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649


DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

 

The minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of May 8, 2000, published below, are included in the Documents of the General Faculty for the information of the members.


<signed>

John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty

 

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF

May 8, 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, May 8, 2000, at 2:30 p.m.

ATTENDANCE.

Present: Christopher O. Adejumo, Urton L. Anderson, Efraim P. Armendariz, Neal E. Armstrong, Phillip J. Barrish, Gerard H. Béhague, Richard A. Cherwitz, Richard L. Cleary, Michael B. Clement, Alan K. Cline, Donald G. Davis, Patrick J. Davis, Robert A. Duke, John R. Durbin, Catharine H. Echols, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, G. Karl Galinsky, John C. (Jack) Gilbert, Linda L. Golden, Edmund (Ted) Gordon, Lawrence S. Graham, Sue A. Greninger, Thomas A. Griffy, Julie Hallmark, Tracy C. Hamilton, Barbara J. Harlow, James L. Hill, Martha F. Hilley, Arlen W. Johnson,1 Lester R. Kurtz, Desmond F. Lawler, Steven W. Leslie, Laura E. Luthy, Vincent A. Mariani, Gregory R. Murphy, David A. Nancarrow, Dean P. Neikirk, Edward W. Odell, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Eric C. Opiela, Alba A. Ortiz, Bruce P. Palka, Shelley M. Payne, Theodore E. Pfeifer, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Gretchen Ritter, Victoria Rodriguez, Joel F. Sherzer, Michael P. Starbird, Ben G. Streetman, Teresa A. Sullivan, Janice S. Todd, Michael C. Tusa, James W. Vick, N. Bruce Walker.

Absent: Katherine M. Arens (excused),2 Victor L. Arnold, Joel W. Barlow, Joseph J. Beaman, Harold W. Billings, William D. Carlson, Loftus C. Carson, Jere Confrey, Richard L. Corsi, Edwin Dorn, John S. Dzienkowski, Parisa Fatehi, Larry R. Faulkner (excused), Rachel T. Fouladi, G. Charles Franklin, Robert Freeman, Sara C. Galvan, James D. Garrison, Erayne N. Gee, Roderick P. Hart, Thomas M. Hatfield, Vance R. Holloway, Sharon H. Justice (excused), Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Elizabeth L. Keating (excused), Kerry A. Kinney, J. Parker Lamb, Richard W. Lariviere, Michael L. Lauderdale, Brian P. Levack, William S. Livingston, Margaret N. Maxey, Robert G. May, Thomas G. Palaima (excused), Randall M. Parker, Atisha G. Patel, Elmira Popova, Robert A. Prentice, Johnnie D. Ray, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza (excused), Andrew M. Riggsby, Juan M. Sanchez, Dolores Sands, Roberta I. Shaffer, M. Michael Sharlot, Lawrence W. Speck, John E. St. Lawrence, Alexa M. Stuifbergen, Lonnie H. Wagstaff, Ellen A. Wartella, Barbara W. White (excused), Karin G. Wilkins (excused).



Voting Members:
42
present,
33
absent, 75 total.
Non-Voting Members
12
present,
19
absent, 31 total.
Total Members:
54
present,
52
absent, 106 total.


1 Attendance corrected on August 23, 2000.
2 Changed unexcused absence to excused. Correction made September 11, 2000.


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I.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.

There were no questions about the written report (D 552-568).

II.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES.

The minutes of the Faculty Council meeting of April 17, 2000 (D 574-579), were approved by voice vote.

III.
COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT.

A. Comments by the President.

President Faulkner was away from Austin on other business.

B. Questions to the President.

Questions from Thomas G. Palaima (classics), James Kehrer (pharmacy), and Alan Cline (computer sciences) were submitted in writing before the meeting. The questions together with the replies are in the appendix to these minutes.

IV.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR.

Chair Martha Hilley (music) expressed thanks to all who had contributed to the work of the Council and the standing committees over the year.

V.

REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT.

[Secretary's note: This report was made at the end of the special meeting of the 2000-2001 Council, which immediately preceded this meeting.] Chair elect Patrick Davis (pharmacy) presented Martha Hilley with a plaque in recognition of her outstanding commitment to faculty governance. He said that much of the work of the chair involves "behind the scenes interactions that require tact, humor, which Martha certainly has, diplomacy, understanding, and conviction on a huge range of issues."

