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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

SECRETARY'S REPORT

February 16, 2004

I. COMMENTS — None.

II. MEMORIAL RESOLUTION COMMITTEES APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT.

On December 8, 2003, President Faulkner appointed the following committee to prepare a memorial resolution for Paul David Gottlieb, professor, biological sciences: Karen J. Artzt (chair), Ian J. Molineux, and Jaquelin P. Dudley.

On January 30, 2004, President Faulkner appointed the following committee to prepare a memorial resolution for Karl K. Klein, professor emeritus, kinesiology and health education: Charles Craven (chair), Roger P. Farrar, Rosemary Slacks, and Waneen Spirduso.

On February 2, 2004, President Faulkner appointed the following committee to prepare a memorial resolution for Chester L. Chiles, professor emeritus, social work: Michael L. Lauderdale (chair), Diana M. DiNitto, and Jim Schwab.

On February 9, 2004, President Faulkner appointed the following committee to prepare a memorial resolution for Willis A. Adcock, professor emeritus, electrical and computer engineering: Sanjay K. Banerjee (chair), David F. Beer, and Earl E. Swartzlander.

III. MEMORIAL RESOLUTIONS COMPLETED — None.

IV. CHANGES IN MEMBERSHIP OF THE FACULTY COUNCIL — None.

V. STATUS OF LEGISLATION APPROVED BY THE FACULTY COUNCIL OR THE GENERAL FACULTY.

A. ITEMS COMPLETED SINCE THE LAST REPORT.

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. The revision resulted from discussions between the administration and the Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility chair. Transmitted to the provost on May 7, 2003. Transmitted to the president through the provost in November 2003. (See D 2360-2362.) Disapproved by the president on February 4, 2004., with the following comments:

“The proposed procedures are problematic in several ways.
“1. The scope of the proposed policy is too broad as written. In the second paragraph, for example, “significant policy violations” are defined as


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  …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.

“2. 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.

“3. 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.

“6. 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."

B. ITEMS UNDER REVIEW BY THE BOARD OF REGENTS — None.

C. ITEMS UNDER REVIEW BY THE TEXAS HIGHER EDUCATION COORDINATING BOARD.

D 1140-1142 Proposal to Create a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Mathematics and Science, Option I:


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  Middle Grades Teaching in the College of Natural Sciences Chapter of The Undergraduate Catalog, 2000-2002. Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on February 21, 2001. Approved by the Faculty Council on a no-protest basis on March 9, 2001. Transmitted to the president through the provost on March 12, 2001. Transmitted to the executive vice chancellor for academic affairs on June 11, 2001. Approved by the executive vice chancellor and transmitted to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on November 30, 2001. Disapproved on December 18, 2001, by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board because it did not meet Coordinating Board requirements. Notice of non-approval was received in the Office of the General Faculty on January 15, 2003. A copy of the letter with reasons for disapproval is on file in the Office of the General Faculty. On February 10, 2003, notice was received from the College of Natural Sciences that the Coordinating Board was reconsidering its disapproval. On the Coordinating Board's Web site, the proposal is listed as pending.

D. ITEMS UNDER REVIEW BY THE OFFICE OF THE CHANCELLOR — None.

E. ITEMS UNDER REVIEW BY THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT.

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 the 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."


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In a memorandum dated August 19, 2002, the provost made the following comments:

"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.

F. ITEMS REFERRED BY THE PRESIDENT TO THE PROVOST FOR REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATION.

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 through the provost on March 18, 2003.

D 2517-2519 Proposed Changes in the Requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Science. Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on a no-protest basis on May 7, 2003. Approved by the Faculty Council on a no-protest basis on May 16, 2003. Transmitted to the president through the provost on May 20, 2003.

D 2808-2810 Proposed Changes in the Requirements for Graduation with Special Honors in Art History in the College of Fine Arts Chapter of The Undergraduate Catalog, 2004-2006. Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on January 15, 2004. Approved by the Faculty Council on a no-protest basis on January 23, 2004. Transmitted to the provost on January 28, 2004.

VI. LEGISLATION UNDER REVIEW BY THE GENERAL FACULTY — None.

VII. LEGISLATION UNDER REVIEW BY THE FACULTY COUNCIL.

D 2936-2937 Summer Freshman Class Calendar (SFC). Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on February 11, 2004. To be presented to the Faculty Council for discussion at its meeting on February 16, 2004.

D 2943 Report on Fall Break. Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on February 11, 2004. To be presented to the Faculty Council for discussion at its meeting on February 16, 2004.

D 2844-2845 Educational Policy Committee Proposal for Change in the University Honors Criteria. Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on February 11, 2004. To be presented to the Faculty Council for action at its meeting on February 16, 2004.

VIII. STATUS OF LEGISLATION NOT APPROVED BY THE FACULTY COUNCIL OR THE GENERAL FACULTY.

A. ITEMS DISAPPROVED, TABLED, OR WITHDRAWN — None.


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VIII.
B. ITEMS UNDER REVIEW BY STANDING COMMITTEES — None.

D&P 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.” 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.

 
C. ITEMS UNDER REVIEW BY OTHER COMMITTEES — None.

IX. SPECIAL COMMITTEES APPOINTED — None.



<Signed>

Sue A. Greninger, Secretary
The Faculty Council


Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on February 12, 2004. Paper copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.