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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of May 10, 2004.
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF
May 10, 2004
The ninth regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 2003-2004 was held in the Main Building, Room 212, Monday, May 10, 2004, at 2:15 P.M.
Present: Lawrence D. Abraham, Kamran S. Aghaie, Ricardo C. Ainslie, Urton L. Anderson, Marian J. Barber, Neal M. Burns, Michael J. Churgin, Alan K. Cline, Melba M. Crawford, Janet M. Davis, Donald William Drumtra, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Larry R. Faulkner, Wolfgang Frey, Alan W. Friedman, Michael H. Granof, Sue A. Greninger, Lita A. Guerra, Marvin L. Hackert, Julie Hallmark, Michael P. Harney, John J. Hasenbein, James L. Hill, Archie L. Holmes, Judith A. Jellison, Martin W. Kevorkian, Melvin E. L. Oakes, Edward W. (Ted) Odell, Theodore E. Pfeifer, Linda E. Reichl, David J. Saltman, Diane L. Schallert, M. Michael Sharlot, David W. Springer, Janet Staiger, Salomon A. Stavchansky, Sharon L. Strover, James W. Vick, Lynn R. Wilkinson, Paul B. Woodruff, James R. Yates.
Absent: Dean J. Almy, Jacqueline L. Angel, Daniela Bini (excused), Hans C. Boas (excused), David G. Bogard (excused), Daniel A. Bonevac (excused), Teresa Graham Brett (excused), Jennifer S. Brodbelt, Johnny S. Butler, Joshua S. Campbell, Maggie Chiang, Patricia L. Clubb, Andrew P. Dillon, Edwin Dorn, Phillip L. Dubov, Kenneth Flamm (excused), Robert Freeman, Charles N. Friedman (excused), James D. Garrison, George W. Gau, Peter F. Green, Carl T. Haas, Susanne Hafner, Donald A. Hale, Brian J. Haley, Thomas M. Hatfield, Fred M. Heath (excused), Kevin P. Hegarty, Kurt O. Heinzelman, Susan S. Heinzelman, Neville Hoad, Sharon D. Horner, Raymond Bert "Rusty" Ince III, Manuel J. Justiz, Robert D. King (excused), Richard W. Lariviere, Steven W. Leslie, William S. Livingston, Amarante L. Lucero, Slyman M. Majid, Arthur B. Markman, Dean P. Neikirk (excused), Patricia C. Ohlendorf (excused), Thomas G. Palaima (excused), Marcus G. Pandy, Anthony J. Petrosino, William C. Powers, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Johnnie D. Ray, Eric A. Renner, Victoria Rodriguez, Charles R. Rossman (excused), Juan M. Sanchez, Dolores Sands, Mark C. Smith, David B. Spence, Frederick R. Steiner, Ben G. Streetman, Daniel A. Updegrove, N. Bruce Walker, Ellen A. Wartella, Gwendolyn Webb-Johnson, John M. Weinstock, Barbara W. White, Darlene C. Wiley, Glen M. Worley.
Voting Members: 36 present, 37 absent, 73 total. Non-Voting Members: 5 present, 29 absent, 34 total. Total Members: 41 present, 66 absent, 107 total.
I. REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.
The written report appears in D 3283-3293. There were no questions or comments.
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES.
The minutes of the Faculty Council meeting of April 12, 2004 (D 3325-3331) were approved by voice vote.
III. COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT
A. Comments by the President.
President Faulkner thanked Chair Marvin Hackert, Chair Elect Linda Reichl, and Secretary Sue Greninger for their contributions to the Faculty Council during the past year and expressed his appreciation to the members of the Faculty Council for their service. He then summarized his perspectives on the following four major issues: (1) Jackson School, (2) honor code, (3) response to the task force report on racial respect and fairness, and (4) response to the task force report on enrollment strategies.
Jackson School: President Faulkner said the establishment of a new separate organizational structure that integrated the Department of Geological Sciences, Institute for Geophysics, and the Bureau of Economic Geology was the best way to “seize the opportunity to do truly extraordinary things” with the $280 million gift the University had received for program enhancement in the geological sciences. The decision was based on recommendations from the vision committee, which was comprised of distinguished individuals from outside the university and chaired by President Emeritus Peter Flawn.
