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Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of May 9, 2005.


Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty

May 9, 2005

The eighth regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 2004-2005 was held in the Main Building, Room 212, Monday, May 9, 2005, at 2:30 p.m.


Present: Lawrence D. Abraham, Jacqueline L. Angel, Peter R. Antoniewicz, Matthew J. Bailey, Gerard H. Béhague, Patrick L. Brockett, Cynthia J. Buckley, Douglas C. Burger, Patricia A. Carter, Janet M. Davis, James W. Deitrick, John D. Dollard, Lester L. Faigley, Jeanne Freeland-Graves, Wolfgang Frey, Thomas J. Garza, John C. (Jack) Gilbert, Linda L. Golden, Michael H. Granof, Sue A. Greninger, Marvin L. Hackert, John J. Hasenbein, James L. Hill, Martha F. Hilley, Archie L. Holmes, James O. Jirsa, Robert C. Koons, Desiderio Kovar, Dominic L. Lasorsa, William S. Livingston, Erik D. Malmberg, Glenn Y. Masada, Rachel C. McGinity, Kate Nanney, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Alba A. Ortiz, Irene Owens, Bruce P. Palka, Theodore E. Pfeifer, Linda E. Reichl, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, Victoria Rodriguez, John J. Ruszkiewicz, M. Michael Sharlot, Janet Staiger, Pauline T. Strong, Angela Valenzuela, James W. Vick, Paul B. Woodruff.

Absent:Ricardo C. Ainslie (excused), Dean J. Almy, Efraim P. Armendariz, Hans C. Boas, Pascale R. Bos (excused), Teresa Graham Brett (excused), Brent Chaney, Patricia L. Clubb, Miles L. Crismon (excused), Andrew P. Dillon, Richard B. Eason, Sheldon Ekland-Olson (excused), James L. Erskine, Larry R. Faulkner (excused), Kenneth Flamm (excused), Richard R. Flores, Maria Franklin, Robert Freeman, Alan W. Friedman (excused), George W. Gau, Philip A. Guerrero, Donald A. Hale, Roderick P. Hart, Thomas M. Hatfield, Fred M. Heath, Kevin P. Hegarty, Susan S. Heinzelman, Neville Hoad, Bobby R. Inman, Joni L. Jones, Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Martin W. Kevorkian, Robert D. King (excused), Nancy P. Kwallek (excused), Richard W. Lariviere, Desmond F. Lawler (excused), Steven W. Leslie, Noah S. Lowenstein, Daniel J. MacDonald, Paul A. Navratil, Dean P. Neikirk, Edward W. (Ted) Odell (excused), Thomas G. Palaima, Marcus G. Pandy (excused), Anthony J. Petrosino, William C. Powers, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Juan M. Sanchez, Dolores Sands, David W. Springer (excused), Patrick N. Staha, Frederick R. Steiner, Michael B. Stoff (excused), Ben G. Streetman, Daniel A. Updegrove, N. Bruce Walker, Gwendolyn Webb-Johnson, Alexandria K. Wettlaufer, Barbara W. White, Karin G. Wilkins (excused).

Voting Members:
Non-Voting Members:
Total Members:



The written report appears in D 3952-3956. There were no questions or comments.


The minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of April 11, 2005 (D 3958-3968) were approved by voice vote.


A. Comments by the President — None.

Chair Linda Reichl (professor, physics) announced that President Faulkner was out-of-town and unable to attend the meeting.

B. Question to the President — None.


Chair Reichl reminded everyone that the Faculty Council had learned in fall 2004 that the University’s Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) had not been updated with regard to grievance procedures passed and approved back in the 1980s. She said the changes from the 1980s had now been incorporated into the HOP, and she thought a fully revised, up-to-date, and readable version would be available once President Faulkner approves the grievance legislation endorsed by the Council this year.

