(October 28, 1997)

The Minutes of the General Faculty meeting of October 28, 1997, published below, have been prepared for the immediate use of the members of the General Faculty and are included in its Documents and Minutes.


H. Paul Kelley, Secretary
The General Faculty
December 31, 1997


(October 28, 1997)

The regular meeting of the General Faculty for the academic year 1997-1998 was held on Thursday, October 28, 1997, at 4:00 p.m. in Flawn Academic Center, Room 21. President ad interim Peter T. Flawn presided.


A. Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the General Faculty for 1996-1997 (October 17, 1996) (D&M 22050-22069c). (APPROVED)

The Minutes of the regular meeting of the General Faculty on October 17, 1996, were APPROVED as distributed.

II. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE FACULTY COUNCIL, 1996-1997 (D&M 22124- 22161/D&P 16471-16508).

The Annual Report of the Faculty Council, 1996-1997, was distributed as D&M 22124-22161/ D&P 16471-16508. The report was longer than usual because, before he left office, President Berdahl had acted on many pieces of legislation.








A. Committee to Nominate a Candidate for Secretary of the General Faculty .

On behalf of the nomination committee, Wallace C. Fowler (Aerospace Engineering) nominated Professor John R. Durbin for Secretary of the General Faculty.


A. Election of the Secretary of the General Faculty .

There were no additional nominations, and Prof. John R. Durbin was elected Secretary of the General Faculty by acclamation.

Secretary H. Paul Kelley (Educational Psychology) thanked Prof. Durbin for agreeing to serve once again as Secretary of the General Faculty and said, "I have held this position for a number of years, and it is time for me to step down...; I will continue to serve [as Secretary] through ... December; [Prof. Durbin will begin his term of office January 1, 1998]."

B. Changes in the Rules of the General Faculty and Faculty Council and theStanding Committees of the General Faculty (D&M 22118-22123a). (AMENDMENTS 1-4 AND 6 APPROVED AS AMENDED; AMENDMENT 5

In the following presentation and debate, Secretary Kelley represented the 1996-1997 Rules Com-mittee that had proposed the four sets of amendments to the rules of the General Faculty shown on D&M 22118-22123a. He said that Proposal A (expressed in Amendment 1) was in response to a concern expressed by the UT System Legal Office several years ago when the current rules were adopted. The rules for many years had said that the Faculty Council "shall have the authority to conduct studies and in- vestigations." No change in that rule had been proposed; however, the UT System said that rule should be clarified. Therefore in Amendment 1 the Rules Committee recommended that the word investigations be changed to inquiries. On behalf of the Committee Prof. Kelley moved that Amendment 1 be approved. Without discussion the motion was APPROVED unanimously by a voice vote.

Prof. Kelley that Proposal B (expressed in Amendment 2) involved changes to three of the requirements for students to be eligible to serve as members of the Faculty Council. At present, there are seven student members of the Council - three selected by the Student Government, two selected by the Cabinet of College Councils, and two selected by the Graduate StudentsÍ Assembly. The first change involved the grade point average requirement, which was currently 2.50 (midway between a C and a B) for both undergraduate and graduate students; because that seemed to be a bit low for graduate students, the Rules Committee recommended that for a graduate student to be eligible, the student must have a grade point average of at least 3.25 (slightly above a B).

The second change involved the grade requirement for law students. Some years ago the Law School changed from a numerical grade system to a letter grade system, but the rule that required a numerical grade average of 68 was not changed. The Rules Committee believed that a grade point average of 2.50 on the new letter grade system was approximately equivalent to the old requirement, and so it recommended that the change be made.


  The third changed stemmed from the fact that all of the student members of the Council were selected by the Student Government when the current requirement that no more than two students could be from the same college or school was first approved. With three different student groups now selecting the student members of the Council, the Rules Committee recommended that any one of those groups should not select more than one student from a given school or college.

Prof. Kelley then moved that Amendment 2 be approved.

Chair Gilbert asked why the GPA for law students was being set equivalent to the GPA for undergraduates as opposed to graduate students. Prof. Kelley responded that it was for the same reason that the former requirement for law students was 68 on a 100-point grading system; grades in the Law School have been, historically, lower than grades in the UT Graduate School.

