DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
The minutes of the General Faculty meeting
of October 10, 2000, published below, are included in its documents
for the information of the members.
John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF
THE GENERAL FACULTY FOR 2000-2001
The regular meeting of the General Faculty
for the academic year 2000-2001 was held on Tuesday, October 10, 2000,
at 4:00 p.m. in Waggener Hall, Room 101. President Larry R. Faulkner
|APPROVAL OF MINUTES.
The minutes of the regular meeting of the General Faculty for 1999-2000,
held on October 12, 1999, were approved (D
|ANNUAL REPORT OF THE FACULTY COUNCIL John R. Durbin.
This report was published as D
|DISCUSSION OF ANNUAL REPORT None.
||COMMENTS BY AND QUESTIONS TO THE PRESIDENT.
President Faulkner said that he had given a formal address on the
state of the University at the convocation celebrating the institution's
117th birthday on September 19. The text of the September 19 speech
is attached (D 1452-1456).
The president began his informal remarks by announcing that, as
part of a yearlong celebration of the faculty, Nobel-prize winner
Steve Weinberg, professor of physics, would give the commencement
address in May.
Faulkner then said the University would take the first step in a
projected ten-year effort to add 300 new faculty positions by recruiting
for 30 new faculty members during the year. This increase would
be funded in part by a $10 per credit hour increase in student fees.
Student leaders had supported this increase because they understood
the importance of decreasing the University's student/faculty ratio,
which is significantly higher than that for the institutions with
which the University strives to compete. Faulkner also said the
University would continue to try to recruit a more diverse faculty;
he added that this was made more difficult by the production rate
of scholars in the targeted groups.
He gave an overview of budget prospects by discussing requests to
be made to the legislature, increased natural gas prices, hopes
for increased salaries for faculty, staff, and graduate assistants,
tuition increases, efforts to increase student course loads and
thereby decrease the average time for graduation, and hopes for
increased funding from national funding agencies. Some of the president's
remarks on the budget were made in response to a question from Thomas
Palaima (classics), which dealt, in particular, with possible implications
of attempts to expand the size of the faculty.
Faulkner said that in three years the University had been able to
reach seventy percent of the $1 billion goal for its capital campaign.
He said that in the remaining four years it would be important to
||concentrate on items that would make a significant
difference in the competitive position of the University.
|SPECIAL ORDERS None.
|UNFINISHED BUSINESS None.
|REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES AND
SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEES.
||Committee to Nominate a Candidate for
Secretary of the General Faculty.
On behalf of the committee, Professor Michael Starbird nominated
John R. Durbin (mathematics). The other members of the nominating
committee were Martha F. Hilley (music), chair, and Elizabeth
||Election of the Secretary of the General
There were no other nominations, and Professor Durbin was
elected secretary of the General Faculty for the year beginning
January 1, 2001, by acclamation.
|REMAINING QUESTIONS TO THE PRESIDENT None.
The meeting adjourned at 4:45 P.M.
This document was posted on the Faculty Council web page:
(www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/) on August 23, 2001. Paper copies
are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty and
Council, FAC 22, F9500.
UTexas@117 Academic Convocation
In my two previous addresses on the state
of The University, I have spoken about The University's condition within
the context of the challenges and opportunities facing Texas as a larger
society. This I shall continue to do, for The University cannot be
from the land of Texas, or from her people, or from her problems. The
University is a powerful engine for Texas and is one of the important
places where Texas meets her future. A proper purpose of an address
on the state of the University is to take stock of our recent progress
in the long viewin the context of how The University can best
serve Texas and her people.
One of my most important tasks as president is to inform and remind
the people of Texas, and the people who govern Texas, of just why Texas
needs a great university. In a complex and, at times, fragmented region
such as ours, the reason is not always obvious. But let us contemplate
a few simple questions:
- Should Texans have access to academic programs of
highest quality without leaving the state?
- Should business and government be able to draw upon
top-level expertise in software engineering or the protection of water
quality or the management of human resources here in Texas?
- Should Texas have its own major knowledge centers,
comparable with those of California or the East, with which to compete
in the new economy?
- Does Texas want the strongest possible connections
to centers worldwide where research is creating new knowledge that will
change the future?
- Should Texas be a part of national leadership in the
arts, in the media, in journalism, and in the world of ideas?