Chair Reichl said President Faulkner had approved the Jackson School proposal that recommended the school be a separate entity and forwarded it to the University of Texas System despite the Council’s vote at the April meeting that the Jackson School should remain in the College of Natural Sciences. However, she said the Council’s vote was important so she had sent the transcripts of the debate to the system. She said the Faculty Council’s concerns about the divergence of the proposed structure and composition of the Jackson School’s promotion and tenure committee had also been passed on to the University of Texas System Faculty Advisory Committee, and she thought the committee might consider this issue because of the precedent such a change could pose for all universities in the UT System.


Chair Elect Alba Ortiz (special education) asked everyone to join in a round of applause to thank Chair Reichl for “the wonderful job she has done” this year in leading the Council through difficult issues and very full agendas.  She complimented Chair Reichl for her diplomacy, tact, and sense of humor during tense moments.  Chair Elect Ortiz presented Chair Reichl with a snow globe of the UT campus as a token of the Council’s appreciation for her efforts in seeing that the Council’s work progressed effectively and efficiently throughout the year. Chair Reichl said it had been an honor to serve as chair, and she thought the Council had left the University a little better than when the year began.  She said she thought the committees were functioning more efficiently than in prior years and had solved some problems.


A. Proposal recommending the continuation and expansion of the Bridging Disciplines Program (BDP) as an interdisciplinary certificate program (D 3787-3788).


  Professor Archie Holmes (electrical and computer engineering and Educational Policy Committee chair) said Executive Vice President and Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson had asked his committee to review the BDP.  After saying the committee felt the program was positively influencing interdisciplinary education at UT, Professor Holmes moved that the Faculty Council recommend continuation and expansion of the BDP as an interdisciplinary certificate program at the University. Since there were no further questions or comments, Chair Reichl called for the vote, and the motion unanimously passed.

B. Resolution endorsing the recommendation for the Task Force on Enrollment Strategy limiting undergraduate students to a maximum of ten long semesters in residence to complete a baccalaureate degree (D 3789-3790).

Professor Holmes said the Educational Policy Committee supported the Task Force on Enrollment Strategy’s recommendation to limit undergraduates to a maximum of ten long semesters to complete baccalaureate degrees with exceptions allowed at the discretion of the deans. He said the committee also recommended that the provost establish an implementation task force for the ten-semester limit since his committee did not have time to consider specific policies and procedures. He then moved that the Faculty Council endorse the recommendations proposed by his committee in item D 3789-3790.

When Professor Doug Burger (computer sciences) asked if the deans had been consulted about this proposed policy change, Professor Holmes said they had not. Professor Larry Abraham (curriculum and instruction; kinesiology and health education) said the issue that concerned him was the impact this change would have on students whose circumstances allowed only part-time enrollment. When he asked if the committee thought the blanket authorization for deans to deal with these situations on a college-by-college basis would suffice or if specific University-wide guidelines were needed, Professor Holmes said the committee expected these issues to be addressed by the implementation task force. When Professor Janet Staiger (radio-television-film) asked for clarification regarding the minimum number of semester hours needed for full-time enrollment, Professor Holmes said twelve hours were required for financial aid eligibility, but he did not think there was a minimum for students who were not receiving financial aid. Professor Pauline Strong (anthropology/women’s studies) pointed out that the Educational Policy Committee had been asked to look at a series of recommendations primarily designed to expedite graduation rates in order for larger number of students to enroll at UT Austin.

When Professor Abraham asked if the consequences of a student not meeting the ten-semester limit would be dismissal or if other measures, such as increased tuition rates or special standing, would be considered, Professor Holmes said the implementation task force would consider these matters. He said his committee had looked at what other institutions were doing, and some were requiring completion of degree requirements during summers or were adding 25-30% to tuition costs for semesters beyond the prescribed limit. He said he assumed the implementation task force’s specific recommendations would have to come back through a committee of the Faculty Council for consideration.

