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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

 

The minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of September 18, 2000, published below, are included in the Documents of the General Faculty for the information of the members.

 

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John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty

 

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF

September 18, 2000

The first meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 2000-2001 was held in Room 212 of the Main Building on Monday, September 18, 2000, at 2:15 p.m.

ATTENDANCE.

Present: Christopher O. Adejumo, Mark I. Alpert, Katherine M. Arens, Victor L. Arnold, Matthew J. Bailey, Joyce L. Banks, Gerard H. Béhague, Douglas G. Biow, David G. Bogard, Daniel A. Bonevac, Dean A. Bredeson, Cindy I. Carlson, Richard A. Cherwitz, Richard L. Cleary, Michael B. Clement, Dana L. Cloud, Patricia L. Clubb, Donald G. Davis, Patrick J. Davis, Desley A. Deacon, John D. Dollard, Minette E. Drumwright, John R. Durbin, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Larry R. Faulkner, Shelley F. Fishkin, Dorie J. Gilbert, Nell H. Gottlieb, Lita A. Guerra, Marvin L. Hackert, Von Matthew Hammond, Barbara J. Harlow, James L. Hill, Martha F. Hilley, Sharon D. Horner, Judith A. Jellison, Arlen W. Johnson, Sharon H. Justice, Manuel J. Justiz, Elizabeth L. Keating, Ward W. Keeler, Karrol A. Kitt, Robert C. Koons, Stefan M. Kostka, David A. Laude, Steven W. Leslie, Laura E. Luthy, Katheryn Coveley Maguire, David R. Maidment, Glenn Y. Masada, Gregory R. Murphy, Melvin E. L. Oakes, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Alba A. Ortiz, Bruce P. Palka, Theodore E. Pfeifer, William C. Powers, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Linda E. Reichl, Andrew M. Riggsby, Daron K. Roberts, David J. Saltman, Juan M. Sanchez, Robert N. Schmidt, Cynthia W. Shelmerdine, Joel F. Sherzer, Mark R. V. Southern, Michael P. Starbird, Laura T. Starks, Salomon A. Stavchansky, Paul Randall (Randy) Thompson, Janice S. Todd, N. Bruce Walker, John W. Walthall, James R. Yates, Katy B. Zarolia.

Absent: Anthony P. Ambler (excused), Efraim P. Armendariz, Neal E. Armstrong (excused), Joel W. Barlow, Phillip J. Barrish (excused), Harold W. Billings, Lynn E. Blais, Edwin Dorn, G. Charles Franklin, Robert Freeman, Thomas M. Hatfield, Kerry A. Kinney, Richard W. Lariviere, William S. Livingston, Margaret N. Maxey (excused), Robert G. May, Francis L. Miksa, Thomas G. Palaima, Elmira Popova, Johnnie D. Ray, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza (excused), Victoria Rodriguez, Dolores Sands, Roberta I. Shaffer, Lawrence W. Speck, Ben G. Streetman, Teresa A. Sullivan (excused), James W. Vick,2 Ellen A. Wartella, Barbara W. White.

Voting Members:
61
present,
13
absent,
74
total.
Non-Voting Members:
15
present,
17
absent,
32
total.
Total Members:
76
present,
30
absent,
106
total.


2Corrected "excused" absence on June 21, 2001.


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I.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.

There were no questions about the written report (D 762-778).

The secretary reported on continuing efforts to obtain completed memorial resolutions, and on progress being made to provide biographical sketches for deceased faculty where it had become impossible to get resolutions. He recognized Teresa Acosta, who was at the meeting and who had done a great deal of work over the summer in research and in the writing of biographical sketches.

II.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES.

A. The minutes of the Faculty Council special meeting of May 8, 2000 (D 647-648), were approved by voice vote.

B. The minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of May 8, 2000 (D 649-659), were approved by voice vote.

III.
COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT.

A. Comments by the President.

President Faulkner invited members to his State of the University Address, which was to be given the following day. (The text appeared in the October 3, 2000, issue of On Campus. Also, it will be appended to the minutes of the October 10 meeting of the General Faculty.)

