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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE GENERAL FACULTY FOR 2002-2003

Following are the minutes of the General Faculty meeting of October 15, 2002.


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John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty


MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE GENERAL FACULTY FOR 2002-2003


The regular meeting of the General Faculty for the academic year 2002-2003 was held on Tuesday, October 15, 2002, at 4:00 P.M. in Calhoun Hall, Room 100. President Larry R. Faulkner presided.

I.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES.

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the General Faculty for 2001-2002, September 17, 2001, were approved (D 1546-1553).

II.
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE FACULTY COUNCIL, 2001-2002.

This report was published as D 2047-2068.

III.
DISCUSSION OF ANNUAL REPORT — None.

IV.
COMMENTS BY AND QUESTIONS TO THE PRESIDENT.

President Faulkner began with a question from Dr. Patrick Burkart (lecturer, radio-television-film), which was submitted before the meeting: “The Daily Texan recently updated the campus community with information that faculty and staff are still being denied health and other benefits for their domestic partners, despite non-discrimination policy covering sexual orientation at UT. What is your office doing to address this critical situation?”

The president said that benefits are governed in the first instance by state law; in the second instance they are controlled by the UT System. He added, “I personally am sympathetic to the notion that people who work for the University earn a right to cover people who they may care for, but this is not a matter for me to define.” Later in the question period, Dr. Burkart pressed the question by asking what the president’s office was doing about the problem. President Faulkner said he could not lobby, under state law, but he would convey any proposal for change to the chancellor. Kyle Cavanaugh, associate vice president for human resources, said that the issue is under discussion by the Faculty Welfare Committee and the Staff Council.

The president reiterated some of the points made in his State of the University Address on September 18, which appears on D 2163-2169.

The president then encouraged further questions. Professor John C. Gilbert (chemistry and biochemistry) asked about the University’s commitment to the newly-proposed charter school in Austin. The president said the goal was to create a demonstration school, with eventually around 300 students, to try some of the programs the University had already developed, especially in reading and mathematics and beginning in the early grades. He said that members of the Board of


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  Regents were interested in seeing if the University’s ideas would really address some of the existing problems, especially in less affluent neighborhoods.

Professor Gilbert then asked about efforts to standardize curricula in two- and four-year institutions in the state. The president said there were legitimate interests in this issue, to facilitate transfer for undergraduates. On the other hand, it is very important for higher education institutions to have the ability to let programs evolve, and this could only be done in a reasonable atmosphere of freedom. He said all this would obviously create tension, which would come from the needs of four-year institutions to innovate with curricula and of two-year institutions and families and citizens to have a reasonably efficient transfer process. He said that tension is creative, and that this is a place where it is essential.

Professor Daniela Bini (French and Italian) asked the president for his opinion on flat rate tuition, introduced this fall in liberal arts and natural sciences. She said she could really not see its educational advantages. The president said that before flat rate tuition was introduced, forty percent of the students were taking exactly twelve hours per semester, which was ridiculously low for such a large number of students. He said that was not in the best interests of the students, the students’ families, or the University, leading as it does to overpopulation of the campus. He said the main reason was to encourage student progress and to open up possibilities for other students. Professor Bini said all that depends on what one means by “progress.” She believed students should have time to experiment; rushing to get through and find a job represented “a corporate mentality.” In the end, the president acknowledged that he and Professor Bini “may disagree on this issue.”

V. UNFINISHED BUSINESS — None.

VI. REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEES.

A. Committee to Nominate a Candidate for Secretary of the General Faculty.
Professor Michael Granof (accounting), chair of the Faculty Council, said he had appointed a committee to nominate a secretary, and the choice was Professor John R. Durbin (mathematics), the current secretary.

VII. NEW BUSINESS.

A. Election of the Secretary of the General Faculty.
Professor Durbin was elected to serve for the calendar year 2003.

 VIII. REMAINING QUESTIONS TO THE PRESIDENT – None.

 IX. AJOURNMENT.

  The meeting adjourned at 4:27 P.M.