Professor Paul Woodruff (philosophy/Plan II) said he had voted for the recommendation in the Educational Policy Committee, but he thought such a limit would be unfair to students unless degree requirements were thoroughly reviewed throughout the University. He said degree requirements in certain areas at UT Austin were excessive when compared to those of peer universities.

Professor Staiger said she favored moving people through at a reasonable rate, but she was very sympathetic to students who experience financial or personal problems. She was concerned about inequities and variability based on different deans’ attitudes and concerns about enrollment pressures when considering waiver requests. She said she approved the underlying theory but preferred to make approval contingent on the actual recommendations coming from the


  implementation task force to the Faculty Council. She said she was not certain the waiver decisions should reside with the deans and wanted there to be equity in how different colleges handled waivers. Professor Holmes responded that members of his committee shared the same concerns.

Professor Bruce Palka (mathematics) said the Task Force on Enrollment Strategy did not have time to deal with the specific issues involved in its many recommendations, but there had been great emphasis placed on the need for curriculum review and the development of an efficient system for advising students about their degree program status. When Professor Martha Hilley (music) suggested that the implementation task force include heavy involvement of student deans from across campus, Professor Holmes agreed the student deans should have a “voice at the table.”

Professor Abraham proposed an amendment to the motion asking the provost to establish an implementation task force for the ten-semester limit and then report the recommendations of the task force back to the Faculty Council. When Chair Reichl asked if Professor Holmes would accept Professor Abraham’s amendment as a friendly one or as a substitute, Professor Holmes said he would. Chair Reichl then called for the vote on the amendment or substitute motion, which passed by voice vote with one person voting against the motion.  After some discussion about parliamentary procedure, Chair Reichl said a vote was needed on the amended motion as recommended by the Educational Policy Committee. The amended motion, which included that the provost create an implementation task force for the ten-semester limit and report its recommendations back to the Faculty Council, passed unanimously by voice vote.

C. Proposal recommending that University grade point average be based on in residence grade point average (D 3791).

Professor Holmes said that the Educational Policy Committee had concluded that academic decisions throughout the University were not based on the same grade point average (GPA) calculation, and the committee members believed a standardized measure should be adopted. He then moved that the Faculty Council recommend that all academic decisions related to a University GPA, including scholarships, honors, graduation, and probation and dismissal, use the “in residence” GPA for courses completed at UT Austin.

Speaking in favor of the motion, Professor Palka pointed out that a resolution (D 77-81) was passed by the Faculty Council in November 1999 that stated, “That The University of Texas at Austin continue to award credit by examination either with letter grades or with the symbol CR but that letter grades for credit by examination not be counted in a student’s UT Austin grade point average.” Noting that President Faulkner had not acted on the Faculty Council Executive Committee’s 2001 re-affirmation of the motion, Professor Palka asked how the new motion differed in substance from the previous one and whether there was any expectation that the president would approve the new motion. Professor Holmes said the new motion did not seek to change the definition of the University GPA, which includes credit-by-exam scores.  He said the new motion recommends that academic decisions at UT Austin be based on courses taken in residence at the University. When Professor Palka asked if the GPA on a student’s transcript would seem “in some sense a fraudulent GPA” if it differed from the internal GPA used for academic decisions regarding scholarships, honors, graduation, probation, and dismissal, Professor Holmes said he thought the transcript GPA would be “different” but he would not call it “fraudulent.” When Professor Palka asked if the University GPA would then be the one reported to the outside world, such as graduate schools, Professor Holmes said, although the specific question raised by Professor Palka had not been discussed by the committee, he thought that Professor Palka’s perception was correct. Saying that one of the few powers of the faculty was to determine the quality of the degrees granted by the University, Professor Palka said he did not want the faculty to “cede the stewardship to the Educational Testing Service or any other body.”


  Professor Palka then said he would vote for the present motion since it was “a step in the right direction.” 

