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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
The minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of April 17, 2000, published below, are included in the Documents of the General Faculty for the information of the members.
John R. Durbin, Secretary
The Faculty Council
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF
April 17, 2000
The sixth meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 1999-2000 was held in Room 212 of the Main Building on Monday, April 17, 2000, at 2:15 p.m.
Present: Neal E. Armstrong, Phillip J. Barrish, Gerard H. Béhague, Harold W. Billings, William D. Carlson, Richard A. Cherwitz, Richard L. Cleary, Michael B. Clement, Jere Confrey, Donald G. Davis, Patrick J. Davis, Robert A. Duke, John R. Durbin, Catharine H. Echols, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Rachel T. Fouladi, Robert Freeman, G. Karl Galinsky, Sara C. Galvan, James D. Garrison, Erayne N. Gee, John (Jack) C. Gilbert, Edmund (Ted) Gordon, Lawrence S. Graham, Sue A. Greninger, Thomas A. Griffy, Julie Hallmark, Tracy C. Hamilton, Barbara J. Harlow, Vance R. Holloway, Sharon H. Justice, Elizabeth L. Keating, J. Parker Lamb, Desmond F. Lawler, Laura E. Luthy, Vincent A. Mariani, Gregory R. Murphy, Dean P. Neikirk, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Eric C. Opiela, Bruce P. Palka, Randall M. Parker, Shelley M. Payne, Theodore E. Pfeifer, Robert A. Prentice, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Andrew M. Riggsby, Gretchen Ritter, Victoria Rodriguez, Juan M. Sanchez, Roberta I. Shaffer, John E. St. Lawrence, Michael P. Starbird, Alexa M. Stuifbergen, Teresa A. Sullivan, Janice S. Todd, James W. Vick, N. Bruce Walker, Karin G. Wilkins.
Absent: Christopher O. Adejumo, Urton L. Anderson (excused), Katherine M. Arens (excused), Efraim P. Armendariz, Victor L. Arnold, Joel W. Barlow, Joseph J. Beaman, Loftus C. Carson, Alan K. Cline, Richard L. Corsi, Edwin Dorn, John S. Dzienkowski, Parisa Fatehi, Larry R. Faulkner (excused), G. Charles Franklin, Linda L. Golden (excused), Roderick P. Hart, Thomas M. Hatfield, James L. Hill, Martha F. Hilley (excused), Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Kerry A. Kinney, Lester R. Kurtz, Richard W. Lariviere, Michael L. Lauderdale, Steven W. Leslie, Brian P. Levack, William S. Livingston, Margaret N. Maxey, Robert G. May, David A. Nancarrow, Edward W. Odell (excused), Alba A. Ortiz (excused), Thomas G. Palaima (excused), Atisha G. Patel, Elmira Popova, Johnnie D. Ray, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza (excused), Dolores Sands, M. Michael Sharlot, Joel F. Sherzer, Lawrence W. Speck, Ben G. Streetman, Michael C. Tusa, Lonnie H. Wagstaff, Ellen A. Wartella, Barbara W. White (excused).
Voting Members: 45 present, 30 absent, 75 total. Non-Voting Members: 14 present, 17 absent, 31 total. Total Members: 59 present, 47 absent, 106 total.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.
There were no questions about the written report (D 477-491).
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES.
The minutes of the Faculty Council meeting of March 20, 2000 ( D 471-474 ), were approved by voice vote.
III. COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT.
A. Comments by the President None.
B. Questions to the President None.
IV. REPORT OF THE CHAIR None.
V. REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT None.
VI. SPECIAL ORDERS None.
VII. PETITIONS None.
VIII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS None.
IX. NEW BUSINESS.
Revised Proposals for Catalog Changes in the College of Natural Sciences.
Proposed changes to requirements for BS degrees in biological sciences, physics, and chemistry and biochemistry (D 203-214, D 274-297, D 307-314) would have reduced the foreign language requirement from three courses (506, 507, and an additional three-hour course) to one course (506). These proposed changes in foreign language requirements were protested by Shelley Payne (microbiology) and Michael Starbird (mathematics) (D 436-437).
In explaining the protest, Payne expressed concern that BS degrees were becoming increasingly narrow. She also felt that the review process for degree changes was becoming uneven, and suggested that the Council create an ad hoc committee to review the method by which changes are reviewed and approved. Starbird said that because of the increasing influence of changes brought about by scientific advances, especially through the biological sciences and computers, it was important that the people in those fields have an understanding of the social implications of the changes; thus he favored exposure to the social sciences and liberal arts.