Provost Ekland-Olson then read a statement from President Faulkner, which concluded: "[Hilley] has brought extraordinary leadership, ability, personal grace, and good humor to a challenging office. It has been said that the chair of the Faculty Council is a thankless task. Professor Hilley, on behalf of the entire UT community, I thank you for a job well done."

VI.
SPECIAL ORDERS – None.

VII.
PETITIONS – None.

VIII.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS.

A. Intercollegiate Athletics Councils.

The annual reports of the Men's and Women's Intercollegiate Athletics Councils were given by Waneen Spirduso and Beverly Hadaway, chairs of the committees. The reports summarized academic performance by athletes, as well as issues discussed by the councils during the year. Included were figures showing that women athletes had a cumulative GPA of 3.02, the highest ever. The cumulative GPA for men was 2.67, up from 2.31 in 1993. The complete reports, which contain a number of tables and other information, are available in the Office of the General Faculty.

 


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Edmund (Ted) Gordon (anthropology) requested that in the future the report on men athletes contain as much information as that on women. He expressed particular interest in results for those in football and basketball, the large money-earning sports. He also encouraged the athletics councils to give serious thought to the philosophical questions raised by nationwide problems with intercollegiate athletics. Spirduso said such issues were discussed at meetings of the Big 12 Conference and the NCAA, and that President Faulkner felt strongly about the integrity of the University's athletics programs. Gordon applauded that, but wanted to emphasize that the issues should be studied by the University's own athletics councils.

 
B. Natural Sciences Foreign Language Requirement.

At its April meeting the Council rejected a proposal to change the foreign language requirement for BS degrees in biological sciences, physics, and chemistry and biochemistry (D 436-437). On May 8 the proposal was reintroduced (D 586-590) on a motion by Tom Griffy (physics), who had opposed the proposal in April.

Dean Mary Ann Rankin (natural sciences) said the primary reason for the proposal, which was being made with reluctance, was an attempt to reduce the number of hours in the degrees from about 132 to 126 or 127, and to offer students slightly more flexibility in their choice of courses. She questioned the effectiveness of foreign language training in college, pointed out that other schools and colleges at the University had reduced their foreign language requirements, made comparisons with language requirements at other universities, and spoke of the strong support for the proposal from the three departments involved. Rankin also claimed that language departments supported the proposal.

Dean Ben Streetman (engineering) spoke briefly in support of the proposal, saying his college was faced with similar problems in trying to reduce the number of hours required for its degrees. Desmond Lawler (civil engineering) reinforced Streetman's argument, saying he had direct experience in trying to reduce requirements in engineering so that degrees could be completed in four years. Julie Hallmark (library and information science) favored the proposal and agreed that students should be encouraged to study languages earlier. John C. (Jack) Gilbert (chemistry and biochemistry), Cline, and Bruce Palka (mathematics) said they would vote for the proposal, feeling that the issue had been considered carefully by those who were making it. Palka added, however, that he was sorry the University had allowed the foreign language requirement to be weakened in college after college, and that he knew from experience that languages could be learned even after college.

Joel Sherzer (anthropology), while sympathetic with the problems faced by the three departments, said he could not support the proposal. He said that foreign languages are becoming more important, and that language instruction is becoming better. He said cultural courses are not a replacement for language courses; they should go together. He also questioned the argument that languages are better learned in high school than in college, and said he had checked with several department chairs in foreign languages and that, contrary to claims, they did not support the proposal.

The secretary (mathematics, speaking as a voting member and not as secretary), said he could not support the proposal for several reasons. First, it was not a foreign language requirement. "It starts as a two semester foreign language requirement, segues into a combination of that with multiculturalism, and then ends with not much of anything." He said that keeping the current (three semester) foreign language requirement would motivate students to learn more about a language in high school so they could satisfy the requirement with advanced placement credit, which is what many students currently do. He also questioned the interpretation that had been made of requirements at other universities. The


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secretary thought it was important for UT Austin to set a high standard for the state and to send a signal that this is an institution of serious intent; that could have a positive influence on college-bound students and on the quality of those who enroll at the University.