Kate Nanney (student representative) reported that the Senate of College Councils had supported the 1999 amendment and also supported the current amendment. Vice President Jim Vick (mathematics and student affairs) pointed out that the current proposal went further than the 1999 motion by eliminating correspondence study from inclusion in the GPA calculation. He said the 1999 proposal referred strictly to advanced placement and testing by exam.  When Professor Palka asked if Charles Roeckle would comment on the current motion’s chances of being approved by President Faulkner, Deputy Roeckle said he would defer to the president on the issue. Chair Reichl then called for the vote on the motion recommending that academic decisions at UT Austin be based on the in residence GPA.  The motion passed by voice vote with one member objecting


Proposal recommending the elimination of the table of scholastic standards and changing the criteria for probation and dismissal (D 3792-3795).

Saying his committee agreed with the student deans that this proposed change regarding student probation and dismissal would facilitate earlier intervention for undergraduates having academic problems, Professor Holmes moved that the Council endorse the recommendations in D 3792-3795.  He said the proposed change would apply to the grade records of students during matriculation at UT Austin including their first semester as freshmen.

Drawing on his past experiences as a student dean, Vice President Jim Vick said he recalled that it was not that unusual for a student to gradually work out of probationary status over a period of semesters. He said he would like to see statistics on how many students were on probation for more than one semester and was concerned that this major change could result in a larger number of student dismissals than in the past. He said he would also like to know the percentage of students who had succeeded after being on probation as opposed to being dismissed and not returning to the University. Vice President Vick also discounted the argument regarding early intervention, saying there was nothing to stop such intervention when a student was on probation for the first time. He did acknowledge there might be somewhat less leverage in getting students to come in for assistance under the current system. Professor Holmes said he did not have statistics that addressed the questions raised by Vice President Vick and had no way to know if the policy change would result in increased dismissals. He said he thought the student deans were seeking a mechanism to call students in for assessment and assistance. Since there were no further questions or comments, Chair Reichl called for the vote on the motion, and it passed by voice vote.

E. Recommendations for change in the readmission after second dismissal policy (D 3796-3797).

Explaining this proposed change would allow undergraduate students only one chance to succeed after being away from the University for three calendar years following second dismissal, Professor Urton Anderson (accounting and Admissions and Registration Committee chair) moved that the Faculty Council endorse the recommendations included in D 3796-3797. He said approximately 4,800 students over a ten-year period had been granted admission after second dismissals. Since there were no questions or comments, Chair Reichl called for a voice vote, and the motion unanimously passed.

F. Recommendations for change in enrollment as a nondegree seeker policy (D 3798-3800).

Saying data on the number of nondegree seekers enrolled at the University on a continuing basis were not currently available and the proposed change regarding enrollment of nondegree seeking students would provide this needed information, Professor Anderson moved that the Faculty Council endorse the recommendations in D 3798-3800. When Professor Abraham asked if the degree holders who seek certification through the College of Education would need to be reviewed


  after two semesters of enrollment, Professor Anderson said the committee had determined that most of the certification programs were completed in two semesters. He said the committee did not intend for the process to interfere with certification programs, but the college would need to review student petitions after two semesters of enrollment. Since there were no further questions or comments, Chair Reichl called for a voice vote; the motion unanimously passed.

G. Recommendation for change in the Coordinated Admissions Program (CAP) Policy (D 3801-3803).

Professor Anderson reported that CAP transfers consumed 873 of the 1,700 external transfers last year to UT Austin. He said his committee was asking the Faculty Council to endorse the motion that whenever the admission through the CAP exceeds 60% of the total external undergraduate transfer admissions, the GPA, course load, and curriculum requirements for admission through CAP should be reviewed so this wording could be inserted in the undergraduate catalog. Since there were no further questions or comments on the motion, Chair Reichl called for a voice vote; the motion unanimously passed.

H. Recommendation for increasing the number of transfer credit required for admission from twenty-four to thirty semester credit hours (D 3804-3805).

