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DOCUMENTS AND MINUTES OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
DOCUMENTS AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE FACULTY COUNCIL
The Minutes of the Faculty Council meeting of November 16, 1998, published below, are included in its Documents and Proceedings. They are also included in the Documents and Minutes of the General Faculty for the information of the members.
John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty
MINUTES OF THE FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF
NOVEMBER 16, 1998
The first meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 1998-1999 was held in Room 212 of the Main Building on Monday, November 16, 1998, at 2:15 p.m.
Present : Patricia Alvey, Urton L. Anderson, Katherine Arens, Efraim P. Armendariz, Neal E. Armstrong, Victor Arnold, Jay L. Banner, Carolyn P. Boyd, Richard A. Cherwitz, Alan K. Cline, Robert M. Crunden, Ann Cvetkovich, Patrick J. Davis, Robert A. Duke, John R. Durbin, John S. Dzienkowski, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Larry Faulkner, Linda Ferreira-Buckley, Alan W. Friedman, Susan Gamel, Teresa Garcia, James D. Garrison, John C. Gilbert, Denise Gobert, Michael G. Granof, Thomas A. Griffy, Julie Hallmark, E. Glynn Harmon, Roderick P. Hart, James L. Hill, Martha F. Hilley, Annie L. Holand, Sharon H. Justice, Terry D. Kahn, H. Paul Kelley, William J. Koros, J. Parker Lamb, Judith Langlois, Desmond F. Lawler, Steven Leslie, Brian P. Levack, William Livingston, Cynthia Marshall, David A. Nancarrow, Dean P. Neikirk, Kimberly Nixon, Melvin E. L. Oakes, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Thomas G. Palaima, Randall M. Parker, Shelley M. Payne, Theodore Pfeifer, Robert A. Prentice, Wayne Rebhorn, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, Gretchen Ritter, Jaclyn Roberson, Charles A. Roeckle, Hariett D. Romo, Thomas D. Russell, Juan Sanchez, Dolores Sands, M. Michael Sharlot, Lawrence Speck, Michael P. Starbird, Michael C. Tusa, Ellen Wartella, Stacie C. Wright.
Absent : Joel L. Barlow (excused), Joseph Beaman, Harold W. Billings (excused), Roger T. Bonnecaze, William D. Carlson, Richard L. Cleary (excused), Jere Confrey, Edwin Dorn, Catharine H. Echols, G. Charles Franklin, Karl Galinsky (excused), Linda Golden (excused), Stuart L. Goosman (excused), Edmund Gordon, Lawrence Graham, Sue A. Greninger (excused), Thomas Hatfield, Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Kerry A. Kinney, Michael L. Lauderdale, Vincent Mariani, Richard S. Markovits, Robert G. May (excused), Reuben R. McDaniel, Jr., Lisa Moore, Mary Ann Rankin, Johnnie D. Ray, Daron K. Roberts, Victoria Rodriguez, James Sidbury (excused), Ben Streetman, Alexa M. Stuifbergen (excused), Teresa Sullivan, Owen R. Temple (excused), James Vick, Bruce Walker, Barbara White, Karin G. Wilkins (excused).
Voting Members: 51 present 25 absent 76 total Non-Voting Members: 13 present 18 absent 31 total Total Members: 61 present 43 absent 104 total
I. REPORT OF THE SECRETARY (D&P 16946-16950).
Secretary Durbin called special attention to several items in the Secretary's report as distributed. In particular, due to a misunderstanding, a recommendation for a change in the Regents' Rules concerning suspension of a faculty member with pay (D&P 16517-16519) had not been acted on by the President. The misunderstanding was resolved after the meeting, and action is expected soon.
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES.
The minutes of the Faculty Council meeting of September 21, 1998 (D&M 22528-22531/ D&P 16942-16945), were approved by a voice vote.
III. COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT.
A. Comments by the President.
President Faulkner continued to develop themes from his "State of the University Address" and his October 27 remarks to the General Faculty. He gave comparative data on UT Austin and five other state-supported universities regarded by everyone as among the best in the country: UC Berkeley, Illinois, Michigan, UCLA, and Wisconsin. To show that UT Austin is in that class, he looked at doctoral degrees awarded, NRC (National Research Council) quality rankings, total academy members -NAS (National Academy of Sciences), NAE (National Academy of Engineering), IOM (Institute of Medicine), federal R&D expenditures, and arts and humanities awards. To show that, at the same time, we are not as well funded as most of our competition, he looked at faculty salaries and at resources and expenditures per student FTE.
He said that many people outside the University understand athletic competition and academic competition between students, but they also must realize that the University is in a competition for talent and for the resources needed for that talent to develop. The degree of our success in this competition determines what we can do for our students and for Texas. Faulkner ended by looking at our areas of strength, of demonstrable weakness, and of progress but of continuing concern.
The President addressed follow-up questions from Wayne Rebhorn (English), Melvin E. L. Oakes (Physics), and William J. Koros (Chemical Engineering).
B. Questions to the President.
Council Chair Shelley M. Payne had submitted the following questions on behalf of the Executive Committee: How will SB 148, and the Coordinating Board's implementation of this bill, impact UT Austin? What will be the effect of the core curriculum and fields of study on our curricula and majors, and what can we do to minimize the effects of standardization on the preparation of our students for upper-division courses?