Karl Galinsky (classics) said he would have preferred that issues such as this, which involve general education requirements, be studied first by the Educational Policy Committee. Recalling the report of the Vick Committee, he said that, ideally, students would learn foreign languages well enough in high school so that they could satisfy a two semester language requirement through a placement exam. He preferred this to weakening the requirement, as was being proposed.

Matthew Bailey (Spanish and Portuguese, elected to the Council for 2000-2002) supported many of the points made by Sherzer, Galinsky, and the secretary. He also felt that his department had essentially been told that natural sciences was going to insist on what was being proposed, and that they were merely asking his department to make recommendations for cultural courses to replace the second semester of a foreign language. He did not feel that his department had endorsed the proposal.

Eric Opiela (student government), speaking for a student member who could not attend, said there was student concern that advisors in engineering and natural sciences often encourage students to take free electives in those fields rather than branching out into something like liberal arts. David Laude (chemistry and supervisor of advisors in natural sciences) said that may be the practice of individual advisors but it was not the position of the college.

After approving a motion by Barbara Harlow (English) to call the question, the proposal from natural sciences was approved by a vote of 22 to 11.

IX.
NEW BUSINESS.

A. Cancellation of Summer Meetings of the Faculty Council.

The Council approved a motion by the secretary to cancel its summer meetings (D 569).

B. Approve Meeting Dates 2000-2001.

The Council approved a motion by the secretary that would set the Council's meetings dates for 2000-2001 (D 570).

C.

Nominations for the Intercollegiate Athletics Councils and for the University Co-op Board.

The Council approved the following lists of nominees, which were proposed by a nominating committee chaired by Chair Hilley (D 580-581). One selection is to be made by the president from each list.

Men's athletics council: Elizabeth Cullingford (English), James Deitrick (accounting), Robert Duke (music), Michael Granof (accounting), and Patricia Witherspoon (communication studies).

Women's athletics council: Linda Ferreira-Buckley (English), Ted Gordon (anthropology), Jerry Junkin (music), W. Arlyn Kloesel (pharmacy), and John Murphy (advertising).

University Co-op board of directors: Desley Deacon (women's studies), David Fowler (civil engineering), and Jack Getman (law).


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[Secretary' s note: The president later selected Michael Granof, Linda Ferreira-Buckley, and David W. Fowler.]

D.

Recommendations from the Educational Policy Committee on Course-Instructor Surveys.

In November the Council received, and forwarded to the provost, a report from the ad hoc Committee on Course Instructor Surveys. Chair Hilley also asked the Educational Policy Committee to consider the report, especially with regard to confidentiality and the release of responses to the surveys.

On May 8, on behalf of the Educational Policy Committee, Urton Anderson (accounting) introduced four recommendations for the Council's consideration (D 547-549a). Anderson began by amending the recommendations to read as follows:

Recommendation 1: It is recommended that all classes be surveyed every semester, including summer, using either the Basic CIS Form or [one of] the Expanded CIS Form[s].

Rationale: Teaching evaluations by students are required by all faculty at UT Austin and have been required since spring 1992. The only open issues are the form and frequency of these evaluations. This recommendation specifies the form and frequency of the required student evaluations.

For the results of student evaluations to be most useful, it is desirable that they have some items in common. [Eleven] Nine common items have been identified from earlier forms and have been used to create a Basic CIS Form. [Additional common items have been taken from earlier surveys to create nine specific Expanded CIS Forms (The Expanded CIS Forms include the eleven common items).]

Recommendation 2: In addition to the Basic CIS Form, [or one of] the Expanded CIS Form[s], and supplemental CIS forms designed for specific types of teaching methods, colleges and individual faculty are strongly encouraged to develop and use additional methods of evaluation.

Rationale: The primary vehicles for collecting information about teaching are student surveys, alumni surveys, major retrospective surveys, peer review of materials, self-report in the form of portfolios, and mid-semester course adjustment data. To improve and maintain a high quality teaching program, colleges and individual faculty should seek feedback on teaching from many sources.