Professor Anderson said his committee thought the credit hour requirement for other transfer students should be consistent with that required of CAP students.  Therefore, he moved that the Faculty Council endorse his committee’s recommendation that the University increase the number of completed credit hours required for transfers from twenty-four to thirty. Since there were no further questions or comment, Chair Reichl called for a voice vote and the motion unanimously passed.
I. Proposal to improve course availability for undergraduates (D 3835-3837).

Professor Holmes reported his committee’s proposed motion related to two recommendations made by the Task Force on Enrollment Strategy to improve course availability for undergraduate students.  Due to an unintended omission, he said he was making a friendly amendment to his committee’s original motion to add the symbol F to the lists of possible outcomes in items 2c and 2d. He said faculty members can currently assign grades of F when dropping students from their courses, and the committee had not intended for this to be changed. The motion after the amendment was added was as follows:
1. Create a new symbol, N, which is assigned when a student drops a class for a documented, non-academic reason.
2. Adopt the following add and drop policy for all undergraduate courses:
(a) For courses that meet during the first four class days of the semester, students will be permitted to drop a course, without penalty, untilmidnight on the fourth class day of the semester. Students will be permitted to add a course untilmidnight on the fifth class dayof the semester.
(b) For courses that do not meet during the first four class days of the semester, students will be permitted to drop a course, without penalty, until midnight on the day that the class first meets. Students will be permitted to add a course until midnight on theday after the first class meeting day of the semester.
(c) Between the fourth class day and the mid-semester deadline, students who drop a course will receive either a symbol of F, Q or N.
(d) After the mid-semester deadline, students may only drop a course for a substantial, non-academic reason. These drops will receive a symbol of F or N.
3. Require faculty to provide students a course syllabus by the first meeting day of all classes. This syllabus must contain the following items: grading policy for the course, including whether class attendance is used in determining the course grade; due dates for assignments


  that count 20% or more of the total course grade; and a list of required textbooks for the course.
4. Adopt the following course repeat policy for all undergraduate courses. No student may enroll in any course (except those that may be repeated for credit when topics vary) more than twice, even if the course is needed to meet degree requirements, unless all of the following conditions are met:
(a) A symbol of N or W was assigned at least one of the two times the student has enrolled in the course.
(b) Written consent for the third attempt has been obtained from the student’s major adviser.
(c) Written consent for the third attempt has been obtained from the department offering the course.
5. A student who has received three Qs must have documented, non-academic reasons for any additional drops after the fourth class day of the semester.

Professor Holmes said the first proposed change allowed better differentiation between drops for non-academic and other reasons. The second proposed change would encourage earlier drops and enable students to add courses where seats are available in a more timely manner than the current policy allows. The third proposed change would allow students to assess the content and requirements of courses in a timely manner. Although students can petition to repeat courses a third time, the fourth proposed change was designed to limit repeated enrollment in the same course to two times unless the student withdrew or dropped for a documented non-academic reason. Although the overwhelming majority of students have no more than two Q drops, the intent of the fifth proposed change was to limit excessive Q drops unless there were documented non-academic reasons.

When Eric Malmberg asked if the requirement of a first day syllabus would apply to graduate and undergraduate courses, Professor Holmes said it would apply to only the latter. Mr. Malmberg said he would like the policy forwarded to the Graduate Assembly for consideration if the recommendation were adopted.

When Professor Marvin Hackert (chemistry and biochemistry) asked if the proposal would effectively change the official enrollment day from the twelfth to the fifth day of the semester, Professor Holmes said it would not. He said committee members thought it was unfair to allow students to add courses significantly later than the fourth-class day and still expect them to be successful.