Honor Code: President Faulkner reminded Council members that the student leadership proposed that an honor pledge be adopted. Feedback from the faculty and staff councils indicated that a statement was more acceptable than a pledge, and the University’s core values should be articulated in the statement rather than merely referenced. Based on the supportive statements of members of the staff council and the Faculty Council Executive Committee and the willingness of the student leadership to accept the suggested changes, President Faulkner announced the adoption of the honor statement on April 29, 2004. The statement is the following: “The core values of The University of Texas at Austin are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility. Each member of the university is expected to uphold these values through integrity, honesty, trust, fairness, and respect toward peers and community.” President Faulkner said that he would appoint a group to develop strategies for presenting and publicizing the statement during summer orientation and the start of the fall 2004 semester.
Racial Respect and Fairness: President Faulkner said his response to the Report of the Task Force on Racial Respect and Fairness had been carried on the news that morning. Due to the report’s complexity, he only addressed key elements at the meeting and encouraged Council members to review the full eighteen-page report posted on the UT Web site. He said a formal structure with a central administrative officer was an important recommendation of the report, but he supported the appointment of a vice provost or associate to the president for this position rather than a vice president as recommended by the task force. He generally supported the need for a course requirement “bearing on diversity and cross-cultural knowledge” but felt the requirement needed to be considered within an overall review of the undergraduate curriculum and could not just be added on to existing requirements. He said both the Task Force on Enrollment Strategy and the Commission of 125 had emphasized the need for curriculum review so the idea was definitely gaining support. He recommended for the near term that students be directed to consider choices from the Connexus listing of cross-cultural courses included on the Web page hosted by Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson.
President Faulkner said progress had been made by adoption of the honor code, improvements in recruitment of minority faculty members relative to their national availability, and attention to diversity in official publications and video presentations. He said issues involved with policies regarding the regrouping of statues on the South Mall to reflect reunification as initially intended by the sculptor, Coppini, would require more discussion than the last Council meeting of the year allowed. He suggested that Council members examine this portion of the document on the University’s website. President Faulkner supported the recommendation that freshman rush be deferred until spring semester and said the Vice President of Student Affairs would be conferring with the Greek organizations on this matter. He reported that the creation of a certification process for student organizations had universally been rejected so he was not supporting that recommendation. President Faulkner said the present Police Oversight Committee had initiated its work in a positive manner, and he thanked Professor Mike Sharlot (law) for his service and leadership in chairing this committee. He also thanked Professor Darlene Grant (social work) for her outstanding leadership in chairing the Task Force on Racial Respect and Fairness, and then he thanked the members of the task force for their generous service to the University community.
Enrollment Strategy: President Faulkner announced that his response to the Report of the Task Force on Enrollment Strategy had been released immediately before he came to the Council meeting. He thanked Professor Isabella Cunningham (advertising) for her outstanding leadership as chair of the Task Force on Enrollment Strategy and the members of the task force for their generous service to the University community. He said that he broadly and enthusiastically supported the task force’s recommendations, particularly their guiding principles of improving the educational environment, reducing the student/faculty ratio, and expediting student progress toward graduation. Since most of the criticisms and suggested changes in the proposed strategies were aimed at operational rather than philosophical issues, he said he wanted the University to move forward toward implementation.
President Faulkner agreed that University enrollment should be controlled on a college-by-college basis to provide the instructional capacity to support a quality educational experience comparable to leading public universities in the U.S. Noting that the student/faculty ratio was the most important factor, he said other resources, such as instructional space and available equipment, should be considered. He agreed that policy changes were needed to promote more timely student graduation rates and a system of course allocation that gave priority to degree candidates. Reducing the average time to meet degree requirements could potentially contribute to improved student/faculty ratios, reduced institutional size, and increased acceptance of freshmen and transfer students. The recommendations to restrict the number of long semesters to meet degree requirements and to require a fourteen-hour per semester minimum load received the highest level of comment and negative feedback. He said further review of these proposed changes would be undertaken. However, President Faulkner said it was critical that acceleration in the student graduation rate occur because UT’s lower rate in comparison to peer institutions impacts negatively on the perception of UT’s institutional quality. He said this should be of great concern to students, parents, alumni, and the entire UT community. He also pointed out that slower progress toward graduation adds to the cost of education for students and their families and denies opportunities to qualified freshman to enter. President Faulkner said implementation would require action and approval of other entities, both on and off campus, but that he wanted to see action items addressed during the 2004-2005 academic year.