Without further discussion Amendment 2 was APPROVED unanimously by a voice vote.

Prof. Kelley said that Proposal C (expressed in Amendments 3, 4, and 5) involved clarifying some of the rules about membership and voting status in the General Faculty, in schools and colleges, and in departments. With regard to voting on departmental matters, the current rule says that a faculty member must hold an appointment in that department "as detailed in the budget." However, there does not seem to be any clear and unequivocal interpretation of what the phrase "as detailed in the budget" means. Therefore the Rules Committee recommended that the phrase be deleted.

Alba A. Ortiz (Special Education) pointed out that in Amendment 3, the word "he" should be amended to the gender-neutral "he or she," and Prof. Kelley incorporated that amendment in the committeeÍs recommendation.

Amendment 4 was recommended by the Committee because a new title, Chair Emeritus, has come into use. The amendment would award a Chair Emeritus the same rights and privileges awarded other emeritus faculty members.

Amendment 5 concerned another group of faculty members not mentioned in the current rules. A number of years ago an early retirement option was offered to eligible faculty members whereby they could remain on active service half-time while retaining their tenure; some of those faculty members are still active. Amendment 5 would make the same rules apply to the early retirement faculty as apply to retired faculty who are on modified service.

Executive Vice President and Provost ad interim Stephen A. Monti pointed out that under the early retirement option, faculty were required to retire fully at age 70. Subsequent federal legislation, however, prohibited mandatory retirement on the basis of age, so those faculty probably are entitled by law to a half-time tenured position until they choose to retire fully. He did not think that rights and privileges could be taken away from them just because they happen to be half-time tenured faculty now, and he suggested that action be deferred until the legal situation was considered.

Secretary Kelley then WITHDREW Amendment 5 for further study by the Rules Committee and moved that Amendments 3 and 4 be approved. Without further discussion Amendments 3 and 4 were APPROVED unanimously by voice vote.

As amended and then approved by the Council, Amendment 3 was worded as set forth below:


1. A faculty member shall have voting status in a department on departmental matters if:



a. He or she holds a full-time appointment in that department [ as detailed in the budget ] and holds the rank of Professor, Visiting Professor, Associate Professor, VisitingAssociate Professor,Assistant Professor, Instructor or Lecturer.

Prof. Kelley said that Proposal D (expressed in Amendment 6) included three changes to the By- Laws of the Faculty Council in order to remove an ambiguity and to delete language that was no longer needed.

The first change would remove an ambiguity in the rules about determining how many representatives on the Faculty Council each college and school gets to elect. The current rules do not specify whether the number of representatives is to be based on the number of voting faculty, the number of voting plus non-voting faculty, or the total number of faculty in the college or school. (There are faculty with academic titles that current rules classify as neither voting members nor non-voting members.) The Rules Committee recommended that the number of Faculty Council representatives be based on the number of voting members of the General Faculty in that college or school.

The second change would remove a requirement that a college of school must have at least ten full-time-equivalent faculty in order to get a Faculty Council representative. There are no longer any colleges and schools that small, so the requirement is no longer needed.

The third change would remove a redundant word.

Secretary Kelley then moved that Amendment 6 be approved. Without discussion Amendment 6 was APPROVED unanimously by a voice vote.

C. Comments by the President on Recent and Pending Developments Affecting UT Austin .

Before beginning his annual address to the General Faculty, President ad interim Peter T. Flawn said to Secretary Kelley: "I do not suppose it is incumbent upon me on behalf of the General Faculty to thank you for your long and distinguished service as Secretary, so I will thank you on behalf of the President and hope that the faculty will find a way to thank you later."

The text of President Flawn's address, as subsequently distributed to members of the General Faculty and as published on page 4 of the October 30, 1997, issue of On Campus, is set forth below.

Members of the General Faculty,

It is traditional at the fall meeting of the General Faculty for the President to deliver an address on the state of The University.

About six weeks ago, under the date of September 15th, I sent to each of you a letter that provided my perspectives on the state of The University. I concluded that our institution has never been stronger nor have we ever served Texas and the nation better than now.

Today I want to focus on The University as a public institution in a society where powerful forces for change are at work. Our future, in my opinion, will be determined by how well we anticipate and accommodate to the changes that will occur - not may occur but will occur.