When Professor Abraham asked if the N symbol represented a non-academic drop and a W would still be used if the student withdrew from the University, Professor Holmes said these descriptions were correct. He clarified that a Q would signify that a student dropped the class but did not provide a documented non-academic reason. When Professor Abraham asked for clarification between academic and non-academic reasons, Professor Holmes said that the committee had discussed the meaning of Ns and Ws but not Qs. When Professor Abraham asked if having insufficient time to complete course requirements due to work or other activities were an academic or non-academic reason, Professor Holmes said it would be up to a dean’s discretion. Although that was the current situation, Professor Holmes said the committee thought it would helpful to differentiate the two as documented by the deans. Since there were no further comments on the proposed changes, Chair Reichl summarized the main points covered by the motion and called for the vote; the motion passed by voice vote with one member voting against the motion.

J. Proposal to change the definition of University Honors (D 3838-3840).

After some confusion occurred regarding the agenda order for the remaining recommendations from the Educational Policy Committee, Professor Holmes explained that he had unintentionally


  skipped the item regarding merit scholarships. Saying his committee members did not see the need to have University honors based on a fifteen-semester hour enrollment requirement, Professor Holmes said the committee had decided to recommend the enrollment requirement for University Honors be the same fourteen-semester credit hours used as the basis for flat rate tuition. He moved that the Faculty Council endorse the definitions for University Honors and Distinguished College Scholars as recommended by his committee in D 3838-3840.

Executive Vice President Steve Monti said he didn’t think the number of hours chosen for honors should be tied to fourteen because it was unrelated to actual number of hours that students take. He though it was a good idea to encourage students to take as many hours as possible since this would make the flat rate tuition work in their favor. Chair Reichl asked if there were other comments; since there were none, she summarized the motion and called for the vote. When no one voted and it was again clarified that the proposal under discussion pertained to the honors recommendation in D 3838-3840, Professor John Dollard (mathematics and Graduate Studies) proposed an amendment that the requirement for honors be changed to fifteen credit hours per semester to encourage students to complete their degrees in four years. Professor Holmes said he thought that the number of four-hour courses offered across campus made the fourteen-hour requirement a good idea. He pointed out that a student who was taking two four-hour courses and two three-hour courses would only meet the fourteen-hour requirement and would have to take a seventeen-hour course load to be eligible for honors if the fifteen-hour requirement were adopted. Professor Abraham said he liked to encourage students to take an average of fifteen hours per semester, but he felt that requiring fourteen hours on a semester-by-semester basis to qualify for University Honors was appropriate. When Professor Dollard asked if the motion required an average enrollment of fourteen hours or enrollment in fourteen hours every single semester, Professor Holmes said that eligibility for University Honors required enrollment in fourteen or more hours every semester. Vice President Vick then asked for clarification regarding whether a student had to be enrolled for fourteen hours every semester at the University to be eligible for honors. Professor Holmes clarified that University Honors were a per-semester award based on one semester’s work; he said students taking fourteen or more hours were eligible to receive University Honors if they meet the requisite GPA requirement. However, to be Distinguished College Scholars, students must have enrolled in fourteen or more hours during both their current and previous semesters as well as met GPA requirements. Professor Holmes pointed out that the fourteen-hour requirement would not apply if a student were graduating that semester and needed fewer than fourteen hours to meet graduation requirement. Professor Strong said the Educational Policy Committee thought it might be confusing for students to have different credit hour requirements for honors, financial aid, and flat rate tuition.

Chair Reichl called for a vote on the amendment to change the semester credit hours in the original motion from fourteen to fifteen; the amendment failed by voice vote. She then called for a voice vote on the original motion from the Educational Policy Committee that would base honors eligibility on fourteen-semester credit hour enrollment. The motion passed by voice vote.