B. Questions to the President. — None.
IV. REPORT OF THE CHAIR.
After thanking President Faulkner for his comments and support, Chair Marvin Hackert (chemistry and biochemistry) said Council members might not be aware that faculty members who are involved in governance at other system components often complain that they do not get opportunities to interact with their respective institutions’ presidents. He then thanked Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson for his accessibility to the Faculty Council and the Faculty Council Executive Committee and said how important cooperation between the administration and faculty had been this year. After thanking members of the Faculty Council for their support, Chair Hackert recognized and personally thanked
members of the Faculty Council Executive Committee (Michael Granoff, Linda Reichl, Sue Greninger, Archie Holmes, Paul Woodruff, Ken Flamm, and Peter Green) and staff members (Debbie Roberts and Jenny Morgan) for the work they had all done, emphasizing the importance of the behind the scenes work required for the functioning of the Council. He said major accomplishments this year included approval to fill the faculty ombudsperson position; recommendations of the tuition policy advisory committee and the task forces on racial fairness and enrollment strategies; and recommendations regarding the honors criteria, residency requirements, and Coordinated Admissions Program.
V. REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT.
Chair elect Linda Reichl (physics) congratulated the winners of the 2004-2005 Faculty Council officer elections. The officers are the following:
Chair elect -- Alba A. Ortiz (special education)
Executive Committee Representatives
Faculty Advisory Committee on Budgets -- Jacqueline L. Angel (LBJ School of Public Affairs)
Educational Policy Committee -- Archie L. Holmes (electrical and computer engineering)
Faculty Welfare Committee -- Martha F. Hilley (music)
Chair elect Reichl thanked Chair Hackert for his service as Faculty Council chair and presented him with an inscribed plaque. He said the experience had been enjoyable and rewarding, especially meeting and working with people from across campus.
VI. UNFINISHED BUSINESS. — None.
VII. REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEES. — None.
VIII. NEW BUSINESS.
Approval of Meeting Dates 2004-2005 (D 3272).
Secretary Sue Greninger (human ecology) moved acceptance of the following schedule of meeting dates for the 2004-2005 academic year as presented in D 3272:
September 27, 2004 March 21, 2005 October, 18, 2004* April 11, 2005 November 15, 2004 May 9, 2005 December 13, 2004
June 20, 2005
January 24, 2005
July 18, 2005
February 21, 2005
August 15, 2005
*General Faculty meeting follows Faculty Council meeting
The motion was approved by voice vote.
Cancellation of Summer Meetings of the Faculty Council (D 3273).
Chair Hackert moved acceptance of the endorsement of the Faculty Council Executive Committee that the summer Faculty Council meetings (June, July, and August) be cancelled unless there are extenuating circumstances. The motion was approved by voice vote.
C. Nominations for Intercollegiate Athletics Councils and for the University Co-op Board of Directors (D 3274-3275).
Chair Hackert introduced the slates of nominees for the Intercollegiate Athletics Councils and the University Co-op Board that had been submitted to the Faculty Council by a nominating committee chaired by Chair elect Reichl. He explained that the nominees, if approved by the Faculty Council, would be submitted to President Faulkner for his consideration in naming individuals to the respective bodies.
Intercollegiate Athletics Council for Men Alan K. Cline, professor, computer sciences
Alan W. Friedman, professor, English
Bruce P. Palka, professor, mathematics
Janet Staiger, professor, radio-television-film
Robert H. Wilson, professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs
Intercollegiate Athletics Council for Women
David G. Bogard, professor, mechanical engineering
Marvin L. Hackert, professor, chemistry and biochemistry
Martha F. Hilley, professor, music
Desmond F. Lawler, professor, civil engineering
Michael Oden, assistant professor, architecture
University Co-op Board of Directors
Rowena Fong, professor, social work
Sue A. Greninger, associate professor, human ecology
Archie L. Holmes, associate professor, electrical and computer engineering
David C. Warner, professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs
James R. Yates, professor, special education
Chair Hackert asked for other nominations from the floor, and there were none. The proposed slates were unanimously approved by voice vote.