If Texas intends to succeed, the answer
to all of these questions must be, "Yes!"
On this occasion in 1998, I looked out upon what I described as "a
new Texasa Texas with scale and power that none but the most audacious
founder could have imagined." I asserted that our state was poised
to become an even greater force in our nation's technology, culture,
politics, and commerce. I stated that with abundant intellectual capital,
the future of our state would be limitless, and that the University
had a pivotal role in realizing the aspirations of Texas. What has happened
during those two years? Our state and our city have certainly moved
into the technological, political, and cultural foreground. But where
are wethe Universitytoday?
I am happy to report that on several fronts, we have made enormous progress
and that some of our goals are well within reach. The last 12 months
have been extremely productive. Today I can mention just a few of the
First, a few individual honors. This is a community of achievers and
we share a passion for excellence, so there are always people to brag
about and I enjoy doing that.
- This summer molecular biologist Alan Lambowitz and
colleagues published a compelling article describing a new technique
for disrupting individual genes and adding new genetic material to specific
strands of DNA. The work, which made headlines around the world, is
an important step in the development of gene therapy and the study of
diseases of the immune system.
- Last month a team led by UT astronomer William D. Cochran
announced the discovery of 10 previously unknown planets orbiting stars
beyond the sun. One of the bodies, approximately the size of Jupiter,
is a mere 10.5 light years from Earth, making it the closest planetary
companion to a star yet found.
- Sara Galvan, a 21-year-old senior in Plan II/Architecture
from Houston, was awarded a prestigious Truman Scholarship earlier this
year. Sara worked on reconstruction efforts in Bosnia this summer and
in 1999 she traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia, to study urban issues.
After graduation she will attend graduate school to pursue her interests
in law and historic preservation.
- Seven current UT students, eight former Longhorns,
and three coaches are now in Sydney, Australia, competing for the United
States in the Summer Olympic Games in volleyball, swimming, diving,
and track and field events. The total Longhorn medal count thus far
is one gold and five silver medalsall in swimming events. We
congratulate the winners and wish every success to those yet to compete.
are representing the Olympic teams from Canada, Jamaica, and Russia.
- Last fall we opened the observation deck of the UT
Tower, and for a year now people from all over Texas and the world have
been savoring an unrivaled view of our campus and our capital city.
- And last year, Martin Luther King, III, came to the
campus to help us dedicate the Martin Luther King, Jr. statue on the
East Mall, a magnificent student-financed memorial to the life and work
of the late civil rights leader.
I am proud of these and countless other achievements by
members of the UT family.
A CELEBRATION OF THE FACULTY
Today's symposium, immediately following, marks the beginning of a year-long
celebration of the faculty. The faculty is the foundation of this scholarly
community, providing the intellectual leadership that shapes and distinguishes
the academic enterprise.
This year we have begun the critical process of increasing the size of
the facultyto reduce the student-faculty ratio and enhance the
learning experience at UT, to strengthen our ability to perform in our
including research, and to gain much needed capacity to experiment in
a world with new tools and new opportunities. As a result of Proposition
17, which was passed by Texas voters last November, we received an extraordinary
one-time increase of $17 million in recurring payments from the Permanent
University Fund. In a remarkable cooperative effort between students
campus officers, this money was leveraged with an increase in student
fees to fund the first step in expanding the faculty. We also funded
library and information technology services. Our goal is to lower the
student-faculty ratio toward the range of our peers by recruiting 300
new professors within the next 10 years. Thirty new faculty members will
be recruited this year beyond those who will be hired to offset normal
turnover. In addition, undergraduate grants were increased by $3 million
to ease the burden of higher fees for our most needy students.
I believe that expanding the faculty is critical to our success. As we
proceed, however, we must make a conscious effort to build a faculty reflecting
the diverse population of our students. We have made a good deal of progress
during the past several years, but we must do better still. It is critical
to a university serving a state like ours with a future like ours. I charge
all members of the academy to assign this a high priority.
Since my very first day in office, I have devoted a large portion of time
and resources to addressing the needs of the UT staff. We must continue
to focus on three major goals:
- Increasing salaries
- Improving opportunities for training and career development
- Expanding the voice of staff members in decision-making
I know that an array of issues has been raised by various
staff groups, but I think we can help the greatest number of staff members,
and deal with many of the ancillary concerns, by working on these three
I am proud of the progress we have made on staff compensation. Our compensation
pool for classified staff has increased a total of more than 12 percent
for the 1999-2000 and the 2000-2001 fiscal years. The custodial staff
has received average raises of more than 15 percent during
the same period. Those are average figuresnot across-the-board raisesbut
they are the most accurate way to quantify these increases.