On behalf of the College of Natural Sciences, Dean Mary Ann Rankin introduced revised proposals that would give four options (D 475-476). The first would require two semesters of a foreign language; the second would require one semester of a foreign language and one culture course in the same language area; the third would require two foreign culture courses; and the fourth would require a foreign culture course and an additional course from specified areas in liberal arts.
In elaborating on the proposal, David Laude (natural sciences) and David Hillis (biological sciences) explained the need to include more courses in areas such as computer science and, at the same time, to keep the total number of required hours under control. Hillis also traced the history of proposed changes in his area, going back to the realization several years ago
that the degree requirements were inconsistent and outdated. The original proposal for the foreign language requirements was a compromise, and the proposal being considered was a further compromise in light of the protest from Payne and Starbird.
Karl Galinsky (classics) favored a campus-wide view of foreign language requirements, and wondered if this proposal would lead to a flood of requests for similar changes in other degree plans. He also recalled that in discussions of the "Vick Committee" on undergraduate education, it had been felt that the foreign language requirement should be taken care of in high school. Steve Monti (executive vice provost) said there has not been a University-wide policy on foreign language requirements.
James Vick (vice president for student affairs), Tom Griffy (physics), and Robert Freeman (dean of fine arts) defended the requirement of more than one semester of a foreign language. Freeman said that most students do not learn languages well in high school, and that the lack of broad foreign language training is detrimental to the country.
Gerard Béhague (music) believed that the list of foreign culture courses submitted as part of the proposal was too narrow. Larry Carver (liberal arts) agreed, and said the list was put together quickly and was always subject to revision.
Galinsky felt that such fundamental changes should be classified as general legislation rather than as legislation of exclusive application to a single school or college. The secretary, who classifies legislation, acknowledged that Galinsky's point was legitimate and one that the Council might want to consider, but said that the classification in this case followed historical precedent.
Laude said the College of Natural Sciences had been careful to follow prescribed procedures in submitting the original degree proposals, and regretted that this was being protested and revisited so late in the year. The secretary pointed out that there had been an abundance of proposed catalog changes beginning in the fall and that proposals were still being received. He said that had he known which proposals were going to be protested, he could have requested that the Office of Official Publications process those first.
In the end, the Council rejected the proposed changes. With a May 15 deadline for approval of catalog changes, it was expected that a revised proposal will be presented to the Council on May 8.
Proposed Changes in BA in Psychology.
Faced with a ratio of 41.67 majors to full-time-equivalent faculty in its undergraduate program, the highest in liberal arts, the psychology department proposed three catalog changes which it hoped would help alleviate the problem ( D 464-466 ). These changes had been protested by Eric Opiela (student government) (D 462-463).
The first proposal would require at least twelve semester hours of coursework in residence and a University gpa of at least 2.50 for students to declare a major in the program. The second would require a University gpa of at least 2.50 to remain in the major. The third would prevent students with a University gpa of less than 3.00 from taking more than two organized psychology courses in a semester.
Michael Domjan (psychology) provided data illustrating the seriousness of the enrollment problems in his department. He also said that many students were majoring in psychology more as a convenience than a conviction, and that the modest number of students with a serious interest in psychology were badly served as a result. Larry Carver elaborated on Domjan's arguments and went on to discuss similar problems in other parts of liberal arts.
Carver traced the history back to admission standards imposed by business administration when their enrollment grew out of control some years ago. Restrictions have since been adopted by other components of the University.
Opiela expanded on the arguments in his written protest. Desmond Lawler (civil engineering) opposed the second proposed change, since only a 2.00 gpa is required for graduation. Carver assured John Walthall (cabinet of college councils) that any changes would not affect students currently enrolled. Andrew Riggsby (classics) questioned the usefulness of the third recommendation.
Monti said there is no question that psychology needs enrollment management, but he questioned whether this proposal was the best solution. He said that such a "rolling gpa" approach had not worked well when tried in business administration, and suggested a plan in which psychology determines how many majors it can handle and then controls enrollment on the front end. He indicated the provost's office would be willing to work with liberal arts in looking for a satisfactory solution.
The first recommendation was then approved, and the second and third were tabled, on motions from John Gilbert (chemistry and biochemistry) and Tom Griffy (physics), respectively.
Report from Library Committee.
Philip Doty (library and information sciences), chair of the Library Committee, discussed two recommendations on library loan periods (D 467-468). One would end the use of paper for book renewals for faculty and professional staff by moving to only email reminders by spring of 2001. The other would increase the loan period for graduate students and classified staff members to one full semester, matching the loan period for faculty members and professional staff.
