DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council
meeting of November 17, 2003.
The General Faculty
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING
OF NOVEMBER 17, 2003
The third regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the
academic year 2003-2004 was held in the Texas Union Theatre on Monday,
November 17, 2003, at 2:15 P.M..
Present: Lawrence D. Abraham, Urton L. Anderson,
Jacqueline L. Angel, Marian J. Barber, Daniela Bini, Hans C. Boas, David
G. Bogard, Teresa Graham Brett, Neal M. Burns, Alan K. Cline, Janet M.
Davis, Donald William Drumtra, John R. Durbin, Sheldon Ekland-Olson,
Wolfgang Frey, Alan W. Friedman, Charles N. Friedman, Michael H. Granof,
Sue A. Greninger, Marvin L. Hackert, Susanne Hafner, Brian J. Haley,
John J. Hasenbein, James L. Hill, Neville Hoad, Archie L. Holmes, Raymond
Bert "Rusty" Ince III, Judith A. Jellison,
Martin W. Kevorkian, William S. Livingston, Slyman M. Majid, Melvin E.
L. Oakes, Edward W. (Ted) Odell, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Anthony J. Petrosino,
Theodore E. Pfeifer, Linda E. Reichl, Eric A. Renner, David J. Saltman,
Diane L. Schallert, Mark C. Smith, Janet Staiger, Sharon L. Strover,
John M. Weinstock, Darlene C. Wiley, Paul B. Woodruff, James R. Yates.
Absent: Kamran S. Aghaie, Ricardo C.
Ainslie, Dean J. Almy, Daniel A. Bonevac, Jennifer S. Brodbelt, Johnny
S. Butler, Joshua S. Campbell (excused), Maggie Chiang, Michael J. Churgin
(excused), Patricia L. Clubb, Melba M. Crawford, Andrew P. Dillon, Edwin
Dorn, Phillip L. Dubov, Larry R. Faulkner (excused), Kenneth Flamm (excused),
Robert Freeman, James D. Garrison (excused), George W. Gau, Peter F.
Green, Lita A. Guerra (excused), Carl T. Haas, Donald A. Hale, Julie
Hallmark, Michael P. Harney, Thomas M. Hatfield, Fred M. Heath, Kevin
P. Hegarty, Kurt O. Heinzelman, Susan S. Heinzelman, Sharon D. Horner
(excused), Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Robert D. King, Richard W. Lariviere,
Steven W. Leslie, Amarante L. Lucero, Arthur B. Markman (excused), Dean
P. Neikirk (excused), Thomas G. Palaima (excused), Marcus G. Pandy, William
C. Powers, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Johnnie D. Ray, Victoria Rodriguez, Charles
R. Rossman (excused), Juan M. Sanchez, Dolores Sands, M. Michael Sharlot,
David B. Spence (excused), David W. Springer, Salomon A. Stavchansky,
Frederick R. Steiner, Ben G. Streetman, Daniel A. Updegrove, James W.
Vick, N. Bruce Walker, Ellen A. Wartella, Gwendolyn Webb-Johnson, Barbara
W. White, Lynn R. Wilkinson, Glen M. Worley.
|REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.
The written report appears in D
2761-2765. There were no questions
|APPROVAL OF MINUTES.
The minutes of the Faculty Council Meeting of October 29, 2003 (D
2766-2768) were approved by voice vote.
|COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT.
||Comments by the President.
The president was away on University business.
||Questions to the President.
Question 1. From Professor Alan Cline (computer sciences):
On September 10, 2003, a memo to the faculty from the provost
discussed measures to be taken by faculty to preserve confidentiality
of student grades. This policy was promulgated without consultation
with the very faculty body that should have had the greatest
participation - the Educational Policy Committee. Perhaps it
was believed that the policy was forced by legal requirements
- yet, it seems annually that that excuse is used and then
found to be a misrepresentation of the law. (Most recently,
both the local "compliance policy" and a policy controlling
student/faculty discussions of sexual harassment were originally
claimed to be legal requirements and then proved to be otherwise.)