Our nation has opened a great public debate on race in a democratic society and The University is at the heart of it. How can it not be when we are charged with developing the human resources of our society. The human resources of our society are diverse and becoming more so. The next time you find yourselves in a big-city airport, take a few moments to watch the flow of the crowd and examine the face of America today. To be elsewhere than at the center of this great debate would make us a marginal player in the world of the next millennium.

If the great issues of our time cannot be debated openly and freely in this university, then where can they be debated?

When you talk to the elected representatives of the people of Texas - the political leadership of the state - you will be surprised and perhaps dismayed to find that issues of great moment within the academy are of marginal interest to them. They are indeed concerned about education but they are focused on the public schools where there are compelling problems of funding and quality of performance. When it comes to higher education the issue that commands their attention is access. When the 76th Legislature convenes in January of 1999, it will be difficult to demonstrate to the members the StateÍs long-term interest in supporting a flagship university a comprehensive graduate research university that competes nationally with other great public institutions - unless we are willing during this interim to take a hard, critical look at everything we are doing. I can assure you that if we resist the change that is upon us, if we look to the past to guide us, this institution will not receive the public support it requires to be a national and global leader.

For the last 18 months a group of our colleagues known affectionately as the MARS Group - because they took a virtual trip to Mars to ponder the core purpose and values of The University - have been working on that which endures in a flux of change.

Some of you are already privy to the results of their work. I believe that the distillation of their discussions is very important to us as a University.

The core purpose of The University is to transform lives for the benefit of society through the core values of

Learning -
A caring community, all of us students, helping one another grow.

Discovery -
Expanding knowledge and human understanding.

Freedom -
To seek the truth and express it.

Leadership -
The will to excel with integrity and the spirit that nothing is impossible.

Individual Opportunity -
Many options, diverse people and ideas, one University.

Responsibility -
To serve as a catalyst for positive change in Texas and beyond.


This elegant and inspiring statement of purpose and values is a foundation that will endure. It will support over the long term what may well be a changing vision and a changing mission as we respond to the world of the next millennium.

But as we look into the next millennium, we must remember that the 76th Legislature is tomorrow - just 14 months away.

I have appointed a Steering Committee under the chairmanship of Dean Larry Speck to develop The UniversityÍs theme for these next two years. We shall examine in detail the many dimensions of this institutionÍs interactions with the state of Texas and its people. Without braggadocio, we will document the contributions The University makes to the economy, the arts, the professions, and to everyday life throughout the state. I am confident we will all be surprised at the extent to which our graduates constitute the human fabric of Texas. In the architecture of TexasÍ cities and towns, in hospitals, in courtrooms, in schools, in libraries, in theaters, in industries, in businesses, in laboratories, in pharmacies, and in the agencies of the state, counties and municipalities that serve our citizens, the products of this University - people and knowledge - are at work. There are other universities in Texas but the quality of our programs stands out. It is The University of Texas at Austin that ranks among the premier public institutions in the United States and we plan to move up in that distinguished company, not down.

To command the public resources necessary to improve the quality of our academic programs, our research enterprise, and our public service, we must demonstrate that the investment the people of Texas have made in this University is providing a handsome return to the state. We must demonstrate that continuing investment, both private and public, in this flagship institution is important to the future of our state and to all of its citizens. We transform lives for the benefit of society and thereby we transform society for the benefit of its people. The precious asset that Texas has in The University has an importance to this state that transcends district politics. Without the people, knowledge and intellectual energy that flow out of The University, Texas would be a lesser place. We must make that case. All of us - faculty, staff, students, ex-students and administration - will have to be involved.

This has been a departure from a traditional state of the university address but I am not going to have this pulpit for very long and I wanted to give you my sense of what we, as part of the remarkable social institution called The University, are facing over these next few years. It is not going to be an easy time for public institutions.

But if you, the General Faculty, will consider thoughtfully and deliberately what is happening in the larger society, make appropriate changes in our educational policies and procedures, and involve yourselves in reaching out to the people who support us, we as The University will remain as a great intellectual center for Texas and the nation.

Thank you.


