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Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of November 19, 2001.


John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty


November 19, 2001

The second regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 2001-2002 was held in Room 212 of the Main Building on Monday, November 19, 2001, at 2:15 P.M.


Present: Mark I. Alpert, Katherine M. Arens, Matthew J. Bailey, Joyce L. Banks, David G. Bogard, Dean A. Bredeson, Joanna M. Brooks, Kathryn E. Brown, Michael J. Churgin, Richard L. Cleary, Donald G. Davis, Patrick J. Davis, Lesley A. Dean-Jones, Thomas W. Dison, Minette E. Drumwright, John R. Durbin, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Larry R. Faulkner, Alan W. Friedman, Omer R. Galle, Nell H. Gottlieb, Michael H. Granof, Lita A. Guerra, Marvin L. Hackert, James L. Hill, Sharon D. Horner, Ward W. Keeler, Martin W. Kevorkian, Karrol A. Kitt, David R. Kracman, David A. Laude, Glenn Y. Masada, Francis L. Miksa, Melvin E. L. Oakes, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Bruce P. Palka, Esther L. Raizen, Linda E. Reichl, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, Cynthia W. Shelmerdine, Janet Staiger, Michael P. Starbird, Daniel A. Updegrove, Frances Elizabeth Valdez, James W. Vick, N. Bruce Walker, James R. Yates.

Absent: Anthony P. Ambler (excused),1 Efraim P. Armendariz, Neal E. Armstrong (excused),2 Victor L. Arnold, Brigitte L. Bauer (excused), Gerard H. Béhague (excused), Harold W. Billings, Douglas G. Biow, Lynn E. Blais, Daniel A. Bonevac, Cindy I. Carlson (excused),3 Dana L. Cloud (excused), Patricia L. Clubb, John D. Dollard, Edwin Dorn, John D. Downing (excused), Robert Freeman, Dorie J. Gilbert, John C. (Jack) Gilbert (excused), Donald A. Hale (excused),4 Von Matthew (Matt) Hammond, Barbara J. Harlow, Thomas M. Hatfield, Julie R. Irwin (excused), Judith A. Jellison (excused), Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Robert C. Koons, Stefan M. Kostka (excused), Richard W. Lariviere, Steven W. Leslie, William S. Livingston, David R. Maidment, Robert G. May, Melissa L. Olive, Alba A. Ortiz, Thomas G. Palaima (excused), David M. Parichy, Theodore E. Pfeifer, Elmira Popova, William C. Powers, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Johnnie D. Ray, Kevin Robnett, Victoria Rodriguez, David J. Saltman (excused), Juan M. Sanchez, Dolores Sands, Mark R. V. Southern (excused), Salomon A. Stavchansky (excused), Frederick R. Steiner, Ben G. Streetman, Teresa A. Sullivan, Janice S. Todd, Jarrad Allen Toussant, Ellen A. Wartella, Mary F. Wheeler, Barbara W. White, Michael P. Young.

Voting Members:
Non-Voting Members:
Total Members:

1 Correction made on December 17, 2001, to reflect excused absence.
2 Correction made on December 17, 2001, to reflect excused absence.
3 Correction made on April 3, 2002, to reflect excused absence.
4 Correction made on April 22, 2002, to reflect excused absence.



There were no questions about the written report (D 1527-1530). The secretary reminded members that Council approval of proposed changes to The Undergraduate Catalog was the responsibility of the Council, and not the Council's committee charged with reviewing the changes. Before agreeing to changes by taking no action under the no-protest procedure, members should ensure that they approve of the changes or do not have serious questions about them.


A. The minutes of the Faculty Council meeting of October 15, 2001, were approved by voice vote (D 1519-1526).


A. Comments by the President — None.

B. Questions to the President.

1. What is the policy for schools and colleges faced with all undergraduate admission openings being filled by top ten percent high school graduates? Are any schools or colleges other than business and communication close to this condition? From the Executive Committee of the Faculty Council.

President Faulkner referred members to a report from Director of Admissions Bruce Walker, Report to the Faculty Council on the Admission of Top 10% Students, which is attached as Appendix A. The president said that whether a school or college admits all top ten percent applicants is determined not by the school or college itself, but by the administration. The University is required under Texas law to admit certain students to the campus, but it is not required to admit them to their curriculum of choice. For years some students have not been admitted to their curriculum of choice because some programs require portfolios or auditions, and some programs cannot handle all applicants because of limited faculty and facilities.

Michael Churgin (law) asked if the Personal Achievement Index (PAI) satisfied the provision of the legislature when a standardized test is used as part of the process. Admissions Director Walker said the answer is yes. (The report in Appendix A mentions that both the PAI and the Academic Index are used.)

James Yates (special education) said he was concerned that some students might end up with a major they did not wanted to pursue or one they felt they could not pursue. He was also concerned that some programs would come to appear more elite than others. Finally, he was concerned that State Representative Irma Rangel would feel the current policy was not the intent of the law.