K. Proposal to require fifteen or more hours for merit-based scholarships (D 3843-3844).

Professor Holmes then returned to the recommendation that had been skipped.  He said his committee did not support the Task Force on Enrollment Strategy’s proposed recommendation that merit-based scholarship recipients be required to enroll in a minimum of fifteen semester credit hours per semester. He said the Educational Policy Committee members felt that the scholarship providers should determine the number of hours required for their specific scholarships. The motion from the committee was that the Faculty Council should not endorse this task force recommendation. After commenting on the negative nature of the motion, Chair Reichl asked if the motion could be renamed a resolution. Executive Vice President Monti thought the motion should be made into a resolution because, if the original motion failed, no action could be taken. Professor Holmes said he would make a friendly amendment to change the motion into a


  resolution. Chair Reichl called for the vote on the resolution, saying that an affirmative vote signified that one did not support the task force’s recommendation to increase the minimum number of semester credit hours required for merit scholarships to fifteen. The resolution passed by voice vote with two members voting against it. 

L. Proposal to restrict the number of times a student can apply for an internal transfer (D 3841-3842).

Professor Holmes moved that the Faculty Council endorse his committee’s recommendations in agenda item D 3841-3842 to restrict internal transfers between colleges/schools after completion of sixty hours of coursework in residence or four semesters in residence at the University unless a dean granted an exception. He said that Professor Desmond Lawler (civil engineering), who could not attend the Council meeting, had objected to the recommendation because it conflicted with a particular situation in the College of Engineering. Students in the college must complete the first half of their coursework with a requisite GPA in order to continue in the program. Some students complete four semesters and do not meet the GPA requirement, and Professor Lawler was concerned about what would happen to those students when they could not transfer to another college because they had exceeded the maximum allowed in the proposal. Professor Holmes said the Educational Policy Committee had addressed this situation by including the provision for petitions in the proposed recommendation. Professor Palka said he thought the petitioning requirement was the correct strategy because the Task Force on Enrollment Strategy had found the major factors in non-timely graduation of students were repeated transfers and the inability to choose career paths. He pointed out that the proposed change did not make it impossible for students to transfer from college to college; it just made it more difficult. Professor Palka said he thought engineering needed to decide earlier regarding student continuation in the college than is currently done.

Professor Paul Woodruff (philosophy and Plan II) said he agreed with Professor Palka and thought that there were large numbers of students in holding patterns across campus, who were attempting to raise their grades in order transfer to more selective colleges. He said the College of Business had adopted a fairly restrictive internal transfer policy, and he thought the University needed a policy on this matter. Professor Woodruff said the committee members felt strongly that a clear message needed to be sent to students, advisors, and the colleges that majors needed to be decided by the third year of undergraduate study. He said students who don’t decide on their majors by the third year usually are unable to graduate on time; they clog the system and take spaces that other students need. He concluded by saying that the University needs to make a commitment to improve and expedite student advising about major selection to improve graduation rates.

Professor Burger asked what the deans thought about receiving increased numbers of student transfer petitions and if it matter how often student transferred as long as they graduated within the ten-semester time limit. Professor Holmes said the student dean from engineering was on the Educational Policy Committee, and he didn’t seem to be concerned about the number of petitions; however, he acknowledged that this was only one data point. With regard to the second question, Professor Holmes said he thought the committee basically believed the transfer recommendation was needed in addition to the ten-semester limit. He said the transfer restriction would require a dean to assess whether the transfer request was timely enough that the ten-semester limit could be met. Since there were no further questions or comments, Chair Reichl called for a voice vote, and the motion unanimously passed.


A. Update from the ad hoc Committee on Course Instructor Surveys.

Committee Chair Marvin Hackert summarized the history of the Council’s involvement with the course-instructor survey from the mid-1990s when a committee was appointed to review survey