Why was this student grade policy not taken to the Educational
Response: Executive Vice President and Provost Ekland-Olson
said the policy had been implemented because of concerns about
theft, confidentiality, federal laws, and objections raised
by students and parents. Professor Cline said he did not think
faculty members would understand what was meant by “in
addition it is very important when returning physical copies
of student work to do so in a monitored way.” The provost
said he thought faculty would probably use their common sense.
Professor Cline thought it was obvious that the issue should
have been referred to the Educational Policy Committee. The
provost said he would have no objection to that.
Question 2. From Professor Tom Palaima (classics): In recent
memory, the Faculty Council debated whether to insert a break
in the fall semester for students to study, think, write and
recharge (as is done, for example, at Oxford University). It
is my recollection that the main argument that led to turning
down this proposal was the objection of departments with Friday
and Monday science labs. Specifically it was argued that because
so many students lost OU weekend labs, they could not afford
to lose another for study purposes. There were also scheduling
concerns. Would you be in favor of reopening this question
and concentrating specifically on making the break coincide
with OU weekend, which generally falls on Columbus Day weekend?
This might satisfy both sports and knowledge enthusiasts.
Response: Provost Ekland-Olson said he believed it would be
appropriate for the Council to refer this question to the Calendar
Committee and the Educational Policy Committee. Chair Marvin
Hackert (chemistry and biochemistry) said he would do that.
He also reminded members that when this issue was introduced
several years ago, some of the objections had to do with the
scheduling of laboratory classes. The secretary, speaking as
a voting member, said he thought it would be a questionable
use of time by the Calendar Committee to reconsider an idea
that had so recently been rejected by the Council. (See the
minutes of the meeting of February 19, 2001, D
the meeting of March 19, 2001, D
Question 3. From Professor Palaima: When one gets on the UT
home page, it stresses that we all belong to an institution
known as The University of Texas and that we are an educational
institution, to wit: www.utexas.edu.
||Athletics is correctly listed on the left-hand menu as a vital
component of our educational mission.
When one clicks on Longhorns Sports, however, we are suddenly
transported to a commercial enterprise that does not even recognize
a connection to the University: www.texassports.com. Worse still
and unique among all the major athletics programs at the University,
Intercollegiate Football is accessed as: www.mackbrown-texasfootball.com,
that is, a single individual is given priority over his team
and his institution.
Is this appropriate? And if so, should academic programs and
administrative units consider having their URL's changed to give
publicity to their prominent faculty?
I can guess that the answer is money, that Coach Brown's visibility
generates funds for the quasi-commercial operation he directs.
But the same argument can be made for academic and administrative
units, even if they are not virtually independent commercial
Put another way, would you countenance URL's like www.LarryFaulkner-texasadmin.com
or www.TomStaley-HRC.com? If so, why? If not, why not?
Response: Vice President for Institutional Relations and Legal
Affairs Patricia Ohlendorf said that Web sites for the athletics
departments at most major universities are dot com sites, partly
because the athletics departments depend heavily on sponsors.
As examples, she mentioned gobears.com for U.C. Berkeley, gostanford.ocsn.com for Stanford, goprincetontigers.com for Princeton, gocrimson.com for Harvard, bceagles.com for Boston College (Professor Palaima’s
alma mater), and uwbadgers.com for Wisconsin (where Professor
Palaima received his doctorate). She said UT Austin, as many
other universities, contracts with an external organization to
set up the site and acquire sponsors. She also said commercial
transactions are handled through the sites; in the case of UT
Austin, this included ticket sales for the Erwin Center and the
Performing Arts Center, done as a service by the athletics department.
.com, she said he had nothing to
do with the naming of that site; his contract allows the University
to use his name, and many people, including high school students,
associate his name with the University. She said there are over
five million hits per month on the two sites he had asked about.
