DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting
February 20, 2006.
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL
FEBRUARY 20, 2006
The fifth regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the
academic year 2005-2006 was held in the Main Building, Room
212, Monday, February 20, 2006, at 2:15 p.m.
D. Abraham, Peter R. Antoniewicz, Susan N. Beretvas, Elizabeth
Ann Brummett, Cynthia J. Buckley, Patricia A. Carter, Miles
L. Crismon, James W. Deitrick, Diana M. DiNitto, Philip Doty,
Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Linda Ferreira-Buckley, Richard R. Flores,
Jeanne Freeland-Graves, Thomas J. Garza, John C. (Jack) Gilbert,
William P. Glade, Linda L. Golden, Juan C. González,
Mark K. Goodman, Sue A. Greninger, James L. Hill, Martha F.
Hilley, Lori K. Holleran, James O. Jirsa, Robert C. Koons,
Dominic L. Lasorsa, Desmond F. Lawler, William S. Livingston,
Glenn Y. Masada, Charles C. McDowell, Karl H. Miller, Kate
Nanney, Omar A. Ochoa, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Melissa L. Olive,
Alba A. Ortiz, Bruce P. Palka, William C. Powers, Kenneth M.
Ralls, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Wayne Rebhorn, Linda E. Reichl,
Clare E. Richardson, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, Peter J. Riley,
John J. Ruszkiewicz, David W. Springer, Michael B. Stoff, Pauline
T. Strong, Janice S. Todd, Angela Valenzuela, Alexandria K.
Wettlaufer, Erica L. Whittington, Karin G. Wilkins.
Absent: Seema Agarwala, Michael D.
Allen, Efraim P. Armendariz, Matthew J. Bailey, Pascale R. Bos,
Patrick L. Brockett (excused), Joanna M. Brooks, Douglas C. Burger,
Lorenzo F. (Frank) Candelaria (excused), Patricia L. Clubb, Andrew
P. Dillon, Janet M. Dukerich, Richard B. Eason, Stanislav Emelianov,
James L. Erskine, Lester L. Faigley, William L. Fisher, Kenneth
Flamm (excused), Robert Freeman, George W. Gau, Jessica L. Geier,
Oscar Gonzalez (excused), Steven J. Goode, Charles R. Hale, Donald
A. Hale, Roderick P. Hart, Thomas M. Hatfield, Fred M. Heath,
Phillip Hebert, Kevin P. Hegarty, Archie L. Holmes, Joni L. Jones,
David Justin, Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Desiderio Kovar, Nancy
P. Kwallek, Richard W. Lariviere, Steven W. Leslie, Julia Mickenberg,
Edward W. (Ted) Odell (excused), Yolanda C. Padilla (excused),
Victoria Rodriguez, Juan M. Sanchez, Dolores Sands, Christine
E. Schmidt, M. Michael Sharlot, James Steinberg, Frederick R. Steiner, Ben G.
Streetman, Daniel A. Updegrove, N. Bruce Walker, John M. Weinstock, Barbara W.
|REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.
The written report appears in D
|APPROVAL OF MINUTES.
The minutes of the Faculty Council meeting of January 23, 2006 (D
were approved by voice vote.
|COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT
||Comments by the President.
President Bill Powers made general opening comments where he reiterated the goals
he had laid out at the special joint meeting of the Faculty Council and Graduate
Assembly on his first day in office. These goals included bringing higher education’s
message to the citizens of Texas, training and educating the leadership of Texas
by increasing campus diversity, addressing the curricular reforms to improve
undergraduate education, and seeing UT Austin become the leading public university
in the country.
|| Questions to the President.
The list of questions submitted by Professor Thomas
Palaima (classics) is included in Appendix
Powers commended Professor Palaima for bringing these
important questions for discussion and said he had
asked other administrators to help him with the details
since he was only in his third week on the job. Professor
Palaima said his questions had built up over twenty
years, and he thought receiving answers to them as
a matter of public record was “healthy.” He
said he had posed the questions regarding athletics
because the reports from the Intercollegiate Athletics
Councils for men and for women are scheduled to be
presented at the March Faculty Council meeting.
President Powers called
upon Vice President Patti Ohlendorf (institutional
relations and legal affairs) to respond to Professor
Palaima’s questions regarding athletics councils
reporting since her portfolio includes oversight of
these areas. Regarding the format of the men’s
and women’s reports to the Faculty Council, Vice
President Ohlendorf said that last year the men’s
program had adopted the same format that the women’s
program had been using. She said the upcoming men’s
report would include all sports but would have a separate
break-out for football; in the future, she expected
that all sports would be combined into one report.
The only missing information this year in the men’s
report would be five-year comparisons since these data
have not been previously developed; however, collection
of these data would start this year and eventually
result in five-year rolling data comparisons.