issues. He said the core of recommendations in a Faculty Council document passed in 1999, as a result of that committee’s work, focused on the concern and intent that students, teachers, and administrators all benefit from processes that were informative, efficient, and fair. He said the 2005 survey review committee members were concerned that aspects pertaining to the efficiency and fairness of the survey and its results had been lost over time. Professor Hackert said the 1999 document concluded that the written comments from students on the evaluation forms were not governed by the open records regulations that applied to the bubbled-in responses by students to standardized questions on the survey. He said the members of the current review committee believed the written comments were offered and received as private acts of communication between the student and the faculty member. He said current review committee members thought the privacy of both the students and faculty members should be respected and preserved and, therefore, the timing and procedures regarding the release of survey results were extremely important. Professor Hackert said increased access to and use of the survey results, particularly the written comments, by the UT Austin administrators had been reported during the past year to the Faculty Council Executive Committee. In addition, a legal opinion was issued this past year stating that the course-instructor surveys, including the written comments by students, were official University documents to use for official University purposes. This means that the Texas Open Records Act, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the University Records and Retention Schedule apply to both the written student comments and the bubbled-in responses on the evaluation forms. As a result, anyone from the public can request access to the evaluation results, and actual records must be retained for ten years for this purpose. According to Professor Hackert, the current review committee felt that these changes had diminished the original intent of the surveys to provide feedback to instructors so they could improve their teaching and facilitate successful student learning.

Although the current committee is not yet ready to make final recommendations to the Faculty Council, Professor Hackert said the committee was leaning toward a recommendation that there should be a separation in the methods used to collect the responses to the standardized survey questions and the written statements from students. He said the committee felt the written comments were helpful in encouraging improved student-faculty interaction and learning; however, if this feedback were solicited separately from the University’s official course-instructor survey and on a voluntary basis, the economic impact of record storage could be reduced. Professor Hackert said one idea under consideration by the committee was to modify the official course-instructor survey form by excluding the section for written comments. Faculty members who wanted to solicit student comments would be encouraged to use alternate means, such as two-part forms, a class activity, or an on-line tool such as Blackboard. Faculty members would need to understand that if they kept the comments, the documents would be subject to FERPA and open record’s regulations; however, since the comments would not be part of the official University survey, they could be destroyed after the faculty member read the students feedback and suggestions.

In addition to these policy issues, Professor Hackert said his committee was studying procedural issues, such the use of on-line surveys. He said the committee had met with Chuck Gaede (associate director, Measurement and Evaluation Center) and Judy Ashcroft (associate vice president, Division of Instructional Innovation and Assessment) about these matters. In addition, the UT System Faculty Advisory Council was planning to survey its member institutions about their course-instructor survey procedures and concerns. He concluded by saying his committee’s goal was to present its report and recommendations to the Faculty Council at the beginning of the 2005 fall semester; therefore, the committee would welcome comments and suggestions as it worked over the summer months.



A. Nominations for Intercollegiate Athletics Councils and for the University Co-op Board of Directors (D 3941-3942).

Chair Reichl announced the Faculty Council Executive Committee’s recommended lists of nominees for potential appointment by President Faulkner to the athletics councils and the Co-op Board of Directors as presented in D 3941-3942. She asked if there were additional nominations from the floor.  Since there were none, she moved that the Faculty Council approve the list of nominees as submitted. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved by voice vote.

B. Cancellation of Summer Meetings of the Faculty Council (D 3936).

On behalf of the Faculty Council Executive Committee, Secretary Greninger (human ecology) moved that the summer meetings scheduled for June, July, and August 2005 be cancelled, with the understanding that special meetings will be called if warranted.  The motion was seconded and unanimously approved by voice vote.

C. Approval of Meeting Dates 2005-2006 (D 3937).

On behalf of the Faculty Council Executive Committee, Secretary Greninger moved that the schedule of meeting dates for the 2005-2006 Faculty Council be approved, with the understanding that changes might be required. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved by voice vote.


A. The offices of the General Faculty, Faculty Council, and the Faculty Ombudsperson have moved from FAC 22 to WMB 2.102.

B. Standing Committee chairs should submit formal committee reports to the Office of the General Faculty by May 16.



Chair Reichl adjourned the meeting at 3:52 p.m.

Distributed through the Faculty Council Web site on June 20, 2005. Transcripts of the Faculty Council meetings and copies of these minutes are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, WMB 2.102, F9500.