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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
This is to inform you of the opportunity to either accept (by taking no action) or to protest (as described below) legislation approved by the Faculty Council. The legislation is in the form of a "Proposal to Increase Student Involvement in the Hiring Process of Tenure-Track Faculty" and was approved by the Council on April 16, 2001.
Because the proposal is classified as major legislation, it must, according to the by-laws of the Council, be submitted to the General Faculty on a no-protest basis.
The legislation will be submitted to the president for approval as General Faculty legislation unless protests have been received by the secretary from 25 voting members of the General Faculty by May 11, 2001. If sufficient protests are received, the legislation will be presented to the General Faculty for discussion at a meeting early in the fall semester, on a date to be announced.
Protests may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.
The proposal, as approved by the Council, appears on (D 1235-1236). It was introduced by the Cabinet of College Councils, a student organization. Following is a brief summary of the proposal and of arguments for and against.
SUMMARY OF PROPOSAL: Students will be involved in the hiring of new faculty through at least one of four options: (1) Lecture, open to all students, with information available about the candidate and with opportunity for student comments. (2) Interview with students. (3) Voting student members on hiring committee. (4) Non-voting student members on hiring committee.
SOME ARGUMENTS FOR: It would help emphasize the importance of teaching. Students are dependent on teachers, so student opinion should be considered. Students have a unique perspective. It would help strengthen the relationship between faculty and students. Some academic units that already involve students in the process think it is useful. The proposal is flexible; it offers four options and would require that only one be used. Having this policy in place would increase student involvement in faculty hiring across the campus.
SOME ARGUMENTS AGAINST: Good tenure decisions in a major research university require more knowledge and experience than students would have. Students could be influenced and even coerced by faculty under whom they work. Screening candidates is time-consuming; obtaining reliable and consistent student participation is problematic. The advanced students best qualified are heavily involved in their own research and future plans. Student involvement could increase the chance of publicity of factors other than scholarship and professional accomplishments.
This legislation was posted
on the Faculty Council web site (http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/)
on April 19, 2001. Paper copies are available on request from the Office
of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.