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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of April 12, 2004.

<signed>

Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty

 

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF
APRIL 12, 2004

The eighth regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 2003-2004 was held in the Main Building, Room 212, Monday, April 12, 2004, at 2:15 P.M.

ATTENDANCE.

Present: Lawrence D. Abraham, Ricardo C. Ainslie, Urton L. Anderson, Jacqueline L. Angel, Marian J. Barber, Daniela Bini, David G. Bogard, Jennifer S. Brodbelt, Joshua S. Campbell, Alan K. Cline, Janet M. Davis, Donald William Drumtra, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Larry R. Faulkner, Kenneth Flamm, Wolfgang Frey, Alan W. Friedman, Charles N. Friedman, James D. Garrison, Michael H. Granof, Sue A. Greninger, Marvin L. Hackert, Susanne Hafner, Brian J. Haley, Michael P. Harney, John J. Hasenbein, James L. Hill, Neville Hoad, Archie L. Holmes, Sharon D. Horner, Arthur B. Markman, Dean P. Neikirk, Melvin E. L. Oakes, Edward W. (Ted) Odell, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Anthony J. Petrosino, Linda E. Reichl, Janet Staiger, Salomon A. Stavchansky, James W. Vick, John M. Weinstock, Paul B. Woodruff, James R. Yates.

Absent: Kamran S. Aghaie, Dean J. Almy, Hans C. Boas (excused), Daniel A. Bonevac, Teresa Graham Brett (excused), Neal M. Burns, Johnny S. Butler, Maggie Chiang, Michael J. Churgin (excused), Patricia L. Clubb, Melba M. Crawford, Andrew P. Dillon, Edwin Dorn, Phillip L. Dubov, Robert Freeman, George W. Gau, Peter F. Green, Lita A. Guerra (excused), Carl T. Haas, Donald A. Hale, Julie Hallmark, Thomas M. Hatfield, Fred M. Heath, Kevin P. Hegarty, Kurt O. Heinzelman, Susan S. Heinzelman, Raymond Bert "Rusty" Ince III, Judith A. Jellison, Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Martin W. Kevorkian, Robert D. King (excused), Richard W. Lariviere, Steven W. Leslie, William S. Livingston, Amarante L. Lucero, Slyman M. Majid, Thomas G. Palaima, Marcus G. Pandy, Theodore E. Pfeifer, William C. Powers, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Johnnie D. Ray, Eric A. Renner, Victoria Rodriguez, Charles R. Rossman, David J. Saltman, Juan M. Sanchez, Dolores Sands, Diane L. Schallert (excused), M. Michael Sharlot, Mark C. Smith, David B. Spence, David W. Springer, Frederick R. Steiner, Ben G. Streetman, Sharon L. Strover (excused), Daniel A. Updegrove, N. Bruce Walker, Ellen A. Wartella, Gwendolyn Webb-Johnson, Barbara W. White, Darlene C. Wiley, Lynn R. Wilkinson, Glen M. Worley.

Voting Members:
38
present,
35
absent,
73
total.
Non-Voting Members:
5
present,
29
absent,
34
total.
Total Members:
43
present,
64
absent,
107
total.



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I.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.

The written report appears in D 3211-3221. There were no questions or comments.

II.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES.

The minutes of the Faculty Council meeting of March 22, 2004 (D 3222-3234) were approved by voice vote.

III.
COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT

A. Comments by the President.

Chairman Marvin Hackert (chemistry and biochemistry) welcomed President Larry Faulkner back to work from his brief absence due to surgery and reported that the president had no prepared comments for the meeting.

B. Questions to the President. — None.

IV.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR.

A. Report on Faculty Council Executive Committee (FCEC) actions.

Chairman Hackert reported that the FCEC had asked Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson’s office to distribute a memo to faculty and administrators that reviewed and clarified the proper procedures for handling course-instructor surveys. He also reported that the FCEC had met with Dan Updegrove, vice president for information and technology, to initiate dialog about computer usage and privacy issues involving faculty. Questions regarding the types of logs of computer usage that are maintained by the University, how long the logs are kept, and who has access to the logs were discussed.

B. Chairman Hackert thanked Faculty Council members and the General Faculty for their participation in the election of college and school representatives to the Faculty Council and representatives to two University standing committees that concluded the previous week. He announced that turnout had exceeded “our realistic goal of 20%,” and participation increased by almost two times what it had been in the comparable election held two years ago.

