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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

FIFTH REGULAR MEETING OF THE FACULTY COUNCIL FOR 2004-2005

The University of Texas at Austin
Monday, February 21, 2005
Main Building, Room 212
2:15 P.M.


ORDER OF BUSINESS


I.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY (D 3712-3714) — Sue Alexander Greninger.
II.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES.

A. Minutes of the Faculty Council Meeting of January 24, 2005 (D 3723-3733 ).
III.
COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT — Larry R. Faulkner.

A. Comments by the President.

B. Question to the President.

From Janet Staiger (professor, radio-television-film). In recent grievances at the University of Texas, concerns have developed over the procedures used by administrators to determine facts. Specifically, when administrators hear about possible problems in classrooms and teaching, they will interview students in the course. These students have reported back to their faculty that they are often unsure what is the problem that seems to be driving the questions from the administrator, and they fear and resent that what they are saying is understood in ways other than they intend it.  It appears, for instance, administrators ask leading or vague questions. Students also have expressed violations of their personal relation between themselves and the faculty. Moreover, administrators have been providing the administrators' version of interviews for disciplinary purposes, but they do not ask the students to approve the written summaries. Finally, of course, faculty members have no opportunity to ask their questions of the students (and, in fact, have been told that they cannot contact the students about the matter), and faculty members also have to deal with increased tension in a classroom from the point that administrators start to do interviews.

While it is very important for administrators to follow up on possible problems at the University, it is also important (1) that students do not have their privacy violated by asking them questions that they may not wish to answer because they are not sure what might be the implications of any answers but also are afraid not to respond when asked by an administrator, (2) that the faculty member has his/her rights to due process protected, and (3) that the information that is secured from student interviews is accurate and fair. That at least is my view.

What is your view? What would you propose to protect all parties' interests? Perhaps a neutral interviewer with a tape recording? A signed statement from a student after the student is given a reasonable indication about what is being investigated as well as that the student does not have to respond to any questions?
IV.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR— Linda Reichl.

A. Report Ad-hoc Committee to study issues related to the change in ownership of Course Instructor Surveys.
V.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT —Alba A. Ortiz.

A. Report on Joint Meeting of the UT Faculty Council and Texas A&M Faculty Senate, Monday, March 28, 2005.

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VI.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS

A. Background report on the charge and composition of currently existing campus-wide committees devoted to information technology issues — Dan Updegrove (vice president for information technology services).

B. Committee on Committees recommendation to create an Information Technology Standing Committee of the General Faculty (D 3715-3716) — David Bogard (professor, mechanical engineering and past chair) on behalf of Larry Abraham (professor, curriculum and instruction and committee chair).

C. Revised Recommendation from the Committee on Committees to amend the Faculty Council rule governing eligibility for reappointment to Standing Committees (D 3717-3718) — David Bogard (professor, mechanical engineering and past committee chair) on behalf of Larry Abraham (professor, curriculum and instruction and committee chair).

D. Revised proposal for revision of The Handbook of Operating Procedures 3.18 regarding discovery and the rights of parties when a formal hearing is to be held (D 3719-3720) — Sue Heinzelman (associate professor, English and Grievance Committee chair).

E. Proposal for language to be added to The Handbook of Operating Procedures 3.18 addressing provost’s role in grievance procedures (D 3721-3722) — Sue Heinzelman (associate professor, English and Grievance Committee chair).
F. Revision of the recommendation for change in The Handbook of Operating Procedures concerning disciplining of a faculty member (D 3734-3736) — Sue Heinzelman (associate professor, English and Grievance Committee chair).
VII.
REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEES — None.
VIII.
NEW BUSINESS — None.
IX.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS.

A. Nomination phase of the electronic elections of the General Faculty to the Faculty Council – March 1 through March 11.

B. UT Faculty Council and Texas A&M Faculty Senate – March 28, 2005, UT Alumni Center .

C. Final election phase of the General Faculty to the Faculty Council – March 29 through April 8.

D. Tentative move date for the Office of the General Faculty and Faculty Council from FAC 22 to WMB 2.102 – April 11through April 15.
X.
QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR.
XI.
ADJOURNMENT.


<signed>

Sue A. Greninger, Secretary
The Faculty Council


Distributed through the Faculty Council Web site on February 18, 2005. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.