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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of September 27, 2004.

<signed>

Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty

 

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF
SEPTEMBER 27, 2004

The first regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 2004-2005 was held in the Main Building, Room 212, Monday, September 27, 2004, at 2:15 p.m.


ATTENDANCE.

Present: Lawrence D. Abraham, Dean J. Almy, Jacqueline L. Angel, Peter R. Antoniewicz, Efraim P. Armendariz, Patricia C. Avant, Matthew J. Bailey, Gerard H. Béhague, Patrick L. Brockett, Douglas C. Burger, Brent Chaney, Miles L. Crismon, John D. Dollard, James L. Erskine, Lester L. Faigley, Kenneth Flamm, Maria Franklin, Jeanne H. Freeland-Graves, Alan W. Friedman, Thomas J. Garza, John C. (Jack) Gilbert, William P. Glade, Linda L. Golden, Michael H. Granof, Sue A. Greninger, Marvin L. Hackert, John J. Hasenbein, Susan S. Heinzelman, James L. Hill, Martha F. Hilley, Neville Hoad, Archie L. Holmes, James O. Jirsa, Joni L. Jones, Martin W. Kevorkian, Robert D. King, Robert C. Koons, Desiderio Kovar, Dominic L. Lasorsa, Desmond F. Lawler, Noah S. Lowenstein, Daniell J. MacDonald, Erik D. Malmberg, Glenn Y. Masada, Rachel C. McGinity, Paul A. Navratil, Dean P. Neikirk, Roth A. Nelson, Edward W. (Ted) Odell, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Alba A. Ortiz, Irene Owens, Thomas G. Palaima, Bruce P. Palka, Anthony J. Petrosino, Theodore E. Pfeifer, Linda E. Reichl, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, John J. Ruszkiewicz, M. Michael Sharlot, David W. Springer, Patrick N. Staha, Janet Staiger, Michael B. Stoff, Pauline T. Strong, James W. Vick, N. Bruce Walker, Gwendolyn Webb-Johnson, Alexandria K. Wettlaufer, Karin G. Wilkins, Paul B. Woodruff.

Absent: Ricardo C. Ainslie, Hans C. Boas (excused), Pascale R. Bos, Teresa Graham Brett (excused), Cynthia J. Buckley (excused), Harry M. Cleaver, Patricia L. Clubb, Janet M. Davis (excused), James W. Deitrick (excused), Andrew P. Dillon, Edwin Dorn, Sheldon Ekland-Olson (excused), Larry R. Faulkner (excused), Robert Freeman, Wolfgang Frey, George W. Gau, Philip A. Guerrero, Donald A. Hale, Roderick P. Hart, Thomas M. Hatfield, Fred M. Heath, Kevin P. Hegarty, Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Nancy P. Kwallek, Richard W. Lariviere, Steven W. Leslie, William S. Livingston, Marcus G. Pandy, William C. Powers, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Victoria Rodriguez, Juan M. Sanchez, Dolores Sands, Frederick R. Steiner, Ben G. Streetman, Daniel A. Updegrove, Angela Valenzuela, Barbara W. White.




Voting Members:
65
present,
10
absent,
75
total.
Non-Voting Members:
6
present,
27
absent,
33
total.
Total Members:
71
present,
34
absent,
108
total.



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I.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.

The written report appears in D 3516-3527. There were no questions or comments.



II.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES.

The minutes of the special Faculty Council meeting (D 3401-3402) and the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of May 10, 2004 (D 3403-3410) were approved by voice vote.



III.
COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT

A. Comments by the President. — None.

B. Questions to the President. — None.

IV.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR.

Chair Linda Reichl (physics) encouraged Faculty Council members to take advantage of the opportunity to send in questions they have for President Faulkner in the future. She said she had chosen to follow-up on two resolutions previously passed by the Faculty Council because she thought it would be useful, especially for the new members, to see what the Council can accomplish. 

A. Because of declining classroom space, Chair Reichl said the Faculty Council passed the following resolution (D 1691) in 2002, which was approved by President Faulkner:

Whereas a primary mission of The University of Texas at Austin is the education of almost 50,000 students, and

Whereas the main campus of the University has limited opportunities for new and renovated buildings, and

Whereas the current inventory of general-purpose classrooms is woefully inadequate for our present needs,

Therefore the Faculty Building Advisory Committee resolves that all future building and renovation of academic facilities on the main campus of The University of Texas must include a minimum of 15% of the assignable space in the form of general-purpose classrooms. Any exceptions to this must be approved by the president, following advice from the Faculty Building Advisory Committee and the Facilities and Space Council.


Chair Reichl introduced Jack Gilbert, chair of the 2002 Faculty Building Advisory Council, Steve Monti, executive vice provost in charge of building oversight in the provost’s office, and John Rishling, associate vice president for campus planning and capital projects, to present an invited report on the status of building activity since passage of the resolution.