Chairman Hackert announced that there will be two Faculty Council meetings on May 10. The first will be an organizational meeting for the 2004-2005 Faculty Council and will include newly elected members. Elections will be held for the chair elect and FCEC representatives for the Budget Advisory, Faculty Welfare, and Educational Policy Committees. The nominating committee will be the current FCEC, and the chair of the nominating committee will be Professor Linda Reichl (physics), our current Faculty Council chair elect. Chairman Hackert requested that Faculty Council members review the listing of 2004-2005 Faculty Council members that will be posted on the Council’s Web page later this week and pass along, to current FCEC members, the names of those they feel will be good nominees for leadership positions. The second meeting on May 10, which will convene immediately following the first meeting, will be the final meeting of the year of the 2003-2004 Faculty Council.

V.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT. — None.

VI.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS. — None.


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

A. Interim report from the Commencement and Academic Ceremonies Committee — Jacqueline Angel, chair (professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs).

Professor Jacqueline Angel reported that 318 faculty participated in the 2003 University-wide commencement, which was a 100% increase over previous participation. She credited the efforts of President Faulkner, Associate Vice President Susan Clagett (Office of Relationship Management and University Events), Professor Mimi Drumwright (advertising, University commencement marshal), Dean George Gau (Red McCombs School of Business), and the University Coop as having made major contributions leading to the improved faculty participation in last year’s commencement.

Professor Angel invited Faculty Council members to participate and encourage their colleagues to participate in the 2004 University-wide commencement that will be held on Saturday, May 22. Mr. Donald Evans, United States Secretary of Commerce and former chairman of the University of Texas System Board of Regents, will be the commencement speaker; Secretary Evans is also a graduate of UT Austin. For additional information, consult the UT Web page at http://www.utexas.edu/commencement/2004.

Professor Angel announced that the Commencement and Academic Ceremonies Committee is soliciting names for potential commencement speakers for 2005 and encouraged members to forward names to the committee for consideration.

B. Faculty Grievance Committee response to Professor Sharon Strover’s comments on March 22, 2004 — Janet Staiger, chair (professor, radio-television-film).

See Appendix A for this report.

C. Update on Search for Ombudsperson

Chairman Hackert reminded Council members that the search committee for an ombudsperson is currently working to recruit candidates. He said he was hopeful that the presence of an ombudsperson would reduce some of the pressures and difficulties experienced by the Faculty Grievance Committee. He then asked Professor Staiger, who is chairing the search committee for the ombudsperson, if she wished to make a comment. Professor Staiger reminded Council members that nominations for candidates for the ombudsperson were due on the date of the Council meeting, April 12. She encouraged members to recommend colleagues they felt would mediate disputes and serve in an unbiased way both the faculty and the administration. She said the search committee hoped to have a list of applicants by Friday, April 16.

VIII.
NEW BUSINESS

A. Recommendation for Change in the Handbook of Operating Procedures Concerning Disciplining of a Faculty Member (D 3208-3209) — Alba Ortiz, chair, Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility (professor, special education).

Chairman Hackert clarified that the Committee of Council on Academic Freedom and Responsibility (CCAFR), chaired by Professor Alba Ortiz, and the Faculty Grievance Committee (FGC), chaired by Professor Janet Staiger, were the cosponsors of this proposed legislation. He announced that Professor Ortiz was ill and could not attend the meeting and that Professor Staiger would present the proposed legislation.

Professor Staiger reported that the recommendations had been previously endorsed by the Faculty Council on two occasions, one of which was approved by President Faulkner and the other of which was not. She said that the members of the two University standing committees decided


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  that rather than attempting to rewrite the entire legislative package again for the latter legislation they would focus their new legislation on policies and procedures that would provide protection for faculty members who were disputing charges of alleged University policy violations and facing threatened punishment levels. Professor Staiger said that the recommended changes augment the faculty grievance policy in the Handbook of Operating Procedures Section 3.18 by specifying administrative procedures that protect the faculty member against potential loss of property rights when discipline and/or termination of the faculty member’s employment at UT Austin is under consideration. In a case where termination of the faculty member’s employment is under consideration, the legislation proposes that the UT Austin president will consult with CCAFR regarding the propriety, length, and other conditions of suspending the faculty member. If the president determines that the nature of the charges and evidence are such that it is in the best interests of UT Austin that the faculty member be suspended, the accused faculty member may be suspended with pay pending the completion of the hearing and final decision of the board.