D. Resolution on the Legislative Requirement (D 3276-3277).
Paul Woodruff, co-chair, Educational Policy Committee (professor, philosophy), said Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson had requested that the committee review the general curriculum to identify rigidities that slow down student progress toward graduation. The proposed resolution and its rationale may be found in the document. Professor Woodruff said that although the history and government departments were opposed to any change in the legislative requirement, committee members thought that the requirement slowed progress toward graduation, made curriculum reform difficult to achieve, and limited student enrollment in electives. When asked by Chair Hackert what he thought was the basis of the opposition from the departments, Professor Woodruff said he thought they felt their subject matter was important and there could be an unstated concern about a loss of faculty lines if a change occurred. Chair Hackert said since the resolution asked that all Texas universities be allowed to set their own requirements that this should be presented to the UT System Faculty Advisory Committee. Following responses by Professor Woodruff to questions from Professor Diane Schallert (educational psychology) and Vice Provost Steve Monti, Chair Hackert called for the vote. The proposal was approved by voice vote.
E. Proposal for Change in the Policy for Dropping a Course (D 3278-3280).
Paul Woodruff, co-chair, Educational Policy Committee (professor, philosophy), introduced the item by saying that it had originated with a committee of undergraduate deans rather than his committee. Since the Educational Policy Committee had passed the proposal over Professor Woodruff’s objection, he asked Professor Urton Anderson (accounting) to speak on its behalf. Professor Anderson said that the primary argument for the proposal was the inconsistency with which faculty approve Q drops between the 12th class day and the mid-semester end drop date. He said that the majority of faculty approved Qs regardless of whether the student is passing or not. To simplify the process, advisors in the deans offices have asked that the faculty approval requirement for Q drops be eliminated. When Chair Hackert asked if the student members of the committee had favored the proposal, Professor Archie Holmes, co-chair of the Educational
Policy Committee, said they had. Professor Holmes (electrical and computer engineering) said the faculty in his department opposed the proposal because they believed a Q is a grade and that only the instructor of record is in a position to assign a grade for his/her course. In answer to a question by Alan Cline (computer sciences), it was clarified that the third to last paragraph in the proposal should be underlined. After Paul Woodruff (philosophy), Larry Abraham (curriculum and instruction), David Springer (social work), and Vice President Jim Vick (student affairs and mathematics) provided spirited objections to the proposal, Chair Hackert called for a vote by show of hands. The proposal overwhelmingly failed.
F. Proposed Revision of The Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) 3.18 Regarding Discovery and the Rights of Parties when a Formal Hearing is to be Held (D 3281-3282).
Janet Staiger, chair, Faculty Grievance Committee (professor, radio-television-film), introduced the proposed revision by explaining that in the past when parties to a grievance were attempting to do discovery for a hearing that the costs of labor for copying materials could run as high as $2,000-3,000, primarily due to the need to delete names to protect student confidentiality. She said the committee was concerned that the high cost was inhibiting individuals from securing the evidence they needed to prove or defend against allegations. As a result, a policy had been adopted, with the University administration’s approval, whereby parties were only charged for copies and not for the labor costs of copying the materials. Due to expertise in handling matters involving confidentiality, the process of securing and copying records for discovery had typically been delegated to the open records coordinator. To contain costs, the provost and the chair of the Faculty Grievance Committee reviewed requests that would involve excessive copying of documents. Professor Staiger reported that this procedure had worked quite well until University attorney Lee Smith pointed out that state funds could not be used for labor costs related to open records activity. Professor Staiger said the proposed revision to the wording in the (HOP) would clarify that discovery and open record activity are separate processes and state that the labor costs being expended were for discovery and not merely for copying documents. She explained that the committee’s proposal was asking the president to assign the task of handling the discovery process for grievants to the open records coordinator.
Provost Ekland-Olson agreed that the revised wording would help with the legal issue, but he expressed serious concern regarding the amount of labor that could be involved and could potentially overwhelm the open records coordinator and staff. Professor Staiger said that although the original letter and procedures indicated that the provost and grievance chair would review excessive copying requests, part B of the grievance procedure actually says that the hearing panel would determine, in the case of a dispute, whether there was an excessive or a reasonable discovery. Professor Alan Cline (computer science) commented on a case where he felt the removal of student names from a professor’s own documents proved quite wasteful. Professor Mike Sharlot (law) commented that there were no grounds for limiting the requests for materials stipulated in part B of the grievance procedure and suggested that grounds of low relevance might be used. Chair Staiger asked that the proposal be approved, with the possibility that it could be refined at a later date, because the committee had pending cases where the parties could not afford to do the discovery required if they had to pay the copying costs. When Professor Lita Guerra (music) sought clarification regarding how the process would work, Professor Staiger explained that the party of whom material is being requested could petition the hearing panel for relief from having to divulge the material.