Vice Provost Monti said that both the Facilities and Space Council, a University-wide group that provides policy direction and oversight on facility construction, and the Faculty Building Advisory Committee, the standing committee of the general faculty that makes recommendations on capital projects, have established in the planning process the 15% minimum target for classrooms and teaching labs in all new facilities and all major renovation projects. He said two projects had been undertaken since the resolution was adopted. The first, the biomedical engineering building, is currently in the planning stage and will have 15% teaching space. The second started out as a renovation project for the nano-science initiative and was to be located in the west end of the experimental science building. When architectural studies indicated that the planned location was unsuitable for the space that was required, the plan was changed to create an addition just to the

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  north of the experimental science building. Vice Provost Monti said when the experimental science building is fully renovated, the building will meet the 15% classroom requirement.

Vice Provost Monti reported that one million dollars had been allocated in the academic budget this year for classroom renovations. Provost Elkand-Olson is considering recommendations from the deans, the large class initiative, and earlier groups who have studied classroom utilization to develop a priority list for renovation projects. Once the priorities are established, renovations will generally progress when classrooms can be taken out of circulation, such as over holidays and during the summer.

The vice provost explained that there are two types of resources available for capital construction that are non-interchangeable.  The first, institutional funds, come from the Available University Fund, Permanent University Fund bond proceeds if provided by The University of Texas System, tuition revenue bonds if authorized by the legislature, tuition, other sources of internal income, gifts, and indirect cost income. Projects supported by institutional funds are awarded on a competitive basis with priorities established by the University Budget Council based on recommendations from the Facilities and Space Council and the Faculty Building Advisory Council.  The second source is basically non-competitive funds from auxiliary enterprises that generate their own resources and allocate them for capital projects. Examples include dormitories built by Housing and Food Services, garages built by Parking and Transportation Services, athletic facilities built by Athletics, and recreational facilities built by Recreational Sports.

Professor Larry Abraham (curriculum and instruction) asked for clarification regarding whether the target the vice provost reported had applied to general purpose classrooms as had been the intent of the resolution. Vice Provost Monti replied, “In terms of having a practical guideline that we feel that we can meet in a planning sense, we are setting a target of 15% of teaching space.”  He said that term could include general purpose classrooms, class labs, and departmental classrooms. When Professor Abraham asked if there were any classroom spaces in buildings under construction that were approved before the resolution passed, the vice provost said the wet lab that was almost completed had no instructional facilities other than small seminar and research related rooms. He said the first phase of the Blanton Museum will have no classroom space but will provide exhibit space for fine arts classes; the auditorium included in phase two will be available part time for instructional purposes.

When asked by Professor Martha Hilley (music) if the north end expansion of the stadium would have classroom space available, Vice Provost Monti said it was a possible site for a teaching center but that no decision had been made regarding the future development of this space to the best of his knowledge. When Professor Michael Granof (accounting) asked if athletic projects were being reviewed by the Faculty Building Advisory Committee as had been recommended by the Wright committee, Vice Provost Monti referred the question to Professor Jack Gilbert.  Professor Gilbert said none had been reviewed because he didn’t think any projects were at the state of readiness for presentation to the committee.  He said it was his understanding that athletics planned to follow the usual process and present their projects to the committee. When Professor Gerard Behague (music) asked if the classrooms would be smart classrooms in terms of technology and audio/visual equipment, Vice Provost Monti said every effort would be made to see that all classrooms that are being seriously considered would be “smart” classrooms.

When Chair Reichl asked for clarification regarding the classroom space allocation in the new nano-science addition, Vice Provost Monti said the nano-science addition and the renovated experimental science building would be one entity, with 15% of the combined square footage devoted to classroom space.

B. Chair Reichl said that the Faculty Council’s 1999 resolution (D&P 17040-17043) regarding the creation of an ombudsperson position was first rejected by the administration. Noting the perseverance of the Grievance Committee, Chair Reichl reported that a modified resolution was

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passed in 2002 (D 1652-1655) and ultimately approved by the administration. She said she was pleased to report that the ombudsperson has been selected and will offer the following services: (1) provide information, counsel, and mediation to faculty who have questions and complaints; (2) assist supervisors and administrators to help open avenues of communication and fairly resolve problems; (3) direct complaints of faculty members to appropriate University officials; and (4) relieve some of the workload of the grievance committee members. Chair Reichl thanked Provost Ekland-Olson for his generous support of the ombudsperson position and his efforts in getting the position established. She then introduced Professor Stan Roux (professor, molecular, cellular, and developmental biology) as the new ombudsperson, saying that he has had extensive experience with the grievance process here at the University and will have an office space in the Office of the General Faculty and Faculty Council.

Professor Roux said his goal was to “create a win/win situation” where both parties would see the advantages of resolving the conflict without going to the Grievance Committee. He said that he knew the chair of the Grievance Committee had successfully resolved numerous conflicts through mediation in the past, and he hoped to do this as well in order to relieve some of the burden on the committee and its chair. He said he looked forward to helping create a positive atmosphere here at the University.