In a disciplining case where the accused faculty member intends to contest the situation using the faculty grievance process and where the University’s representative believes that a disciplining action is required prior to the grievance hearing, Professor Staiger said that the legislation allows the University to impose the discipline if it can be revoked later and would not result in any permanent loss of property rights. However, in a case where the proposed action would be irrevocable or result in a permanent loss of the faculty member’s property rights, the legislation proposes that the UT Austin provost will consult with the CCAFR to explain (1) why the proposed actions must occur immediately from the University’s perspective and (2) how the faculty member would be compensated for the irrevocable discipline or loss of property rights should the hearing prove the allegations false or result in a judgment that the discipline was too severe.

Professor Angel (LBJ school) asked who was the chief administrative officer. Professor Staiger referred the question to Vice President Patti Ohlendorf (institutional relations and legal affairs) who said this term was how the Board of Regents referred to the president. Professor Staiger clarified that according to the Regents’ Rules that when a faculty member is threatened by termination the president becomes involved. When lower level cases of disciplining are involved, then the provost is responsible for the case.

Professor Kenneth Flamm (LBJ school) asked if property rights were defined anywhere and what they were. Professor Staiger said they were not defined in the Handbook of Operating Procedures. Professor Staiger then referred the question to Vice President Ohlendorf who responded that the definition pf property rights depended on the case and would be determined by law. She gave examples, indicating that tenure was a property right but a specific office was not. She restated that property rights were defined in law but depended on the particular case; however, she said, "this provision would come into play in a very limited number of cases."

Professor Alan Cline (computer science) said he was “happy that there have been no objections from the administration to this legislation." He noted that the administration had this opportunity to object to the legislation and that it had not. Chairman Hackert asked if there were any comments regarding Professor Cline's comment. He complimented Professor Staiger on the clarity of her explanation regarding the history and origin of the legislation and thanked her for her presentation. There being no further comments, the vote was called for and the motion unanimously passed.

B. Calendar Committee Proposal Concerning the Calendar for the Summer Freshman Class (SFC) (D 3210) — Ted Odell, chair, Calendar Committee (professor, mathematics).


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  Professor Ted Odell presented proposed legislation to publish a schedule in the official University calendar each year for the entering Summer Freshman Class. He explained that this schedule was needed because some high school students in Texas who are required to take summer school classes at UT Austin do not graduate until after summer classes begin here at the University. The Summer Freshman Class schedule will include the dates for orientation, registration, first and last days of class, and final exams.

Professor Cline said that although he knew his question was out-of-order he wanted to know why the Calendar Committee didn’t “just do something” regarding classes on Good Friday afternoons. He said that he thought faculty and students would like to make plans in advance for the day. When Professor Odell responded that he did not think the decision was up to the Calendar Committee, Professor Cline asked, “Why not?” Chairman Hackert responded that he thought the memo regarding the dismissing of classes and closing of the University came from the UT System this year. Professor Cline responded that the message sometimes comes from the governor and sometimes comes from the UT System. He said he didn’t see why the Calendar Committee couldn’t just say ahead of time that UT Austin would close or would not close so people could plan for the day’s classes or activities. Chairman Hackert agreed that it would be great to be able to plan, but he thought that a planned closing of the University would have to count as a holiday and/or vacation time. When the governor decrees that the University and state offices are to be closed, then staff members do not have to count the time off as vacation. Professor Paul Woodruff (philosophy) said he supported Professor Cline on this matter and that it would be helpful if the Calendar Committee just declared a holiday and included another Friday as a class day so courses could be planned.

President Faulkner said that he was very sympathetic to the frustration being expressed, and it might be “worthwhile for the Calendar Committee to think about that particular Friday afternoon and some compensating element for it.” He said Chairman Hackert was correct about the situation regarding holidays and time off for staff. If a holiday were declared, then a day during winter break would have to be given up in exchange. He said he thought the people involved in planning the University schedule had chosen to put as many days as possible into winter break because they felt this increased the overall benefit to the University community. He acknowledged that knowing about this trade-off did not reduce the frustration involved in the late announcement about the closing of the University. He said that the UT Austin administration does not cancel classes and/or close the University “unless higher authority has, in effect, made it the obvious thing to do.” He indicated that his office announces the change as soon as it receives the word to do so. President Faulkner suggested that it was wise “to take care of whatever you had planned for that Friday afternoon” and that it could be of value for the University to consider planning for the usual events in a systematic manner through the academic calendar.