Recommendation 3: It is recommended that materials be prepared to assist students in understanding the importance of (1) giving helpful feedback and (2) understanding how to read the results of the surveys.

Rationale: The statistical data from the course instructor surveys is public information and will be released to the students. It is critical that the students understand the information provided to them.

Recommendation 4: In implementing the Basic CIS Form or the Expanded CIS Form, the privacy of both students and faculty must be respected and preserved. It recommended that it be left to the faculty member to decide how and when written comments are released

 

 


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Rationale: Written comments on student evaluations are not governed by the Open Records Act that governs access to and release of answers to survey items. The written comments are offered and received as part of a private communication between student and faculty.

After discussion involving Anderson, Galinsky, the secretary, Patricia Ohlendorf (vice president for institutional relations and legal affairs), Steve Monti (executive vice provost), Opiela, Davis, Steve Fitzpatrick (Measurement and Evaluation Center and a member of the ad hoc Committee on Course Instructor Surveys), and Lawler, and after voting to remove the last sentence in Recommendation 4, the Council voted to approve the four recommendations, as amended by the committee and by the Council.

E.

Recommendations from the Welfare Committee.

The Council approved a recommendation from the Faculty Welfare Committee (D 550-551), introduced by Sue Greninger (human ecology), asking that an annual survey of faculty and staff be conducted (1) to provide data regarding satisfaction levels and trends with healthcare benefits and services, including claims processing, and (2) to identify problems being experienced by UT Austin employees in these areas. The recommendation includes details about how the annual survey should be carried out.

F.

Recommendations from the Recreational Sports Committee.

On behalf of the Recreational Sports Committee, Richard Cleary (architecture) introduced a resolution (D 536-537) requesting that the University administration institute a program under which the University would share the cost of a basic recreational sports membership with each faculty or staff member who chose to participate.

Jan Todd (kinesiology and health education) spoke in favor of the proposal. Eric Opiela (student representative) expressed concern that the funds might come from student fees. Donald Davis (library and information science) and the secretary also thought the question of the source of the funds was important. Cleary acknowledged that there were similar items, such as child care and parking, that were also costly to faculty and staff, and no doubt of at least equal importance to some. He said the committee had discussed this point, but that it could make recommendations only on recreational sports. He supported a motion made by Dean Neikirk (computer and electrical engineering) to refer the matter to the Faculty Welfare Committee. The Council approved the motion to refer.

During the discussion, John Walthall (Cabinet of College Councils, 2000-2001) encouraged interaction between faculty, staff, and students in such activities as recreational sports.

G. Report from the Faculty Grievance Committee.

Alba Ortiz (special education), chair of the Faculty Grievance Committee, said the committee had been working with the administration to improve the grievance process and to give faculty greater control over the process. A careful summary of that work and the recommendations below are included in the full report of the committee (D 582-585).

The Council approved two recommendations from the committee. The first would include the immediate past chair as an ex officio, voting member of the committee. The second would provide the chair of the committee with four-and-one-half teaching load credits (for one semester during the year) as compensation for the demands of the position, until the position of ombudsperson is created and filled. (The second recommendation, as originally circulated, requested "one course during the academic year" as compensation. The

 

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  recommendation to change that to "equivalent to four-and-one-half teaching credits" was suggested by Professor Lawler, and accepted by the committee before the vote.)

X.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS – None.

XI.
QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR – None.

XII.
ADJOURNMENT.

The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.

Distributed through the Faculty Council web site (www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/) on July 19, 2000. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.


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Appendix

Questions to the President

May 8, 2000

From James P. Kehrer (pharmacy):

Several colleges on campus function with a divisional rather than departmental structure. However, division heads are asked to function much like department chairs including writing department chair letters for faculty promotions, making recommendations for merit raises and staff raises, and writing other official recommendations. Should any of these actions be challenged in a legal environment, I would like to know the University's position regarding support and legal defense for division heads relative to any current policies regarding department chairs. A portion of this question also could be phrased in a more generic fashion. Specifically, when we as faculty members write a letter of recommendation (for students or for promotion and tenure committees at other universities, or for other purposes) that is legally challenged, what is the University's position regarding support and legal defense for that faculty member?

