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Questions to the President
November 15, 1999

  1. For several years the Recreational Sports Committee has tried to get approval for handling the Rec Sports Fee as a payroll deduction. Would you please address the question of who is authorized to approve this? (From Martha Hilley, based on the committee's annual report.)

  2. At a recent meeting of the UT System Faculty Advisory Council, representatives from all components were asked to respond to the grade change policy currently in force on their respective campuses. In researching this issue, I was surprised to find that a change of grade request no longer goes beyond the student's dean. In the past these have been signed by a vice provost.

    1. Why was this removed from that portfolio?
    2. I would like to request that faculty receive written confirmation of any grade change made for their students. (From Martha Hilley.)

  3. What steps do you envision taking to make sure that all faculty have appropriate computer facilities in their offices (and ideally at home) in order to take advantage of the instructional and research benefits of computer technology (e.g., web pages for courses, ease of student contact for questions and discussion of course material, use of more powerful and larger programs for scanning, data management and word processing)? The last general initiative to distribute useful computer bundles to a significant number (but I believe well less than 50%) of the faculty was undertaken under former Provost Yudof. Most departments, many colleges and most individual faculty lack the resources to keep up over time with advances in computer hardware and software. The University should recognize that relatively up-to-date computer bundles are as necessary in faculty offices as typewriters were fifteen years ago and that these should be standard-issue employment items, not "fringes" for the select and lucky few or "luxuries" to be paid out of the pockets of the already underpaid faculty. (From Tom Palaima, for many others.)

  4. In the October 27 daily update of the Chronicle of Higher Education is an article on the Carnegie Foundation's intention to revise its classifications in such a way as to remove research funding from the equation in classifying universities. For example, under the current classification, Research I Universities are defined as those that produce "...50 or more doctorates per year, and generate $40 million or more per year in federal support..." Under the proposed classification, Research I Universities will be defined as those that produce "...50 or more doctorates per year across at least 15 disciplines.." What would be the implications of such a reclassification scheme on the University of Texas? (From Patrick Davis.)

  5. A letter postmarked September 24, 1999, slightly more than two weeks prior to the OU game, informed many faculty with UT season football tickets that their requests for Oklahoma and other games could not be filled. Many requests for Oklahoma tickets from T Men (former lettermen) and students also were not filled.

    Were you informed that there would be a significant change this year in the priorities and procedures for filling faculty, student, and T Men requests for tickets to the Oklahoma game? If you were informed of these changes, did you approve them? In which administrative unit and at which level in the unit are these types of decisions made.

    What are the priorities for distribution of tickets? While there are listed priorities, the question is how are these priorities followed? For example: For faculty, students, and T Men, how many tickets were requested, and how many were filled, for Oklahoma and other higher request games? Was a giving/contribution level of $600 or more generally required to have Oklahoma ticket requests filled? What is the real relationship of athletics to the University if significant numbers of faculty and students are excluded from attendance at athletic events that are presented under the University's name? (From James Yates, educational administration.)

  6. A piece in the October 15 Chronicle of Higher Education states that "Recent articles in the Chronicle and other publications report a seemingly relentless increase in the level of cheating among college students." In discussing this problem, the Chronicle refers to a statement developed by the Center for Academic Integrity, based at Duke University, entitled "The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity." A recent issue of the Daily Texan also addressed this problem.

    "I myself believe that nothing could be higher among our educational priorities than the issues of character and tutelage involved here." I hope the Provost will "create some structure that will address these issues." (From Mike Hall, history.)