Chairman Hackert added that he had learned to avoid scheduling an exam on Good Friday afternoon. He expressed concern for staff members who live outside the Austin area, commute long distances to work, and have to arrange for childcare. He thought it would be especially helpful for them if the announcement could be made at least the day before. Professor Flamm (LBJ school) said that he thought an unofficial study day similar to one of the dead days before final exams could be set for Good Friday. When Professor Odell commented that this would be another holiday, Professor Flamm said that the staff could get paid for the day. Chairman Hackert said he thought it might be like a teacher preparation day in a system when the children don’t come to school but the teachers do. Professor Flamm said it could be a study afternoon perhaps for individual study and consultation with professors.

Chairman Hackert said he wanted to return to the motion on the floor and asked if there were any further discussion about the proposal for the Summer Freshman Class schedule. When Professor Archie Holmes (electrical and computer engineering) asked if the proposal was just that the


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  calendar would be published, Professor Odell affirmed that it would merely acknowledge the Summer Freshman Class schedule by publishing it. Chairman Hackert clarified that it would make a public practice and record of what is currently being done at UT Austin. There being no more discussion, Chairman Hackert called for the vote and the motion unanimously passed.

IX. ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS.

A. Nominations Coop Board, Men’s and Women’s Athletics Councils / Civitatis Award.
B. Next Faculty Council meeting May 10 – special welcome to newly elected members / ELECTIONS.

X. QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR.

Mr. Josh Campbell (representative, Senate of College Councils) said it had been an honor to work with the Faculty Council this past year. He introduced his successor, Mr. Roth Nelson, the incoming director of faculty relations, and Mr. Nick Staha, the incoming chairman of the Senate of College Councils. Mr. Campbell said he was looking forward to continuing his work next year on the Committee on Undergraduate Degree Program Review. Mr. Nelson thanked Mr. Campbell for the introduction and said he was looking “forward to a great year.” Mr. Staha said he had campaigned on a platform that emphasized academic policy and his work with the Educational Policy Committee this past year had been a “great experience.”

Chairman Hackert thanked the student leadership and said, “it had been an absolute delight on behalf of the FCEC to have such excellent student leadership” from both the Graduate Student Assembly and the Student Government. He said he was “tremendously impressed by the caliber of students we have here” and asked the students who were present to stand up and be recognized.

XI. ADJOURNMENT.

There being no further comments or questions, Chairman Hackert called for a motion to adjourn, and the motion unanimously passed. The meeting adjourned at 3:03 p.m.

Distributed through the Faculty Council Web site on May 5, 2004. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.


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Appendix A

Grievance Committee Response to Professor Sharon Strover’s Comments on March 22, 2004

In response to Professor Sharon Strover's criticism of the Grievance Committee at the last Faculty Council meeting, the Committee wishes to state that its deliberations are professional and congenial, with serious consideration given to the grievant as well as to the administration and management of the institution we all serve. The Committee is made up largely of elected members of the faculty who serve without compensation and who make every effort to avoid bias and to provide due process to all parties. In response to a request from Professor Strover, she was recently invited to address the committee about her concerns, and we hope that the exchange was helpful in developing a fuller understanding of the issues she brought to the meeting. The Committee assures the Council that we do our best to serve in the spirit of fairness and reconciliation. While the work we do may not please everyone, we continually seek to improve our processes, and we invite all members of the faculty to provide us with whatever suggestions for improvement they may have. They will be taken most seriously.

Members of the Grievance Committee for 2003-04 are Lynn Blais (Law), Neal Burns (Advertising), Mia Carter (English), Karen Engle (Law), Karl Galinsky (Classics), Susan Heinzelman (English), Martha Hilley (Music), Joni Jones (Theatre and Dance), Robert King (Linguistics), Tessie Moon (Mechanical Engineering), Paula Murray (Management Science and Information Systems), Alba Ortiz (Special Education), Stanley Roux (Biological Sciences), Lorenzo Sadun (Mathematics), Janet Staiger (Radio-Television-Film), Mary Steinhardt (Kinesiology and Health Sciences), Darlene Wiley (Music), and James Yates (Educational Administration).