Faulkner announced a fall enrollment of 50,010, compared to a hoped-for size of 48,000 in the future. He said it is essential to decrease the student/faculty ratio if the University is to preserve quality and have the ability to respond to change.

He hoped this could be done by both controlling enrollment and increasing the number of faculty. He urged members to give careful thought to the proposal to be presented as new business later in the meeting, which was aimed at giving the University better control of growth; he added that there was perhaps room for improvement in the proposal and he did not want to forestall serious debate. He also discussed a plan to increase the number of faculty by 300, or about 15 percent, over the next eight to ten years.

Faulkner praised the work done by Dana Cook, Randy Ebeling, Tom Edgar, and many others in the development of the new UT Direct project, which consolidates many of the University's computer services for students, faculty, and staff.

B. Questions to the President.

1. The Executive Committee of the Council had requested a progress report on the seven items approved by the Council and under review by the president (part D of section V of the secretary's report, D 777-778). Provost Ekland-Olson discussed six of the items, and expected to report on final action soon. (The action will be included in the secretary's report when it is received.)

The president said the remaining item, a recommendation for an annual survey on health care benefits and services, would be studied by Kyle Cavanaugh, recently appointed associate vice president for human resources. In response to a question from the floor by Gerard Béhague (music), Faulkner talked about recent changes in medical insurance and about the necessity for UT Austin to take a more active role in providing input to the UT System regarding insurance and other benefits.


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2. The Executive Committee of the Council also asked about the status of administrative reorganization. The president said he expected that new vice presidents for information technology and for public affairs would be chosen soon. He also expressed thanks to Vice Presidents Franklin and Clubb, "who have, between themselves, executed a wonderfully effective handoff of administrative oversight of a large fraction of the campus."

3. In response to a question from Barbara Harlow (English) about staff concerns and a recent staff "sickout," the president gave a review of steps he had taken and was continuing to take to alleviate compensation problems built up since the mid-'80s. He said the period leading up to the sickout was highly polemical, and he did not believe he could become engaged in that without adding to the polarization and ill feeling. He said he had instead concentrated on what could be done to correct the underlying problems.

Faulkner said that the raise program for staff for the current year had been the strongest in at least twelve years. That had been possible because of a one-time increase in available fund resources because of Proposition 17, together with a 12% increase in tuition and fees paid by students. He said future progress would be very difficult without help from the legislature.

He said Vice President Clubb and Associate Vice President Cavanaugh were working on a better forum for staff input, including an elected representative staff council. He also said that a revised grievance policy was being developed under the leadership of Tom Griffy (physics).



IV.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR.

Chair Patrick Davis (pharmacy) introduced the members of the executive committee and urged standing committees to complete their work in a timely fashion. He reported on agenda items for the UT System Faculty Advisory Council, and said questions about or for SYSFAC should be addressed to him or to Martha Hilley (music), UT Austin's representatives on the council.

V.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT – None.

VI.
SPECIAL ORDERS – None.

VII.
PETITIONS – None.

VIII.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS – None.

IX.
REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEES – None.

X.
NEW BUSINESS.

A. Proposal to Control Enrollment by Redefining the Provisional Admission Program ( D 793-796).

Provost Ekland-Olson introduced this proposal. He said that for many years applicants not regularly admitted to UT Austin have been able to earn admission by performing well in the summer provisional admission program. This university may be unique in offering such an option.


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Provost Ekland-Olson introduced this proposal. He said that for many years applicants not regularly admitted to UT Austin have been able to earn admission by performing well in the summer provisional admission program. This university may be unique in offering such an option.

At least four factors have led the administration to rethink provisional admission. First, fall enrollment reached 50,010 compared to a goal of 48,000. Second, 904 provisional students gained admission in 2000 compared to 470 in 1999. Third, the number of Texas high school graduates is expected to increase by ten percent over the next ten years. Finally, the number of well-qualified provisional applicants has increased due to a more selective regular admission process; the current provisional program does not seem well suited to these students.

