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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of December 10, 2001.


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John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty


MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF

December 10, 2001

The third regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 2001-2002 was held in Room 212 of the Main Building on Monday, December 10, 2001, at 2:15 P.M.

ATTENDANCE.

Present: Anthony P. Ambler, Katherine M. Arens, Neal E. Armstrong, Matthew J. Bailey, Gerard H. Béhague, Douglas G. Biow, Joanna M. Brooks, Donald G. Davis, Patrick J. Davis, Thomas W. Dison, John D. Dollard, John D. Downing, Minette E. Drumwright, John R. Durbin, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Larry R. Faulkner, Alan W. Friedman, Omer R. Galle, John C. (Jack) Gilbert, Nell H. Gottleib, Michael H. Granof, Lita A. Guerra, Barbara J. Harlow, James L. Hill, Martin W. Kevorkian, Robert C. Koons, David A. Laude, Steven W. Leslie, William S. Livingston, Francis L. Miksa, Melissa L. Olive, Bruce P. Palka, Esther L. Raizen, Linda E. Reichl, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, Victoria Rodriguez, Mark R. V. Southern, Janet Staiger, Michael P. Starbird, Salomon A. Stavchansky, Teresa A. Sullivan, Janice S. Todd, Daniel A. Updegrove, James W. Vick.

Absent: Mark I. Alpert (excused), Efraim P. Armendariz, Victor L. Arnold (excused), Joyce L. Banks (excused), Brigitte L. Bauer, Glen S. Baum, Harold W. Billings, Lynn E. Blais, David G. Bogard, Daniel A. Bonevac, Dean A. Bredeson (excused), Kathryn E. Brown, Cindy I. Carlson, Michael J. Churgin (excused), Richard L. Cleary, Dana L. Cloud (excused), Patricia L. Clubb, Lesley A. Dean-Jones, Edwin Dorn, Robert Freeman, Dorie J. Gilbert (excused), Marvin L. Hackert (excused), Donald A. Hale (excused),* Von Matthew (Matt) Hammond, Thomas M. Hatfield, Kevin P. Hegarty (excused), Sharon D. Horner, Julie R. Irwin, Judith A. Jellison, Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Ward W. Keeler, Karrol A. Kitt, Stefan M. Kostka (excused), David R. Kracman, Richard W. Lariviere, David R. Maidment, Glenn Y. Masada (excused), Robert G. May, Melvin E. L. Oakes, Patricia C. Ohlendorf (excused), Alba A. Ortiz (excused), Thomas G. Palaima (excused), David M. Parichy, Theodore E. Pfeifer, Elmira Popova, William C. Powers, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Johnnie D. Ray, Kevin Robnett, David J. Saltman, Juan M. Sanchez, Dolores Sands, Cynthia W. Shelmerdine, Frederick R. Steiner, Ben G. Streetman, Jarrad Allen Toussant, Frances Elizabeth Valdez, Phyllis Boyd Waelder, N. Bruce Walker, Ellen A. Wartella, Mary F. Wheeler, Barbara W. White, James R. Yates (excused), Michael P. Young.



Voting Members:
34
present,
40
absent,
74
total.
Non-Voting Members:
10
present,
25
absent,
35
total.
Total Members:
44
present,
65
absent,
109
total.


*Correction made on April 22, 2002, to reflect excused absence.

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I.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.

There were no questions about the written report (D 1566-1569). The secretary called attention to the item on the Policy on Teaching Continuity and Restructured Faculty Workload upon the Birth or Adoption of a Child, which had been disapproved by the Office of the General Counsel of The University of Texas System (D 1566). The secretary said he assumed the Council would hear more about the item at a later meeting.

The secretary introduced Courtney Myers, a graduating senior who had been working in the Office of the General Faculty for one-and-one-half years, and Carolina Freire, a student who had just begun work in the office.

II.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES.

A. The minutes of the Faculty Council meeting of November 19, 2001, were approved by voice vote (D 1559-1565).

III.
COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT.

A. Comments by the President.

President Faulkner thanked members for the service they had given during the difficult time after the events of September 11.

He then alerted members to budget problems for the University. He said the administration was currently looking at the next budget cycle, 2002-2003, and beyond that to include five years in the future. He said some very difficult decisions would have to be made affecting capital requirements, repair and renovations, program support, faculty recruitment, and the hoped-for expansion of the faculty to reduce the student/faculty ratio. It is important for the University to try to maintain its momentum, but it will not be easy, he said. He expected to have a budget message shortly after the first of the year.

B. Questions to the President.

1. Professor Gerard Béhague (music) had submitted two questions about on-campus parking. The first was whether there was real justification for extending F and A parking permit times from 4:00 to 5:45, which had been done in September. The second had to do with parking near Gregory Gym and Belmont Hall, in lots used by those involved in recreational sports.

The questions were addressed by Bob Harkins, director of Parking and Transportation Services. Mr. Harkins said the changes in parking permit times had been made after deliberations by the Parking and Traffic Policies Committee, and consultation with students, faculty, and administrators. He said that most of the responses about the changes had been favorable, and that some adjustments had been made to accommodate those involved in recreational sports. Professor Béhague argued that more changes were needed, and questioned especially the policy regarding parking under Bellmont Hall. Mr. Harkins invited further input about the policies from Professor Béhague or others.

