boasiako|
|Violet Rogers||Marsha Bayless|
|Lauren Scharff||Priscilla Coulter|
|Bob Szafran||Rachel Galan|
|Craig Varnell||Kevin Langford|
|Edited by: Pat Spence and Lauren Scharff||Norm Markworth|
|Illustrated by: Peter Andrew||Melane McCuller|
|2001-2005 Edition updates by Lauren Scharff, with help from several individuals from the library and OIT.||John Moore|
|Edited by: Lauren Scharff|
Revisions: (Faculty Senate, Faculty Government and Involvement Committee) May, 2008: Clint Richardson, Tomy Matthys, Al Gruele
A Brief History of SFA
Stephen F. Austin State University opened for classes in September of 1923 as a teachers college, with an enrollment of 270. Enrollment steadily increased and then hovered around 2,000 for several decades. Starting in the 1960s, enrollment boomed and reached 11,000 by the mid 1970s. Since the mid 1980s, enrollment has been approximately 12,000, with some minor ups and downs in the past few years. It was in 1969 that SFA officially became a "university." For an excellent brief history of SFA, please read the piece by Jere Jackson in the SFA 101 Handbook. Also, there is a wonderful piece on SFA Folklore by Francis Edward Abernethy, also in the SFA 101 Handbook. (Contact the SFA 101 office if you would like a copy of the handbook.) Finally, the East Texas Research Center, which houses the University's archives, can be an incredible source of information about the university.
Currently, there are six colleges within the university - Business, Education, Fine Arts, Forestry and Agriculture, Liberal and Applied Arts, and Sciences and Mathematics. Although the major focus is undergraduate teaching, we also have 60 master's degrees and two doctoral programs. Despite the typically heavy teaching load, we have many faculty who are active and recognized in their research fields or for other creative endeavors.
SFA Governance Structure
Stephen F. Austin’s governance structure is different from that of most other public universities in the state. We are one of only four institutions in the state with its own Board of Regents, and we have a president appointed by the Board. That position was filled by Dr. Baker Pattillo in July, 2006. In the spring of 2003 the Board of Regents replaced the VPAA position with two new positions: Provost & VPAA and Associate Provost & VPAA. The current Interim Provost is Dr. Ric Berry, and the current Interim Assistant Provost is Dr. Mary Nelle Brunson. The other "independent" universities are Texas Southern University, Texas Women's University, and Midwestern State University. All other public universities in Texas belong to one of six systems: the University of Texas System (flagship institution UT-Austin), the Texas A&M University System (flagship institution Texas A&M in College Station), the Texas State University System, the Texas Tech University System, the University of North Texas System, or the University of Houston System.
Each of the following administrative groups / offices has more detailed information on their web sites. A set of organizational structure charts for each major division of the university can also be accessed online.
Board of Regents: Ultimate authority over Stephen F. Austin State University rests with the people of Texas who are represented by the Legislature and Governor of Texas. The legislature and governor have vested legal control of SFA in a nine-member Board of Regents which is the final authority in all University affairs except for certain matters, specified by law, for which the Board of Regents must accept supervision by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Each regent serves a six-year term, with three new appointments made biennially. Upon recommendation by the President of the University, the Board elects all members of the administration, faculty, and other professional staff of the University. The General Counsel and Internal Auditor are directly accountable to the Board of Regents.
President: The chief administrative officer of the University is the President, who is responsible to the Board of Regents. Under his/her leadership, administrative affairs are conducted in keeping with policy established or approved by the Board of Regents. Under the leadership of the President, the University is divided into four divisions: Academic Affairs, Business Affairs, University Advancement, and University Affairs. Each division is headed by a vice president who is responsible to the President for the operation of his/her division. The Directors of Institutional Research, Public Information, and the Alumni Association are also directly accountable to the President.
Provost / Vice President for Academic Affairs and Associate Provost: The Provost / Vice President for Academic Affairs is the chief officer, under the President, responsible for guidance and supervision of the academic affairs of the University. The Associate Provost, the Deans of the six Colleges, the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, the Director of the Library, the Admissions Director, the Registrar, and the Director for Instructional Technology are directly accountable to the Provost.
Associate Vice President for Alumni Affairs: The Vice President for Alumni Affairs is responsible for overseeing Alumni events and the Alumni Association.
Vice President for Finance and Administration: The Vice President for Finance and Administration is the chief officer, under the President, responsible for guidance and supervision of the fiscal affairs of the University. The Controller, the Director of Financial Services, the Director of Purchasing and Inventory, the Director of Information Technology Services, the Director of the Physical Plant, the Safety Office and Architects and Contractors are directly accountable to the Vice President for Finance and Administration.
Vice President for University Affairs: The Vice President for University Affairs is the chief officer, under the President, responsible for the guidance and supervision of student co-curricular activity programs and other services. Directly responsible to him/her are the Dean of Student Development; the Directors of Auxiliary Services, Disability Services, Counseling and Career Services, Health Clinic, Housing, Intercollegiate Athletics, Intramural Athletics, Student Activities, and Student Publications; the Coordinator of the Multicultural Center; and the Chief of the University Police Department.
Vice President for Development: The Vice President for University Advancement is responsible for articulating the current condition of the University and its needs and desires to private individuals, corporations, and foundations, and is responsible for the coordination of the University's private fund raising activities. He/she is also responsible for providing information to members of the legislative and executive branches of state government.
Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research: The Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research is responsible for overseeing the graduate programs and the membership of the graduate faculty across the university. The University Research Council and the Graduate Council advise the Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research.
Deans of Colleges: The Deans of the Colleges are responsible to the Provost for the academic operation of the departments under their supervision. The Dean of the College is advised on academic policy by Departmental/Divisional Chair/Directors and by the College Advisory Council. The Council is composed of elected or appointed faculty members. The Dean may appoint members to the Advisory Council, but the majority of the Council must be elected by the faculty of the college. Colleges are organized as follows:
College of Business - Departments of Accounting, Computer Science, Economics and Finance, General Business, and Management/Marketing/International Business.
College of Education - Departments of Agriculture, Elementary Education, Human Sciences, Human Services, Kinesiology and Health Science, and Secondary Education and Educational Leadership.
College of Fine Arts - Schools of Art, Music, and Theatre.
College of Forestry and Agriculture - Departments of Agriculture and Forestry, and Division of Environmental Science
College of Liberal and Applied Arts - Departments of Communication, Criminal Justice, English and Philosophy, History, Military Science, Modern Languages, Political Science and Geography and Public Administration, Psychology, and Sociology, the School of Social Work, the Continuing Education Division and extension programs.
College of Sciences and Mathematics - Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics and Astronomy; and the Division of Nursing.
Director of the Steen Library: The Director of the Library is responsible for the administration of Steen Library and the Academic Assistance and Resource Center (AARC). He/she functions as the chief librarian and is accountable to the Provost.
Academic Affairs Council: The Academic Affairs Council is chaired by the Provost and is composed of (1) the Associate Provost, the deans of the six Colleges, the Associate Vice President for Graduate Programs and Research, the Director of the Library, and the Director of Instructional Technology, the Admissions Director, and the Registar all as regular members; and (2) the Chairs of the Faculty Senate and the Chairs Forum, and the President of the Student Government Association, all as ex officio members. The Council's function is to advise the Provost and the President on any matters of policy or procedure affecting the academic programs of the University.