She said the president said he did not want a site using his
name; she had not asked Tom Staley, but she suspected his response
would be the same as the president’s.
|REPORT OF THE CHAIR.
Chair Hackert had begun the meeting with several comments
about the University’s proposal for tuition increases, and
the response it had brought from an elected state official. He said
the expected student course load was taken into account, the proposed
tuition increase did not exceed what elected officials had considered
appropriate. He added that, contrary, to claims reported in the media,
students without adequate family resources would not be prohibited
from attending the University if they were otherwise qualified, because
of the amount that would be set aside for those in financial need.
Finally, he said that the process of arriving at the proposed increases
had been very open, and everyone had been given a chance to raise
|REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT.
Chair elect Linda Reichl (physics) reported on fall meeting of the Texas
Council of Faculty Senates, held in Austin on October 24-25. She said the
council had chosen Representative Fred Brown and Senator Florence Shapiro
as state legislators of the year. They had also been given a report by Katherine
Parsinot from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, who talked,
among other things, about their efforts to standardize the core curriculum
in the lower division courses throughout the state; in particular, they sought
a common numbering system for these courses. Professor Reichl said they had
also heard about funding problems at many of the institutions.
||She said the annual meeting with the Faculty Senate of Texas A&M
would be held in College Station on Monday, February 23, and she
urged members to plan to attend.
|UNFINISHED BUSINESS — None.
|REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS, AND
COMMITTEES — None.
||Report from the Intercollegiate Athletics Councils for
Men and for Women.
Professor Shelley Payne (molecular genetics and microbiology),
chair of the Women’s Athletics Council, began by saying
that the Council was hoping for a ruling that the council’s
meetings would not be subject to the Texas Open Records Act.
She said the council was an advisory, not a policy-making
She said the committee had been considering the appropriateness
of complimentary items (such as tickets to athletics events)
for members of the council. It was also attempting to bring
about a restructuring of the athletics councils, in line
with recommendations from the University’s Wright Committee.
Another item being considered was the status of the separation
between men’s and women’s athletics departments.
Professor Payne then called on Professor Linda Ferreira-Buckley,
who gave an extensive report on the academic achievements
of women athletes, which continue to be above the average
for University undergraduates.
Christine Plonsky, director of women's athletics, said that
intercollegiate athletics gives young people a chance to
attend a world class institution and purse a degree and also
an extra-curricular activity in which they have a gift, which
is athleticism. She talked at some length about their commitment,
the challenges they face, and the lessons they learn which
carry over into their lives after their time at the University.
Michael Granof (accounting), represented the Men's Athletics
Council, which was currently without a chair. He said that
men’s athletes on scholarship have a GRA of 2.75, compared
with an average for all UT male undergraduates of 2.97. He
expressed that, all things considered, that was quite reasonable.
He went over the reasons that some published reports on graduate
rates were misleading. He said he had been on the Men’s
Athletics Council for three years, and thought the department
was exceedingly well run. However, he went through a list
of things he thought could be improved, including more faculty
oversight of academic achievement and programs of male athletes,
and more faculty contact with athletes.
DeLoss Dodds, director of men’s athletics, talked about
the success of the University’s athletics teams relative
to those of other institutions in the country, in the past
few years. He also talked about the sound financial status
of the departments, and the participation of athletics in
The representatives of the athletics departments then addressed
several specific questions from members of the Council (Professors
Janet Staiger, Linda Reichl, and Sue Greninger), regarding
the success of athletes, outside athletics, after they leave
the University, and the academic demands made on them while
at the University, including the type of courses they are
required to take and complete.
||Report of Coalition On Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA)
Professor Michael Granof talked at length about the report,
which had been made available to members and which will be
considered by the Council at a future meeting
|ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS.
||The next meeting of the Faculty Council was scheduled for
Monday, December 8, 2003.
|QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR — None.
The meeting adjourned at 3:45 P.M.
Distributed through the Faculty
Council Web site on December 2, 2003. Copies are
available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22,