Return to Report.
XVI. GENERAL/MINOR LEGISLATION.
D 16517-16519 Recommendation for a Change in Regents' Rules Concerning Suspension of a Faculty Member with Pay. Approved by the Faculty Council at its meeting on December 8, 1997, and transmitted to the president on December 9, 1997. Transmitted to the chancellor by the president on January 20, 1999, with these comments: "This legislation was discussed among my office, the Office of the Provost, and members of the Faculty Council Executive Committee. It puts into the Regents' Rules what has been the practice at The University of Texas at Austin. Confidential consultation with a faculty committee regarding a possible suspension is guaranteed, but the final determination is made by the president. This process has worked well on our campus. I recommend your favorable consideration of the proposed change." The president's office is currently attempting to determine the status of this item. On August 19, 2002, a letter of inquiry regarding legislation status was sent to the executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.
On July 31, 2003, President Faulkner wrote to then chair of the Faculty Council Michael Granof, with comments based on an opinion written by W. O. Schultz (general attorney and associate general counsel of the University System) on February 3, 2003. The president wrote as follows: “His opinion is that the proposed amendment to the Regents’ Rules and Regulations is not necessary and that the current provisions do not prevent the President from consulting with the Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility. They, of course, do not mandate the consultation. He suggests that if The University of Texas at Austin desires to have the President seek the advice of the Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility in the situation of a faculty member with pay, then an amendment to our Handbook of Operating Procedures would be sufficient. His comments seem sensible, particularly since an amendment to the Regents’ Rules and Regulations would affect all the UT System component institutions.
“Thus, it seems to me the best course of action is to share W. O.’s comments with the Executive Committee of the Faculty Council and ask them to decide whether or not they wish to revisit this issue and propose an amendment to UT-Austin’s Handbook of Operating Procedures.”
Referred by Council Chair Marvin Hackert to the Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility on October 9, 2003.The Committee presented a recommendation for change in the Handbook of Operating Procedures concerning disciplining of a faculty member at the Council’s meeting on April 12, 2004. (See D 3208-3209, and D 2539-2541 and D 2360-2362).
D 77-81 Changes in Policies Concerning Grades Awarded with Credit by Examination. Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on October 29, 1999. Approved by Faculty Council on November 15, 1999. Transmitted to the president on November 16, 1999. Comment by the provost on November 10, 2000: "The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost continues to explore various options. A final decision has not yet been reached." In a letter dated October 12, 2001, President Faulkner made the following comments:
" A close reading of our current credit by examination policies, as well as the proposal, raises several concerns.
" In supporting the removal of letter grades earned in credit by examination from the UT Austin grade-point average, the proposal itself comments that credit by examination does not reflect a student's performance in coursework at UT Austin. Beyond that issue is a question about inconsistency between the way in which a final grade is normally determined in coursework at UT Austin and the way in which the grade is determined in credit by examination. In coursework, the final grade is almost always the result of multiple factors (tests, papers, attendance, participation, etc.). In credit by examination, the grade is the result of a single test.
" These and other issues still need to be considered as regards the granting of credit by examination. I am asking the Executive Vice President and Provost to appoint a special committee to address the issues and prepare a report. I will hold the current proposal (Documents of the General Faculty 77-81), pending the report of that committee.
" There is, however, an inequity in our current policies that I believe must be addressed now. For the final grade in coursework at UT Austin, the student must choose between a letter grade or "Credit" (for pass/fail) by the mid-semester drop deadline, i.e., well before the final grade is determined. For credit by examination, however, the student is permitted to delay the choice of letter grade or "Credit" for an indefinite period until he or she knows the grade and knows how that grade might affect the grade-point average.
" To eliminate this inequity, I am considering the following changes in policy:
In a memorandum dated August 19, 2002, the provost made the following comments:
" 1. Beginning September 1, 2002, a student attempting credit by examination through a University of Texas at Austin test will be required to make the choice of letter grade or "Credit" prior to taking the examination (i.e., where that choice has been made available by the department offering the examination).
" 2. This policy alone would give an advantage to a student earning credit by examination off campus when that student retained the choice of letter grade or "Credit" until after the examination was completed. Therefore, beginning September 1, 2002, the University will accept credit by examination earned off campus as CR ["Credit"] only."
" Rather than convene a new committee, a decision was made to refer this issue to the Educational Policy Committee. Professor Robert Duke, as chair of the Committee, was asked to draft a proposal for consideration by the President and Provost. The draft proposal is to be ready for review in September 2002."
The committee returned the proposal to the president and provost without change.
D 2480-2482 Recommendation for Change in the Residency Requirements in The UT Austin Undergraduate Catalog. Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on March 4, 2003. Approved by the Faculty Council on March 17, 2003. Transmitted to the President on March 18, 2003.Revised proposal (D 3125-3127) presented to the Faculty Council at its meeting on March 22, 2004.
D 2483-2484 Proposal to Modify Instructional Responsibilities Policy. Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on March 4, 2003. Approved by the Faculty Council on March 17, 2003. The proposal had evolved, through cooperation with the administration and responses from the UT System, from a 1999 proposal for modified duties for faculty members who give birth or have primary responsibility for a newborn child. (See D 938-940.) Transmitted to the president on March 18, 2003. The proposal was modified and approved by Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson and transmitted to the president with the following modifications on May 22, 2003:
A footnote was added to clarify that the policy is not intended to apply to situations where use of sick leave is appropriate.