The President called on Provost Ekland-Olson to address these questions. Ekland-Olson first pointed out that the rationale for SB 148 was "fairly benign," reflecting the legislature's concern for the time and financial resources used when a student is required to retake a course.
He then said he saw three problems for UT Austin. First, that our curriculum could be driven by the community colleges. Second, that there would an increased burden in advising transfer students, to ensure that they are enrolled in courses for which they are properly prepared. And third, the rigid curriculum problem: as fields of knowledge change, the curriculum must change; a statewide curriculum could deprive
us of the flexibility needed to properly serve our students and to keep up with other leading universities. He emphasized that he believed we should resist very strongly any change under which others could dictate the content of our courses.
Chair-elect Martha Hilley expressed concern about advising of transfer students, and Ekland-Olson agreed that is a problem. Hilley also asked about nominations to the Coordinating Board's fields of studies committees. Ekland-Olson replied that one nomination had been submitted and another, for child development, would be soon.
Alan Cline (Computer Sciences) claimed that flexibility, which had been mentioned by the Provost, is a two-edged sword: flexibility for us could mean flexibility for others, which could lead to more undesirable core requirements that we would have to accept. Ekland-Olson agreed in part, but said that, in general, flexibility is good and rigidity is bad.
Cline encouraged efforts to work for the repeal of SB 148. Ekland-Olson declined to comment directly, but emphasized the "benign motivation" for the legislation and said it would be wrong to create the image that the legislature's intent was to undercut the University. He also said it was important to think about the battles one chooses to fight, and closed by saying that he looked forward to working with the Educational Policy Committee on the issues involved.
Mike Starbird (Mathematics) asked about the possibility of requiring proficiency exams as part of the admission process, and Ekland-Olson said he thought that would not be possible.
IV. REPORT OF THE CHAIR.
Chair Payne said the main topics of interest at the October meeting of the UT System Faculty Advisory Committee included grievance procedures, distance education, and core curricula and fields of study. She said the last item was of concern at all of the UT System institutions.
Payne said the University Club would open the week of November 23, and that approximately 450 faculty and staff had joined. She said one goal was to make the atmosphere more that of a university club than a private club.
V. REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT.
Chair-elect Hilley informed members of plans being made for the annual meeting of the Council with members of the Texas A&M Faculty Senate, set for March 1 in Austin.
VI. SPECIAL ORDERS - None.
VII. PETITIONS - None.
VIII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS -None.
IX. REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEES.
A. Interim Report of the ad hoc Course Instructor Survey Committee.
Patricia Alvey (Advertising), gave an interim report on the progress of the Course Instructor Survey (CIS) Committee, which she chairs. She said the committee's goals include the use of the surveys to improve course choice, professional development, and administrative and curricular decisions. The committee is working to revise and consolidate CIS forms, to investigate alternative methods of evaluating teaching, and to reconsider administrative use of data.
Alvey discussed in some detail the questions being considered for two types of forms (basic and expanded) from which faculty could choose. The committee has sought input from the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, students, and University administrators, as well as the Faculty Council, and will also meet with representatives from individual schools and colleges. Alvey invited questions and comments addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
B. Report from Students' Association.
Annie Holand, President of Student Government, reported on some of the work being done by student government this year. She included recruitment of students, a legislative conference for representatives from ten of the state's largest four-year institutions, the Town Hall meetings, a capital campaign to help student government become self sufficient, and the recent decision to reopen the Tower to visitors.
X. NEW BUSINESS.
A. Resolution on Fields of Study (D&P 16951-16952).
The Council unanimously approved the following resolution, which was introduced by John C. Gilbert (Chemistry and Biochemistry).
Whereas the members of the Faculty Council have considered the impact of the core and field of study curricula mandated in Senate Bill (SB) 148 on the quality of higher education in the State; and
Whereas curricula are constantly evolving to meet the diverse current and future societal needs of the State of Texas; and
Whereas a primary responsibility of faculty is defining and implementing curricula; and
Whereas degree programs at different universities often serve different purposes based on each university's missions;
Therefore, be it resolved that the Faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, through its representatives on the Faculty Council, expresses the view that higher education in the State of Texas would be better served if the determination of the content of the core curriculum and each field of study at a particular baccalaureate institution remains under the control of the faculty of that institution.
B. Resolution of Appreciation of Frieda J. Speck.
Professor Gilbert reminded members that Frieda Speck had retired from the General Faculty Office and the University effective October 1, and recalled the many contributions and friends that she had made. He said that "by virtue of a simple resolution, we hope to send her on her way with the knowledge that her efforts through the years are greatly appreciated." The resolution was approved unanimously.
The Faculty Council of the University of Texas at Austin gratefully acknowledges the loyal and dedicated service that Frieda Speck has provided to it and other faculty governance organizations during the past 24 years and wishes her well in all her future endeavors.
XI. ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS.
XII. QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:40 p.m.
The December 7 meeting of the Council was canceled due to lack of significant business. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Main Building, Room 212, on Monday, January 25, 1999, at 2:15 p.m.
Posted on the Faculty Council web site (www.utexas.edu/faculty/council) on January 21, 1999. Paper copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.