President Faulkner said that regarding the first two concerns of Professor Yates, the University simply had to face the fact that some programs, as well as the University itself, did not have the resources to accommodate all those who wanted to enter. Regarding the third concern, the president said that the administration had been "in full communication with Representative Rangel."

Mark Alpert (marketing) pointed out that at some institutions, even public universities (such as Cornell), students must apply to a particular program for admission, and if they are not admitted to that program then they are not admitted to the university.

2. What is the policy of The University of Texas concerning faculty, staff or students who are members of the Reserves or the National Guard of the United States and who are called up for active duty? From Robert C. Koons (philosophy).


  This question was addressed by Patricia Ohlendorf, vice president for institutional relations and legal affairs. She said that, by state law, students are given the right to withdraw from all classes and have a full refund at any time during the semester. They also have two other choices, both of which are written in the catalog. One is to take an incomplete, if the faculty member agrees, and not take a refund, and then finish the course when he or she returns. Or, if the faculty member feels that the student has mastered enough of the course to have a grade assigned, that can be done; that would be in a rare circumstance toward the end of the semester. In terms of housing, federal law provides that anyone who is called to active duty can legally break a lease with thirty days notice. It also provides that if someone is in married student housing, dependents of that person can continue to live in married student housing even though the student himself or herself is no longer on campus. We are required to allow the person to return after the active service is over and continue in a course of study.

Financial aid for each student would be worked out by the financial aid office. If a student is called to active duty while in a loan deferral period, the period served on active duty would be added to the period of deferral.

The section on military leave is in the Handbook of Operating Procedures (Part 7 covers faculty and staff. Human Resources, Section F. Leave Policies, Policy Number: 7.F.9).


Chair Bruce Palka (mathematics) reported first on the October 26-27 meeting of the Texas Council of Faculty Senates. He said a topic not on the agenda but of considerable interest was House Bill 1641, which imposes certain restrictions on the uses of standardized tests for admission and financial aid, as well as graduate and professional programs. He said the faculty would hear more about this in the future.

The three main topics on the agenda were post-tenure review, formula funding, and assessment of the effectiveness of faculty governance (a project of the AAUP). He said a common complaint about post-tenure review around the state was that faculty members were not given a report of their review unless it involved something negative. He said the University should ensure that was not the case on our campus.

Chair Palka then discussed legislation concerning letter grades and credit by examination. (See D 77-81.) He first summarized some of the history of the legislation, and the quoted parts of a letter of October 12, 2001, from President Faulkner (reproduced in Appendix B.) The letter asked for a reaction from the Executive Committee of the Faculty Council, and the chair said the Executive Committee applauded the second proposal mentioned in the letter but believed the first proposal fell short of Faculty Council recommendations. He said the Executive Committee preferred that the Faculty Council's recommendation be implemented. He said further that the Executive Committee recommended that in place of the ad hoc committee mentioned in the letter, the issue should be sent to the Educational Policy Committee, supplemented for this purpose with others having expertise on assessment, and measurement and evaluation.

Michael Starbird (mathematics) said that he hoped the University would evolve toward what the original legislation was — namely saying that there is something special about the UT Austin experience per se, and that that is what the University grade point average should measure.

Professor Starbird also said he thought that the actual forces and influences that are governing the decision are not being actually discussed publicly. Namely, the decision was at least partly influenced by the question of Hispanic students and how we attract them and make them successful at the University. He said the best thing to do would be to reemphasize the programs contributing to


recruitment and retention, and to not try to hide any inadequacies by something artificial, such as the current policy on gpa's.










The meeting adjourned at 2:58 P.M.

Distributed through the Faculty Council web site ( on November 29, 2001. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.



Report to the Faculty Council on the Admission of Top 10% Students


It has been a long-standing practice of the University of Texas to admit new freshmen directly into the major for which they qualify. Upon applying to the University students select a first and second choice major, with Liberal Arts Undeclared as the default pool in which Texas residents compete should they not qualify for admission to their first or second choices.

With the passage of HB 588 in 1997 (which guarantees admission to any public general teaching institution to students who graduate from an accredited Texas high school and whose GPA places them in the top 10% of their class), the University made the decision to allow top 10% students to automatically qualify for their first choice major. There are two exceptions: no guarantee to Architecture where faculty review is required for admission and no guarantee to majors within the College of Fine Arts where auditions are required.

During the admission process for the fall 1999 freshman class, the number of top10% students applying to the College of Business equaled 103% of the available spaces. In order to accommodate at least some strong residents and non-residents who were not in the top 10%, the College of Business opened additional spaces reducing top 10% students to 96% of the total. Though top 10% students in the College of Business had demonstrated strong performance, the College felt that automatic admission was closing out possibilities for very strong non-residents, students from non-ranking schools, and students with slightly lower class ranks but very high SAT scores.

In July of 1999, Provost Eckland-Olson appointed a task force, which I chaired, to consider policy changes regarding automatic admission of top 10% students. In addition to myself, members of the task force were Urton Anderson - College of Business, Larry Carver - Liberal Arts, Kathy Fagan ÆAdmissions, David Laude - Natural Science, Darrell Rocha - Communications, and Steve Monti and Gerald Torres from the ProvostÍs Office.