In answer to a question by Professor Kenneth Flamm (LBJ school), Professor Roux said a person with a grievance would generally see him first as the preliminary step before going to the Grievance Committee. He said that during his experience on the Grievance Committee about half of the cases were resolved before they actually entered into the grievance process. Professor Roux said that Professor Flamm’s suggestion was excellent that a general notice announcing that his office was up and running be sent to all faculty members via email. He also said another goal he had was to be proactive and to identify conflict-producing situations on campus that should be brought to the attention of the administration in an effort to minimize problems in the future.

V.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT.

Chair elect Alba Ortiz (special education) asked everyone to save March 28, 2005, from 8:30-4:00 for the joint meeting we will host for the Texas A&M Faculty Senate. The meeting will likely be held in the Alumni Center. Members will be asked soon for suggested topics for discussion at the meeting. President Faulkner’s office will provide lunch for the event. Chair elect Ortiz said it would be a time for interesting discussion with your colleagues. Chair Reichl noted that the presidents and provosts of both universities generally make presentations, and there is sometimes a presentation by a legislator.

VI. UNFINISHED BUSINESS. — None.

VII. REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEES.

Before giving the following statement, Grievance Committee chair, Sue Heinzelman, (English) asked members of her committee to stand and be recognized:
  The Faculty Grievance Committee has been working diligently over the past several years to ensure that we have a faculty grievance process in place that is fair both to the faculty member who files the grievance and to the individuals against whom the grievance has been filed. We have made regular reports to the Faculty Council on a range of obstacles we have encountered in achieving this goal. There are several previous annual reports of the grievance committee that I would refer you to if you wish for more details on this problem. The grievance committee has been concerned about confusions, in particular, over the grievance process that occurred two years ago, and during the past year, we have worked to remedy what created that confusion. We have now concluded, however, that the formal grievance process is
 

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not working because we do not have agreement with the administration on two specific issues:

(1) the policies and procedures that govern the faculty grievance process, and
(2) how Regents Rules and the Handbook of Operating Procedures related to faculty grievances will be applied on our campus -- this includes the roles, responsibility, and authority of the grievance committee, the hearing panels, and the administration.

Given these two issues, on September 13, 2004, the grievance committee passed a resolution to suspend the formal grievance process. I should point here that we did not suspend ourselves -- we did not suspend the committee; we suspended the formal grievance process. Our intention is to resume this process as soon as effective procedures can be established.

The committee met with President Faulkner on September 20, and began a productive exchange of ideas on how we might remedy the current situation. We are optimistic that we can arrive at a resolution that will be mutually beneficial, both to the faculty and to the administration, and hope we can report back to the council in the very near future that we have resumed the formal grievance process. Thank you.

 


Chair Reichl asked Professor Roux how he would handle the situation if an urgent complaint were to occur under the current circumstances. Professor Roux said that history indicates that most complaints are resolved through mediation. He said it would take time to determine if mediation were not going to resolve a case. If such a situation developed, he would consult with Sue Heinzelman to see what could be done, but he hoped that the suspension of the grievance process would be resolved before such a problem might occur. When Chair Reichl asked how long the suspension might be in effect, Professor Heinzelman said she did not think it would be a matter of months. However, she did not think the process would likely be reinstated within a month. She said the response from President Faulkner had been “very, very positive” and was therefore “very hopeful that this will not be of longstanding.”

Professor Tom Palaima (classics) said he would appreciate a brief outline of the issues that were involved and questioned whether a committee had the authority to suspend the procedure in this way. Chair Reichl asked Vice President Patti Ohlendorf (institutional relations and legal affairs) to address the second question. Vice President Ohlendorf said it is the contractual right of faculty members to use the grievance process, and the Faculty Council has the responsibility to appoint a substitute committee to make the process work if the current committee has decided that it will not act on the process. She said this responsibility exists because the Faculty Grievance Committee technically reports to the Faculty Council.

Professor Heinzelman said there were four issues that had caused the Faculty Grievance Committee to suspend the process, and the details were well documented in the minutes of the last several reports of the committee. The first was a problem with faculty governance of the process involving a gradual encroachment by the administration into the process. She said this was not meant as an accusatory statement or to suggest that the administration did not have the right to make certain decisions. However, it had been confusing to the committee as to when the administration should become involved in the process and at what point faculty relinquished authority. Committee members had not been comfortable with decisions that had been made in this regard. The second issue involved the failure of certain administrators to respect the grievance process in that they simply refused to respond to requests to appear at hearings. Professor Heinzelman said she felt that this issue needed immediate resolution. She said this was a matter of respect not only for a faculty process but also for a faculty committee. Professor Heinzelman said the third and fourth issues involved procedures involving discovery and faculty disciplining, respectively. She said the committee has sent President Faulkner recommendations on both of these issues and is hopeful of receiving back positive responses soon.



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VIII.
NEW BUSINESS — None.

IX.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS.

A. The photo of Faculty Council members will be taken on Wednesday, October 20, on the south steps of Main at 2:00 p.m.

B. The annual meeting of the General Faculty will take place at 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, October 20, in Main 212.

X.
QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR — None.

XI.
ADJOURNMENT.

Adjourned at 4:30 p.m.

Distributed through the Faculty Council Web site (www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/) on October 18, 2004. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.