Chair Hackert called for a voice vote on the proposal, and the motion passed with one or two votes being cast in opposition. Chair Hackert said the Faculty Council Executive Committee members hoped the existence of the ombudsperson would help alleviate some of the problems related to the grievance process; he said that an ad hoc committee might be appointed to meet with the ombudsperson in a future to review the grievance process and suggest improvements.
IX. ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS.
Chair Hackert announced that the Faculty Council Executive Committee would be meeting during the summer. Topics of discussion will include ownership of the comments on the Course-Instructor Survey, usage and privacy matters involving computers, and a survey of governance across the component campuses.
X. QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR.
Professor James Yates (education administration) thanked and complimented President Faulkner for his responses to the task force reports, particularly for his leadership in matters regarding racial sensitivities and fairness. He said it was important for the University to increase the number of minority faculty and students.
Don Drumtra, Graduate Student Assembly (GSA), reported that the group had (1) improved graduate student participation in self-government, (2) improved student access to scholarly information and student options for privacy, and (3) increased student input on financial issues, particularly through the tuition committee. He thanked the Faculty Council for the support he and Marian Barber received and asked that the new GSA leaders, Paul Navratil (computer sciences) and Erik Malmber (educational administration), be given similar support. Chair Hackert said he had enjoyed the opportunity to work with Don and Marian and other student leaders as well as the chair of the staff council, Glen Worley.
Professor Michael Harney (Spanish and Portuguese) asked for permission for Professors Leo Bernucci and Cory Reed to address the Council. Professor Bernucci, chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, read a prepared statement in response to the Grievance Committee Interim Report, 2003-2004, that was presented at the March 22, 2004 Faculty Council meeting. He said his experience with three grievance cases had made him conclude that the process had been “seriously compromised” and the system had “lost its credibility and needs attention.” He said he came “to contest the claims of this March 22 report” because of its “generic facts” that were presented as “problems” with a “void of details and names.” He said he would have “preferred to see the Chair of the Faculty Grievance Committee come forward in a responsible and open manner and have presented these ‘facts/problems’ along with their respective authorship.” He then presented seven topics to correct “a series of factual errors” contained in the report followed by comments expressing his dissatisfaction with the manner in which the chair of the Faculty Grievance Committee had handled specific aspects of cases in which he had been involved.
Professor Staiger, chair, Faculty Grievance Committee (professor, radio-television-film), responded to Professor Bernucci’s report by saying that the report she gave in March had been approved and supported by the entire Faculty Grievance Committee. She then refuted some of the points that Professor Bernucci made in his statement regarding specific issues and incidents. She said her job, as chair of the Faculty Grievance Committee, was to serve as a mediator and an advocate for the grievance process. She said she thought her advocacy for the grievance process might have been misinterpreted at times as advocacy for grieving.
Professor Cory Reed (Spanish and Portuguese) read a prepared statement regarding his experience as a faculty member who has been a defendant in a grievance case. He questioned the claim made by the Faculty Grievance Committee that the procedures are biased against the grievant, saying he thought they were “doubly biased against non-administrative defendants.” He said such a defendant does not receive the same level of advocacy and support as the grievant does by the Faculty Grievance Committee and its chair. He claimed that the process provided no opportunity for defendants to face accusers before the hearing and lacked a mechanism for evaluating the merits of grievances and dismissing frivolous cases prior to hearings, which resulted in potentially unnecessary costly expenses to defendants. Professor Reed then outlined problems areas he thought existed in the grievance process
and cited specific examples and incidents from his own case. He closed by asking the Council to adopt new measures of accountability in the process that he said many thought had become “bankrupt.”
Chair Hackert suggested that those who had thoughts or experiences regarding the grievance process should send them via email to the secretary of the Faculty Council, Sue Greninger, so she could provide them to the new ombudsperson. Chair elect Linda Reichl commented she thought it was important to review the entire grievance process and try to find ways to resolve some of the problems once the ombudsperson was in place. However, she expressed concern over the statement she had heard (and did not know if it were actually true) that nobody had ever won a grievance at the University. In any case, she said there was a great need for the administration to review the whole process as soon as possible. Chair Hackert agreed and said all would work toward improving the situation next year. He then thanked those in attendance for their service and adjourned the meeting.
Adjourned at 4:30 p.m.
Distributed through the Faculty Council Web site on September 1, 2004. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.