The task force report was discussed with and approved by the Admission and Registration Committee of the Faculty Council and sent to the Provost in May of 2000. The report was accepted and adopted as policy. The Task Force recommended that the University continue to guarantee automatic admission to top 10% students to their first choice major but with some modifications. Those modifications were the following;

(1) When any College or major reaches the point where 80% of the available spaces are being filled by students who qualify through HB 588, the College or major may elect to restrict automatic admission of top 10% students.
(2) If the College or major decides to restrict automatic admission, then the following policy will be put into place.

The Dean, in consultation with the Provost, will determine the exact number of new freshmen that can be admitted for the year in question. Seventy-five percent of this number will be automatically admitted under HB 588. Students with the highest percentile ranks will be admitted first until the spaces are filled or until all top 10% students have been accommodated. The College or major will fill the remaining 25% of the spaces using both the Academic Index and Personal Achievement Index as normally used by the Office of Admissions when making admission decisions.

The policy provides both a limit on the number to be automatically admitted and a process for deciding which top 10% students will be admitted.

This policy was put into place for the College of Business for the class entering in fall, 2001. Through data modeling it was determined that students in the top 5% would likely fill the spaces available for automatic admission. This turned out to be true.

The College of Communications reached the trigger point during the application process for the fall of 2001 and has now decided to invoke the limitations for the fall 2002 entering freshman class. Through data modeling it has been determined that the top 6% will likely fill the available spaces for automatic admission and we are proceeding on that assumption.


From the questions we have received about the policy it is apparent that a couple of things need clarification. First, what happens to those top 10% students who are not admitted automaticallyƒthe next 4-5%? They are placed in the pool to compete for the remaining 25% of the spaces. This results in additional, but not all, top 10% students being admitted. Second, what happens with those top 10% students who are still not admitted to their first choice? Top 10% students who are not admitted to their first choice are automatically admitted to their second unless it is restricted in the same way. Eventually, all top 10% students are admitted. Finally, does this mean that some top 10% students who should be getting automatic admission have to wait until the very end of the admission process before they get admitted? In order to keep top 10% students in Fine Arts, Architecture, Business and Communication fully informed, we send them a letter soon after we have received their application stating that they are assured admission to the University, the only decision remaining is what major they will be admitted into.

The process has seemed to work well in its first year in the College of Business and we will continue to work with them to monitor the results. We will work closely with the College of Communications in their first year of implementation.

Respectfully submitted November 19, 2001

Bruce Walker
Associate Vice President- Student Affairs
Director of Admissions



October 12, 2001

Dr. John R. Durbin,
Secretary, The General Faculty
Office of the General Faculty
FAC 22 (F9500)

Dear John:

I write in response to the proposed "Changes in Policies Concerning Grades Awarded with Credit by Examination" (Documents of the General Faculty, D 77-81). The proposal included two recommendations:

1. That The University of Texas at Austin continue to award credit by examination either with letter grades or with the symbol CR ["Credit"] but that letter grades for credit by examination not be counted in a student's UT Austin grade point average.

2. That the catalog and other official publications of UT Austin be amended to reflect this change in policies.

A close reading of our current credit by examination policies, as well as the proposal, raises several concerns.

In supporting the removal of letter grades earned in credit by examination from the UT Austin grade-point average, the proposal itself comments that credit by examination does not reflect a student's performance in coursework at UT Austin. Beyond that issue is a question about inconsistency between the way in which a final grade is normally determined in coursework at UT Austin and the way in which the grade is determined in credit by examination. In coursework, the final grade is almost always the result of multiple factors (tests, papers, attendance, participation, etc.). In credit by examination, the grade is the result of a single test.

These and other issues still need to be considered as regards the granting of credit by examination. I am asking the Executive Vice President and Provost to appoint a special committee to address the issues and prepare a report. I will hold the current proposal (Documents of the General Faculty, D 77-8 1), pending the report of that committee.

There is, however, an inequity in our current policies that I believe must be addressed now. For the final grade in coursework at UT Austin, the student must choose between a letter grade or "Credit" (for pass/fail) by the mid-semester drop deadline, i.e., well before the final grade is determined. For credit by examination, however, the student is permitted to delay the choice of letter grade or "Credit" for an indefinite period until he or she knows the grade and knows how that grade might affect the grade-point average.

To eliminate this inequity, I am considering the following changes in policy:

1. Beginning September 1, 2002, a student attempting credit by examination through a University of Texas at Austin test will be required to make the choice of letter grade or "Credit" prior to taking the examination (i.e., where that choice has been made available by the department offering the examination).

2. This policy alone would give an advantage to a student earning credit by examination off campus when that student retained the choice of letter grade or "Credit" until after the examination was completed. Therefore, beginning September 1, 2002, the University will accept credit by examination earned off campus as CR ["Credit"] only.

Before proceeding to implementation, I would like to know the thoughts of the Faculty Council Executive Committee about these changes.

Sincerely yours,


Larry R. Faulkner President

cc: Executive Vice President and Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson
Dr. Bruce P. Palka, Chair of the Faculty Council