We also have implemented an educational benefit for all full-time employees.
Staff may now enroll in one academic class per semester at no cost. Classes
in English as a second language and high school equivalency exam preparation,
previously available to employees in certain departments, will be available
to all staff. We want our staff to have access to educational and career
advancement at UT. In addition, we have created a Staff Leadership Development
Forum to develop the leadership skills of staff members from around the
campus. After a nomination process this fall, the first forum will get
under way in January of 2001.
The Staff Advisory Council, an elective body that will represent the interests
of all staff, is being established this fall with elections scheduled
later in this academic year. A year ago, I instructed the deans, executive
officers, and department heads to include staff members consistently in
their appointed committees. We need to take advantage of the vast body
of expertise, experience, and creativity represented by the staff when
shaping institutional policy and making decisions on this campus.
One of my favorite recent examples of staff ingenuity and resourcefulness
is the development of UT Direct, a personalized web page for each student
and prospective student that brings together all web-based interactions
with the University. Each student's own information regarding admissions,
enrollment, fees, financial aid, library activity, and much more is now
available on UT Direct. This initiative was the product of our staff,
working together across many, many departmental lines. They proposed the
job in November, mapped it out in January, and had it up and running in
August. UT Direct is a splendid example of staff members making a difference
in the life of the University. My hat is off to them.
MAJOR TASKS FOR 2000-2001
Today, I propose an initiative that can have a profound impact on
the University and on the lives of our students. Over the next year, we
need to make a concerted effort to encourage students to raise the average
course load by two credit hours per semester, from the current average
of 12.7 credit hours toward 15 hours. Why do I suggest this?
First, the cost to students of remaining in school longer than four years
is extremely high. For the typical graduate, the lost income alone for
each year beyond a fourth year of study amounts to from $25,000 to $50,000.
One year of this is as great as the total cost of a four-year education
for a Texas resident at UT. Moreover, there are extra costs for tuition
and fees, and many students acquire additional debt in the fifth and sixth
years, to drive those figures still higher. UT's four-year graduation
rate is only half to two-thirds of the rate at other leading American
flagship campuses, which tells us that not all universities share this
problem. The University of Virginia graduates 80 percent in four years.
If we can encourage undergraduates to raise their average course load
by approximately two hours per semester, dramatic improvements in our
overall performance could be attained. These include:
- Elevating the four-year graduation rate into the competitive
range for peer institutions.
- Improving our contribution of new graduates to the
Texas economy and society by a significant margin.
- Providing space for as many as 1,000 additional freshmen
- Generating enough new funding to expand the faculty
to accommodate the additional instruction while lowering the student-faculty
- Helping to support improved compensation for faculty
I believe that the current pricing system for higher education
in Texas, in which tuition and fees are charges by the semester hour,
discourages students from taking a full academic load and graduating on
schedule. Consequently, I have supported a flexible tuition proposal that
would allow tuition rates to be set by each institution's own governing
board. We expect the plan to be considered by the Legislature during the
next session. If approved, I would recommend to the Regents that we set
a fixed tuition rate for 12 or more semester hours, providing an incentive
for students to take a larger course load. Thus a student enrolled in
16 hours would pay a proportionately lower tuition per semester credit
than the student taking only 12 hours.
- We are calling this overall effort "4 for Texas."
Some of you may remember a 1963 Western of the same name starring Frank
Sinatra and Dean Martin. I'm afraid you will have to settle for a less
entertaining pair„Larry Faulkner and Sheldon Ekland-Olson. I do hope
that the students and faculty will embrace the concept, and that 4
Texas will result in a more effective university and lower overall
educational costs for our graduates and their parents.
- Preparing for the 2001 Legislative Session is another
important item on the agenda. The University will be focusing not only
on tuition reform, but also on increasing our allocation of indirect
research costs generated by our faculty's research activity, as well
as increased state support through formula funding. Students and parents
helped enormously this year to support improved compensation and expansion
of the faculty. We hope the Legislature will recognize the powerful
statement made by their commitment and will help us to extend progress
in these critical areas.