Reply from Vice President Patricia Ohlendorf:

The first question is whether a division head in a non-departmentalized college or school would have the same legal protections as a department chair at the University. The answer to that is yes, as long as the person was acting in good faith and carrying out responsibilities that were delegated by the dean. Now whether or not the decisions by division heads would carry the same weight as departmental chairs is a policy issue that the provost office would have to address.

The second question is whether, when a faculty member writes a letter of recommendation for a student, or for promotion and tenure purposes, the University would provide some legal protection in the event that there was a lawsuit that resulted from the recommendation. The answer to that is yes, as long as he or she was doing that as part of his or her responsibilities as a faculty member at the University and was acting in good faith. If the faculty member had inserted personal information that either wasn't true, and the faculty member knew it wasn’t true, or did not rely upon personal knowledge or data that had been given, and did not check to be sure that it was reliable, then there would be a question as to whether or not the faculty member was acting as an expert, or as someone in that field that should be making recommendations in good faith. The determination of good faith is made by the attorney general's office. However, in every situation where one of UT's faculty has engaged in something like this, UT has said that it feels that the faculty member has been acting in good faith within his or her responsibilities.


The following questions (1-3) were submitted by Thomas G. Palaima (classics). All answers were provided in written form by Provost Ekland-Olson.

1.

Faculty computer upgrades: The provost has reported that we are embarking on a five-year two-million-dollar program ($400K-per-year) to address the essential need to keep faculty computers relatively on par with current technologies for instruction and research. He has also reported that "the algorithm we are using for estimating the appropriate budget is 45% of total faculty and an average of roughly $2,500 per replacement."

Calculations indicate that this program will address minimal needs of 765 out of our 1700 faculty. 1700 faculty * .45 = 765 * $2500 = $1,912,500, i.e, ca. $2M.

a. How is appropriate basic computer equipment being provided and maintained for the remaining 1700-765 = 935 faculty during this 5-year cycle?

Answer:

In addition to the newly identified $400K there are a number of sources being brought to the table. These include dean excellence funds, college resources, endowments, and grants.

 
b.

What are the anticipated sources of revenues for this?


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Answer:

Final details of specific sources will be worked out over the summer.

c.

How much are departmental and faculty endowment or project/grant funds expected to pay for the basic faculty computer equipment/upgrades not provided for in the yearly $400K? (Several faculty members have expressed strong opposition to this practice as it is applied to computer equipment and other areas of university funding.)

Answer:

This varies widely across colleges. In some colleges, the lion's share of replacement will be covered by centralized university resources. In other colleges, a larger portion of the cost will be covered by resources internal to the college and departments.

d.

How was the five-year time span chosen? What about the 3-year plans used at some peer institutions? What factors led to the conclusion that a 5-year plan is sufficient (especially given the 6-9 mo. cycle for massive leaps in computer technology) at a tier-one research university? Do our peer competitors like UNC-CH, UILL-CH-URB, UW-MAD, UC-BERK, UMICH and UWASH follow 5-year cycles?

Answer:

The five-year replacement was decided upon after much discussion. It is not fixed in stone. With the newly funded program in place, we will be assessing the wisdom of this cycle and will make adjustments in the context of other demands placed upon the University's budget. There is wide variation across universities when it comes to computer-replacement funding cycles.

e.

Have college info-tech specialists been consulted about conditions in individual departments? Classics reports that no new faculty computers have been acquired in three years and that faculty hardware and software is woefully out of date and cannot make use of anything like the latest instructional technologies. This must be paralleled in other departments and programs, at least in Liberal Arts.

Answer:

Assessment of conditions within departments is the responsibility of each dean's office.

2.

Faculty Travel Grants to Professional Meetings: The Faculty Travel Grant Program now offers faculty up to $325 per year to present a scholarly paper at a regularly scheduled professional meeting. This is less than half the amount the program offered in the 1980's (when it was known as CAMLS). It is probably about a third of what it was when one factors in inflation. Given the increased costs of travel and lodging, the sum UT Austin offers is a serious disincentive. Since the scholarly/professional activity of presenting papers at regular professional meetings is *de rigeur* for tenure and promotion and for maintaining the professional visibility and ranking of academic programs, the University should not effectively be forcing faculty to use their own limited salaries to perform their basic work, nor should it be taxing already strapped departments to use endowed funds to do so. What is being done about this in the current budgetary planning?