John C. Gilbert (Chemistry and Biochemistry) asked: "How prevalent is the attitude ... in the legislature that there is not really a justification for flagship institutions in the state of Texas?"

President Flawn replied: "In my opinion, it is very widespread."

Prof. Gilbert then asked: "Given that, is there hope that our efforts in the next fourteen months can turn that around in a significant way?"


  President Flawn said: "We are going to try. But to think that the legislature in its next session is going to restructure higher education in Texas and provide for two or three flagship institutions and fund them differently than they fund other institutions, I do not believe ... that will occur. I think the legislature will continue to give us the basic support that we need, but if we want to maintain ourselves as a flagship over the next decade, we are going to have to rely on our own efforts.

"Now, we have got a big advantage. The characteristics of a flagship institution are distinguished faculty, the very best students, and state-of-the-art facilities. Because of previous efforts, we do pay our faculty more than the other institutions in this state, particularly at the top level we are very competitive; where we are not competitive is for mid-career faculty, and I want to use the Capital Campaign (which I am calling the Flagship Campaign) to try to establish a large number of new endowed professorships - not chair, but professorships - so that we can meet the needs of the mid-career faculty .... In the area of graduate students, I want to use the Capital Campaign to establish a large number of graduate fellowships, so that the stipends can be increased and we will not have the kinds of rejection rates that [Dean] Rankin experienced this fall, which were really frightening. In terms of facilities, we are pretty close to state-of-the-art, but we have to keep moving; we have ... some buildings [planned] that we have got to complete, and that also will be part of the Capital Campaign. There are special programs that distinguish this University - honors programs, Plan II, freshman seminars, [that] you do not find at many other universities around this state; I think in our Capital Campaign we need to establish an endowment so that those programs will continue with some independence.

"And as I have said [to] other audiences, we need to get out more ...; that is the way that you influence members of the legislature.... We need people in every community in this state to be able to say with conviction that we have made a difference, that we have improved their lives. To think that we can move forward as we have in the past because we are a great graduate research institution, I do not think that that is going to produce what we need. People will say, ïWell, who gave you that mission?Í [When we point out that] the constitution of the state of Texas says that we shall be a university of the first class, [people will say,] ïWell, then why donÍt you do a first class job of teaching undergraduate students and forget the rest of it?Í There is a real attitude, to use a kind word, out there in the legislature that questions the mission that we have created for ourselves. There are people who would just as soon see 35 good undergraduate institutions around this state and who probably would not miss the contributions that we make until we have been out of business for four or five years.

"So I think that we are going to have to do this ourselves. I said we have an advantage. We have got $75 million a year coming from the Available Fund that is going to help. We have built some great facilities recently. We are getting the very best students at the undergraduate level.... So in order to maintain what we have, to keep moving, and to put ourselves without question within the top five public institutions in this country, this Capital Campaign is going to have to succeed."

Prof. Martha F. Hilley (Music) asked: "One of the constituencies that you did not mention in your comments, and [that] I wish you would talk about just a bit, is the staff. [Do you think that] the Capitol Campaign ... might help us with our staff situation, which is pretty horrendous?"

President Flawn replied: "Yes, I certainly do. I am well aware of that problem."

Prof. Robert D. Mettlen (Finance) closed the meeting by saying: "You said you would not have the bully pulpit very long. I do not know what prompted you to come back and assume the presidency, but I am, pardon the expression, damn glad that you did. I think it would be appropriate for the faculty to express its gratitude to you, because you put [your] whole body into that hole in the dike, and we needed it. We still need it, and the longer you are around, the happier I will remain."

President Flawn responded: "I appreciate what you said; that is very kind of you. I do not know, as I said, how long I am going to be here, and right now, as I understand it, the search committee is meeting in Dallas ....


  I certainly wish them good luck. I have been hoping that ... I might be relieved as early as January, but ... it might be more likely to be May 31, which is not all that pleasing to me nor to Priscilla; but I signed up, and I will stay and do my best. Thank you."


The meeting was adjourned at 4:45 p.m. The next regular meeting of the General Faculty will be at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 27, 1998, in Flawn Academic Center, Room 21.


H. Paul Kelley, Secretary
The General Faculty

Distributed 14 October 1998 on the UT Austin Faculty Council web site. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.