- In budget planning for 2001-2002, I am placing the
highest priority on a program of Compensation Improvement of 5 percent
or better. Reaching that target is critical to our being able to attract
and hold the talent needed among faculty, staff, and graduate assistants
to support the role that this university must fill for the people of
Texas. Legislative help will be important.
- Last year, I said that we needed to make 1999-2000
a "centerpiece year" for the We're Texas Campaign. It was
indeed. At the close of the third year of this seven-year campaign„last
August 31-- the total of contributions and commitments was about $690
million. In the last year alone, we raised over $250 million. These
are record-setting numbers for UT and they show the commitment of our
supporters for a university that aspires to lead. The last few years
of the campaign, during which we expect to reach and to exceed our
billion goal, provide a chance to take another critical step toward
making UT even greater.
There are many wonderful individual stories that have
come out of the campaign. Two remind us of the impact that private
gifts can have on the quality of our programs. The newly opened Applied
Computational and Engineering Sciences Building, given in completed
form as a gift from the O'Donnell Foundation of Dallas, is an outstanding
example of the ability of the Campaign to dramatically improve educational
and research opportunities here. The building offers faculty and students
state-of-the-art facilities in emerging and rapidly evolving areas
of computer science and engineering. The magnificent gift of Red and
Charline McCombs will enable UT to take a dramatically stronger position
of leadership in business education and research. It will be used,
above all, to allow UT to recruit and to develop talent of the highest
order in its faculty. There is no surer path to leadership.
- A major review of our admissions policies is being
conducted in light of the current intense demand. Some changes must
be made in our practices to allow us to regain control over the population
of the campus, already the largest in America. We intend to propose
to the Regents new summer admissions procedures as well as cooperative
agreements with other UT System institutions.
- Last year steering committees were established to pursue
our themes on quality, improving the undergraduate experience, public
education, Latin America, the new Texas economy, and building a greater
sense of ownership by the people of Texas. Our goal was to complete
two-thirds of the action items that the committees identified to strengthen
the University in these key areas. We succeeded.
For example, one action item was to open a Dallas
Admissions Center. The Center, which opened last spring, has greatly
enhanced our recruitment in an important region. Our Dallas staff
has already made hundreds of visits to area high schools and contacted
thousands of prospective students. The Center, which also conducts
one-on-one admissions and financial aid counseling, complements our
Houston Admissions Center.
Another action item was to develop cooperative programs with Latin
American universities. Earlier this month, I traveled to Brazil to
sign an agreement with the Brazilian Ministry of Education to
establish undergraduate, graduate, and faculty exchange
programs with select universities there. UT will gain a chair in Brazilian
studies and form research teams with Brazilian institutions in earth
science, technology, social sciences, and environmental science. This
agreement recognizes the breadth of UT teaching and research activities
related to Brazil and will build on our current preeminence in Latin
This year the steering committees will reconvene to review progress
and to set new goals.
- Finally, we will complete the administrative reorganization
begun last year. As you know, Pat Clubb was named Vice President for
Employee and Campus Services, and national searches are almost completed
for the new positions of Vice President for Information Technology and
Vice President for Public Affairs. I have been extremely pleased with
the smoothness with which the reorganization has proceeded, and I express
my appreciation to all who have had a part. When we are fully staffed
and all of the pieces are in their intended places next spring, UT will
be much better positioned to handle the enormous range of business that
it must handle to excel as it should.
We are in the middle years of a long journey to an era
of greater excellence for The University. In 1828, the Mexican official
Jose Maria Sanchez was sent on a fact-finding mission to Texas. Midway
across our state, his entourage encountered sickness, heat, thirst, hunger,
flooded trails, andas UT Professor Robin W. Doughty writes„"omnipresent,
hellish insects. But suddenly, toward the end of his trek, Sanchez entered
a clearing and immediately his spirits soared." As Sanchez observed,
"There is nothing that affords the traveler in these solitary regions
greater joy than the sight of a plain after coming out of the long, endless
Every day, in a hundred different ways, we make progress on our trek together.
Let us not forget to savor that progress; and on good days, to let our
spirits soar. For ours is a noble cause. I extend my gratitude to every
member of the UT family for your part in another year's progress in the
life of this great institution. Thank you so much.