Doty discussed the committee's rationale, emphasizing the needs of graduate students involved in research. Doty also said that most members of the committee strongly supported the recommendations. He said the change in lending periods had been recommended by a subcommittee of one faculty member, one graduate student, and one undergraduate student. Their recommendation was based partly on policies at comparable institutions.
Vance Holloway (Spanish and Portuguese), Faculty Council representative on the Library Committee, had filed a minority report (D 469-470) which proposed lending periods of two weeks for undergraduates, four weeks for non-professional staff, eight weeks for graduate students, and one semester for doctoral candidates and faculty. "Human nature is such that many people will not return books until they are due, whether or not they are using them," Holloway wrote. He felt that the majority of the committee was not sufficiently sensitive to the problem of important books remaining off the library shelves but unused in a campus office or home. He also questioned the subcommittee's interpretation of information from comparable institutions, pointing out that of thirteen peer institutions surveyed, eleven had a loan period for graduate students of less than a semester.
Pat Davis (chair elect), chairing the meeting in place of Martha Hilley (chair), said it was his understanding that there was no problem with the first recommendation (on the electronic handling of renewals), and asked Doty if the committee was moving to adopt the second recommendation. [Note: In D 467-468, the secretary had stated that "these recommendations will be presented to the Faculty Council for action at its meeting on April 17, 2000." Chair Hilley had requested, on behalf of the Faculty Council Executive Committee, that the committee bring the recommendations to the Council.]
Harold Billings (director of General Libraries) said the committee had not asked the Council to vote on anything. He said the committee had not presented legislation. It had made recommendations to him. He said he had not decided what to do about the first recommendation; this recommendation would depend on how technology develops over the coming months.
As to the second recommendation, Billings discussed the input from the committee and read a message from a graduate student. He then said that "based on information our subcommittee gathered, based on the sort of requests I've been receiving, it is my intention to implement the semester-long loan period for graduate students."
Davis said it was his understanding that as a standing committee of the General Faculty, the Library Committee's recommendations should come to the Council for consideration. The secretary agreed, and referred to the Rules and Regulations of the Council. The secretary expressed his agreement with some of the arguments put forward by Holloway. He had special concern about lack of ready access to standard references, especially in his own department (mathematics), due to extended loan periods and repeated renewals. He felt the issue deserved broader input from the faculty than that provided by the Library Committee, and especially by the subcommittee that had recommended the policy.
Griffy said that as he recalled the rules, the duty of the Library Committee was to advise the director of General Libraries, and not to make recommendations to the Faculty Council.
[Secretary's remark: In the list of standing committees and their functions and membership, the function of the Library Committee is described as follows: "To be so well informed concerning the functions of the Library that it can assist in developing operational procedures; to assist in development of both personnel and fiscal policies and procedures; to advise the Faculty Council and the President concerning the direction and growth of the Library; to advise the President in the event it becomes necessary to appoint a new Librarian."
The Rules and Regulations of the Faculty Council contain the following statement: "The standing committees of the General Faculty, except the Rules Committee, shall be responsible to the Faculty Council, and any changes in the list of standing committees shall originate in the Faculty Council. A report from each committee shall be submitted to the Faculty Council through the Secretary by April 1, with a copy to the President and the chair of the Faculty Committee on Committees. In addition, each committee shall keep the Faculty Council informed of its on-going activities by including the Office of the Faculty Council on the mailing list the committee uses to send meeting notices and reports. These documents will be made available for examination by members of the Faculty Council."]
Tracy Hamilton (graduate student assembly) supported the position of the committee, based on input from graduate students from a broad range of departments. She also read a message from a student supporting the change.
Presiding chair Davis again asked if the Library Committee was going to move the recommendations for action. Doty said he wasn't sure what to do, but he felt fully satisfied with making recommendations to Billings and his staff. He said, "if you want to direct this otherwise, that's another matter." Davis then asked for a motion that the Council "accept" the report. A motion to that effect was approved by voice vote.
D. Report from the Intercollegiate Athletics Council for Women.
E. Report from the Intercollegiate Athletics Council for Men.
After the completion of item C, Ted Gordon (anthropology) pointed out that there was not a quorum (which the secretary confirmed), and said he thought the discussion of items D and E should be postponed until the next meeting of the Council. He reminded members that it had been argued at the March meeting of the Council that questions about intercollegiate athletics should be handled through the athletics councils. Bruce Palka (mathematics) supported that view. The secretary said the athletics councils' written reports would be circulated to members before the May 8 meeting.
X. ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS None.
XI. QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR None.
The meeting adjourned at 4:20 p.m.
Distributed through the Faculty Council web site (www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/) on May 4, 2000. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.