Under the new proposal, admission would be three-tiered. Fall admission would continue as currently structured with a limit on the number of students admitted. A new summer enrollment plan would be offered to applicants who are not given regular fall admission but who are felt to be well qualified. The third group of applicants would be offered a redesigned provisional admission program. The redesigned program would be offered at UT Arlington over the fall and spring semesters, and a student completing an approved program of 30 credit hours with at least a 3.0 GPA would be accepted unconditionally at UT Austin.

UT Arlington, whose enrollment has decreased in recent years, supports the plan. Expanding it to include UT System universities other than UT Arlington is a possibility. A formal review would be conducted at the end of the third year.

Council members asked the provost a number of questions about the proposal (most of the answers came from the provost). Janice Todd (kinesiology and health education) asked if the students could stay at UT Arlington (yes); and if additional funding would be available for summer teaching (this, as well as a restructuring of the summer program, is under consideration).

John W. Walthall (student) pointed out that many students work during the summer before their freshman year, and asked if financial aid would be available to those in the second tier (yes); if the credit from UT Arlington would be UT Austin credit or transfer credit (probably the latter); if University housing would be a possibility for those coming from Arlington (it's being thought about); and how many students are expected to enter through transfer from Arlington in this way (we can't be sure).

Michael Starbird (mathematics) was concerned that those admitted for the summer might feel themselves second-class citizens (this is worthy of discussion); and asked why admission through UT Arlington would be provisional and not just transfer (because 3.0 from Arlington wouldn't guarantee admission by transfer).

Marvin Hackert (chemistry and biochemistry) pointed out that, because of the intensive nature of summer courses, students in the second tier would experience a more pressured introduction to the University (there is a hope that this can be alleviated by a restructuring of some summer courses). Hackert also asked if any thought had been given to increasing the enrollment target from 48,000 to 50,000, given that the University has many new buildings (if the number went up, the quality would go down); the secretary pointed out that the campus has lots of new buildings but few if any new classrooms.

Melvin Oakes (physics) thought that expecting acceptance from only 600 of the 1000 who are to be offered admission in the second tier is a bit of a "crapshoot" (the estimate may need to be adjusted after the first year).

Randall Thompson (student) wondered about the rigor of the courses at UT Arlington versus those at UT Austin (work is being done to make the acceptable courses comparable).

Matthew Hammond (student) asked if the change would affect out-of-state admissions (no).


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Cynthia Shelmerdine (classics) asked if there is any pedagogical benefit for students coming in the summer (only that they might be ahead of those coming in the fall).

Daniel Bonevac (philosophy) asked about giving second-tier students an option of coming in the summer or the following spring (the spring option would not help with the distribution of offerings for basic courses that the University hopes to achieve).

Council Chair Patrick Davis (pharmacy) wondered about the expected effect on total enrollment, and wondered about raising the standard from a GPA of 3.0 to 3.2 (it is felt there would not be a problem).

Salomon Stavchansky (pharmacy) wondered about the message this would send to UT Arlington students; he also wondered why there is a plan to continue the provisional program if the University wants to raise standards.

Bruce Palka (mathematics) did not understand the proposal's arithmetic, pointing out that if the estimates are correct then total enrollment would not go down (perhaps the estimates are wrong, or perhaps the rules would need to be changed).

The secretary thought that many students and parents from outside north central Texas would prefer a competitive transfer admission system to the proposed provisional system (UT Austin cannot completely abandon the idea of a provisional program). The secretary then asked if what's going on is political (there has been a lot of input from a lot of people).

Larry Carver (associate dean of liberal arts) said that the University is faced with a very serious enrollment problem, and that something must be done. The provisional program is a way for the University to give an option, without just saying "no," to students who are denied admission.

Chair Davis referred the proposal to the Admission and Registration Committee, which is to report on October 16.

XI.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS – None.

XII.
QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR – None.

XIII.
ADJOURNMENT.

The meeting adjourned at 4:05 P.M.





Distributed through the Faculty Council web site (www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/) on October 13, 2000. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.