2. Professor Béhague also submitted a question concerning the legislatively mandated four percent merit pool increase for faculty and staff. He was particularly concerned that in his own college, fine arts, faculty holding endowed professorships and chairs were singled out by taking up to two percent of the raise amount for individual faculty members from their endowed accounts. Provost Ekland-Olson and the president pointed out that some schools and colleges, especially small ones, simply could not cover the overall costs of raises from other sources; the legislature had provided only half of the money needed to cover the raises it had mandated. The endowed money was a permanent source of funds, and both the president and the provost thought that covering part of the raise for an individual from that


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  individual's endowed position was reasonable and equitable, especially given the circumstances.

IV.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR.

Chair Bruce Palka (mathematics) announced that President Faulkner would give a two-hour presentation of his vision for the University in 2015 (UT@2015) at 2:00 on January 25 in the Avaya Auditorium of the ACE Building. [The time was later changed to 2:15.]

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. Presentation concerning the status of assessment and accountability procedures.

This presentation was made by Ray Rodrigues, formerly provost and vice president for academic affairs at UT Brownsville, and currently on assignment as a special assistant to the UT system executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

More than a year ago, Regent Charles Miller proposed that measures of accountability and assessment be instituted at the academic institutions of the UT System. It was first believed that this could result in a system of standardized tests, which would have to be satisfactorily completed for graduation. However, the system that has evolved is more flexible than that, and Dr. Rodrigues reported on the background and current plans.

Dr. Rodrigues said the main goals were to assess student learning and to hold ourselves accountable to our constituencies „ our students, their parents, and the legislature. He said this had been a trend around the nation, and that some states mandate standardized tests. The UT System's position now is that assessment works best when it is devised by the faculty rather than imposed with a standardized test from the outside. Decisions by the legislature, the Coordinating Board, or the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (our accrediting agency) could lead to something different in the future.

The initial phase is focused on writing, mathematics, and critical thinking. These are to be dealt with in that order, with an assessment of the writing of students prior to graduation beginning in 2004. [Plans for the assessment of writing at UT Austin are covered in the next item of business.] Currently, "critical thinking" has not been defined in this context.

For current information on UT System assessment plans, Dr. Rodrigues referred members to http://ntmain.utb.edu/assessment/.

Professor Michael Granoff (accounting) asked about the costs and benefits of the proposed plans for assessment. Dr. Rodrigues said there would be some monetary costs, but he thought the main cost would be faculty time. He said he felt very positive about assessment, and he thought
 

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  the main benefit would be that faculty members would find out about what their students were learning.

Professor Matthew Bailey (Spanish and Portuguese) asked how it was decided that mathematics would be one of the areas to assess, and how faculty in the different departments of the University would be involved. Dr. Rodrigues said it was believed that writing and mathematics were the "most universal areas that everybody seems to need to be able to succeed in college." He indicated that there would have to be broad discussion about how to assess critical thinking.

Professor Linda Reichl (physics) asked if there would be an attempt to assess the level of the students as they enter the University. She said that often we have less than well-prepared students because of the state's education system, and thus there is the question of the increment of improvement once they arrive. Dr. Rodrigues understood the problem and thought it was important that it be considered. For now, it is being left to the individual institutions.

B.
Presentation concerning specifics of the UT Austin writing component assessment.

Linda Ferreira-Buckley, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, explained UT Austin's plans for the assessment of writing, as part of the UT System's assessment plans as discussed by Dr. Rodrigues. She said that Provost Ekland-Olson had made clear that we wanted something that would not change the nature of the basic writing course and that would leave the faculty in control of the assessment.

Professor Ferreira-Buckley said the assessment would be based on the last writing assignment for English 306, which is a course in academic argument based in classical rhetoric. The assignment is done out of class. It would be graded as part of the course, and a separate copy would be evaluated independently as part of the writing assessment. This answered a question from Professor John Dollard (mathematics). She said she believed the assessment process would be useful for convincing students, regents, and others of the value of the course.

Professor Robert Koons (philosophy) asked if writing done in other courses, particularly substantial writing courses, would be part of the assessment process, and the answer was that it would not be part of the process.

Professor Salomon Stavchansky (pharmacy) said that to properly assess a course it would be best to have baseline data indicating the writing skills of those who enter the course. Professor Ferreira-Buckley said the consultants on writing assessment had said that a lot could be determined about the success of a course without that. She also said it is possible that the first writing assignments of students in a course could be used for that purpose in the future, should it be desired.

Professor Melissa Olive (special education) asked how students with disabilities would be accommodated in the process, and she also asked about the reliability and validity of the assessment. The answer to the first question was that students with disabilities would be able to do their essays in the same way as other essays in the course, and the answer to the second question was that writing research showed that writing assessment of the type planned had good reliability and validity.

Professor Bailey was concerned that the assessment would deal only with the type of writing done in English 306, and not with the other kinds of writing students do throughout their careers at the University. The answer was that further assessment could be very time-consuming and expensive, and that while it might be a good idea in a perfect world, there could be serious problems in trying to carry it out.

Professor Koons suggested that it would be desirable to have a uniform assessment process across all UT System academic institutions. Professor Ferreira-Buckley was opposed to that idea,


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believing strongly in campus autonomy. Also, institutions in the System vary widely in their missions and in the types of students they enroll.

XI.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS — None.

XII.
QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR — None.

XIII.
ADJOURNMENT.

The meeting adjourned at 3:35 P.M.

Distributed through the Faculty Council web site on January 22, 2002. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.