“ 1. All teaching load adjustments will be granted in compliance with equivalencies set out in Part I, Chap III, Sec. 36.1 and 36.2 of the Regents' Rules and Regulations;
“ 2. The revised policy does not provide more benefits to members of the full-time faculty than are authorized by the state law or the Regents' Rules and Regulations;
“ 3. The policy is gender neutral in both its scope and application in that it applies to all members of the faculty who are appointed full-time on the instructional budget in a long-session semester;
“ 4. The language of the original policy has been modified so as to insure that the revised policy is consistent with state law and University policy related to sick leave; and
“ 5. The revised policy includes language that assures that faculty members who are on modified instructional duties status will render legitimate services to the University in exchange for their salaries.”
The president approved and transmitted the modified proposal to the vice chancellor and general counsel on June 3, 2003.On September 19, 2003, notice was received that the Office of General Counsel and Executive Vice Chancellor Terry Sullivan approved the legislation with the caveat that the policy include the sentence, "All teaching load modifications will be granted in compliance with the equivalencies set out in Part One, chapter III, Sections 36.1 and 36.2 of the Regents' Rules and Regulations."
D 2539-2541 Revision of Proposed Procedures for The University of Texas at Austin Administrative Investigations of Policy Violations Alleged Against Faculty Members. Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on April 30, 2003. Approved by the Faculty Council at its meeting on May 5, 2003. Transmitted to the president through the provost on May 7, 2003. The revision resulted from discussions between the administration and the Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility chair. (See D 2360-2362.) Disapproved by the president on February 4, 2004. with the following comments:
“The proposed procedures are problematic in several ways.
The scope of the proposed policy is too broad as written. In the second paragraph, for example, “significant policy violations” are defined as
…ones in which the property rights of a faculty member might be taken away or ones in which other disciplining would occur to which the faculty member objects.
“Such an open-ended definition could apply to almost any action taken.
The proposal calls for a hearing by a faculty panel prior to disciplinary action. This policy is unnecessarily cumbersome. In addition, it is inadequate for circumstances where there is an urgent need to act, such as in the cases where another member of the community is physically threatened or students are not being taught. There is not always time to carry out the prior consultation envisioned here. The current policy allows for necessary discipline to take place in a timely manner, but also defines specific procedures for the grievance of any action taken.
The proposal disregards the legitimate academic structure of the University. The normal recourse of a faculty member who objects to an action taken at one level (e.g., by a department chair) is to appeal to the next level (e.g., the dean). For many reasons, it is not in the interest of the University community to set aside such recourse and to channel all disputes into a centralized process separate from academic structure. No grievance should be heard in any process like that contemplated here until an appeal has been heard and acted upon by the officer next in line who has not participated in the action.
"4. The proposal implies a legalistic and adversarial relationship between administration and faculty. This undermines a collegial approach, promoting instead adversarial and protracted proceedings.
"5. The President should resolve any disagreement about costs of discovery. The President acts as the ultimate judge in these matters and it is a judge’s responsibility to set procedural conditions.
Provision 12, relating to the presence of observers in proceedings is unnecessary. According to the current Handbook of Operating Procedures (Section 3.18, Subsection V.B):
“All parties, at any level of the grievance procedure, may be represented or accompanied by a reasonable number of personally chosen individuals, including legal counsel.
“That appears to meet the intent of the proposed provision.”
D 2821-2823 Report and Recommendations from the Admissions and Registration Committee Concerning the Coordinated Admissions Program (CAP). Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on January 23, 2004. Presented to the Faculty Council for discussion at its meeting on January 26, 2004. Recommendations revised by the committee on January 26, 2004. Approved by the Faculty Council at its meeting on March 22, 2004. Transmitted to the provost on March 23, 2004. Approved by the president and transmitted to the executive vice chancellor for academic affairs on June 9, 2004.
D 2827 Educational Policy Committee Report on Best Practices for Returning Grades Papers. Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on January 23, 2004. Presented to the Faculty Council at its meeting on January 26, 2004. No action by the Council is required at this time.
Calendar Committee Report on Concept of a Fall Break. Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on February 12, 2004. Presented to the Faculty Council at its meeting on February 16, 2004. No further action is required by the Council at this time.
D 2944-2945 Educational Policy Committee Proposal for Change in the University’s Honors Criteria. Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on February 12, 2004. Approved by the Faculty Council at its meeting on February 16, 2004. Transmitted to the provost on January 17, 2004. Approved by the provost on March 2, 2004. Approved by the president on May 20, 2004.
Recommendation for Change in the Handbook of Operating Procedures Concerning Disciplining of a Faculty Member — Cosponsored by the Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility and the Faculty Grievance Committee. Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on April 8, 2004. Approved by Faculty Council on April 12, 2004. Transmitted to the president on April 13, 2004. For additional references see D&P 16517-16519, D 2539-2541 and D 2360-2362.
D 3210 Calendar CommitteeProposal Concerning the Calendar for the Summer Freshman Class (SFC). Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on April 8, 2004. Approved by Faculty Council on April 12, 2004. Transmitted to the president on April 13, 2004. Approved by President Faulkner on July 16, 2004. (For background information see D 2936-2937.)
D 3276-3277 Educational Policy CommitteeResolution on the Legislative Requirement. Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on April 4, 2004. Approved by Faculty Council on May 10, 2004. Transmitted to the provost on May 12, 2004. See D 2826 for background information. Approved by the president and transmitted to Chancellor Mark G. Yudof on June 3, 2004.
Proposal for Change in the Policy for Dropping a Course. Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on April 3, 2004. Disapproved by the Faculty Council on May 10, 2004. No further action is required.
D 3281-3282 Proposed Revision of The Handbook of Operating Procedures 3.18 Regarding Discovery and the Rights of Parties when a Formal Hearing is to be Held. Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on April 4, 2004. Approved by Faculty Council on May 10, 2004. Transmitted to the president on May 12, 2004.
D 3358-3400 Annual Reports of the Standing Committees of the General Faculty for 2003-2004. Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on August 31, 2004. Transmitted to the president for review on September 9, 2004.