Answer:

Funding to assist faculty with travel to professional meetings is part of the $1.5 million University Research Institute (URI) budget. Currently $200,000 is allocated to the travel budget with the balance going to the Faculty Research Assignment ($800K) and Summer Research Assignment ($500K) budgets. These budget allocations permit the University to provide limited support to faculty in three important areas, but clearly they are not sufficient to meet all of the demand. During past budget discussions, the Graduate School has requested an increase in the URI budget, especially for the high priority FRA and SRA programs, and I am confident they will continue to do this. Unfortunately, the budget priorities of recent years have not permitted an increase in these centrally managed funds.


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3.

What are the total projected costs of the ongoing administrative restructuring, including the salaries and benefits of the three principal new positions and of the anticipated associate, assistant and staff positions related to these new positions? How does the reported $350K figure relate to the total costs?

Answer:

In my letter in On Campus, I covered the issues of cost as straightforwardly as I can at this relatively undeveloped stage. Here is the relevant portion of that letter:

I am frequently asked whether this reorganization will be costly. The answer is that there certainly will be nonrecurring (one-time) costs, mainly in connection with the relocation of offices. There may also be recurring (year-after-year) costs, although it is difficult to predict exactly how large they might be. To a considerable extent the plan rearranges reporting points, and there is little or no expected recurring cost for that. In other cases, as in the creation of the portfolio in information technology, there is a consolidation of closely related functions. We will realize some efficiencies in the course of doing that. Moreover, we should keep in mind that this portfolio involves an area where expansion of scale and effort is very likely, and it is important to establish a structure that can accommodate it. In a third direction, as in the creation of a portfolio for campus services, we are dividing and providing a new structure for an already complex existing organization. Not all of the organization required to oversee the new portfolio will itself be new.

In any case, the total of recurring costs should be quite small compared to the amount that we are committing to any given segment of the recently announced academic initiatives, especially the expansion of the faculty. It will be tiny compared to the recurring funding committed to faculty and staff compensation improvements next year alone. We do need to remember that this is a university with an annual budget of $1.1 billion and an extremely complex program of activities. It is false economy to preserve an outdated administrative structure that cannot fully cope with our current scope and that cannot position The University effectively in a changing world. Such an administration will waste (or lose opportunities to realize) more resources than reorganization to a better structure will ever cost.

The figure of $350,000 is an estimate of recurring cost that I made for American Statesman reporter Mary Ann Roser when she asked for a "ballpark" idea. I think it is still a reasonable range for the net recurring cost when all realignments are complete, exclusive of the cost of expanding or improving existing programs (e.g. for the maintenance of new buildings or responding to the KPMG report on OHR) during the same time frame.


From Alan Cline (computer sciences):

Recently a Web site appeared that purported to provide composite grades for UT courses. The site was plagued with errors but apparently it did have many grades for many courses. Given that there are situations (e.g. small classes) where the composite figures come very close to disclosing individual grades, release of this information seems to border on invasion of the privacy of students and faculty. Could you tell us by what authority this information was released?

Reply from Provost Ekland-Olson::

In response to an open records request the University provided grade distribution data for all organized classes for the period Summer 98 through Fall 99 by individual course and professor. These summary data are public information and we were required to release them. To avoid the inadvertent release of grade information that might be associated with a specific student, we did not release grade distribution data for small classes. We used the Coordinating Board definition of small classes, i.e. classes with fewer than 10 students for undergraduate courses and fewer than 5 for graduate classes

In a follow up question, Cline asked if there is "no feeling that this [the involvement of a lawyer in the UT System Office of General Counsel] was a conflict of interest, seeing as John Cunningham, son of the chancellor, had made this request?" Ohlendorf replied: "I don't even know that the lawyers knew who made


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the request, and under the Texas Public Information Act, you cannot ask any reason why someone asks for information or even determine who it is, or make any distinctions there. So, no, I don't believe there was any conflict of interest."

 


 

 


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