Palaima said he was concerned that the reports did not
address minority athlete academic performance and graduation
rates. He said he was appalled to see in a New York
Times article about NCAA data from major universities
that UT was the only institution where minority data
were listed as unavailable. He also said he thought it
was important to have data on what kinds of courses student
athletes are taking. Vice President Ohlendorf said that
she was uncertain why the article Professor Palaima saw
did not include data on UT since minority graduation
rates are collected and published by the federal government
and the graduation success rates are broken down by minority
status on the NCAA Web site. She said one possible explanation
for the omission in the article might be the small size
of the 1998 cohort; she said when the number of students
is so small that individual students might be identified,
data are not published. She said the overall graduation
rate at UT for African Americans was 67% for all students
and 66% for student athletes.
Since Professor Palaima had mentioned the sports
management program in his questions, Vice President
Ohlendorf reported that there were ten student athletes
enrolled in kinesiology’s sports management program,
which she said was “a very difficult program
to get into” and described its quality as “excellent.” Vice
President Ohlendorf said providing data on specific
courses taken by athletes could only be accomplished
through a time-consuming manual report, but that it
could be done if necessary. She pointed out that NCAA
regulations require that student athletes meet benchmarks
in terms of academic progress, such as 40% of the degree
requirement must be completed by the end of the fourth
semester, which is not required of regular UT students.
She also reported that the certification process on
course progress is administered by the registrar’s
office rather than the athletics program.
Vice President Ohlendorf
reported that twelve scholarship and three non-scholarship
football players who represented UT in the Rose Bowl
game had completed their degree requirements, mostly
via December graduation. Their majors included government/kinesiology/pre-med,
radio-television-film, corporate communications, honors
business/pre-med, accounting, economics/government,
learning and development, and kinesiology. She reported
that Dr. Randa Ryan, who has overseen the academic
program in women’s athletics for many years,
was given responsibility for academics in both the
men’s and women’s athletics programs this
past year; she said the policies and practices of the
women’s program were now being used by the men’s
program as well. President Powers applauded the report
on the Rose Bowl class and said that Bill Little had
reported that the six-year graduation rates in football
under Coach Mack Brown were expected to be considerably
With regard to fairness
issues regarding the support for tutoring and study
halls provided student athletes, President Powers said
the supplementary programs for athletes were provided
by the athletics department in recognition of the major
time commitments required for participation in sport
competition. However, he said the University supports
writing centers and other activities that are available
for all students and seeks to improve these services
to meet general student needs.
In response to Professor
Palaima’s questions on the extent to which UT’s
academic administrators monitor the $80 million plus
revenues and expenditures of the athletic enterprise,
President Powers said the budgets and proposals of
all departments, including athletics, are reviewed
by the administration and ultimately controlled by
the Board of Regents. He said that football and men’s
basketball contribute to the funding of all other athletic
programs, but the entire athletics program is financially
self-sufficient and does not draw on tuition funds
or state support.
Vice President Ohlendorf
pointed out that the controlling members of the respective
men’s and women’s athletics councils are
faculty members. She said budgetary and salary issues
were “reviewed at the meetings or sometimes discussed
on an individual basis depending upon the circumstances.” She
said that when she assumed responsibility for the athletic
programs in her portfolio eight years ago, the athletic
departments’ budgets were not on the regular
University budget cycle. She said she combined the
budgets of the two departments and largely put them
on the University’s cycle, with the same rules
and percentages on salary increases as the entire University.
Currently, she said the only programs that are out-of-cycle
are football, baseball, and softball, and this is due
to the parameters of the seasonal schedules for these
particular sports. She also reported that $13 million
of the $80-plus million in the athletics budget pertains
to the Frank Erwin Center, which is not just used for
athletics. She said she had asked athletics to manage
the facility, and the facility’s annual operations
are no longer running annual deficits as had been true
in the past. Vice President Ohlendorf said athletics
and academics each comprise approximately one-fourth
of the activity in the Erwin Center, and the facility’s
renovations were funded by both the administration
Professor Palaima’s query regarding whether athletics
pays indirect costs to the University, Vice President
Ohlendorf said athletics pays approximately $1.2 million
annually as its auxiliary administrative fee to the University.
She said that the revenues were used primarily for athletic
programs and to pay debt on their various facilities,
but a few small payments were made for other
programs. For example, 40% of the income generated
by the lease paid by the UT Stadium Club goes to the
general libraries. Under an agreement with the provost,
approximately $90,000 annually is provided to the kinesiology
degree program to support the training of sports trainers,
who are not generally student athletes. She said each
academic dean at UT was given the opportunity to pay
face value for four club seats to use for entertainment
purposes when the east upper deck expansion to the
stadium opened. Members of the public would be required
to pay a donation of approximately $20,000 annually
for this privilege, but this fee has been waived for
the deans since this program began. In addition, the
athletics program provides tickets at no cost for all
current and former members of the Board of Regents
and various administrators on campus. Vice President
Ohlendorf said the face value of the tickets and the
waived donations totaled to over $1 million per year.
She said the Longhorn Band is supported in large part
by the athletics programs in an amount of approximately
$1 million each year.
With regard to Professor
Palaima’s question about the tax benefits allowed
to those who pay for the use of sky boxes, Vice President
Ohlendorf said that the IRS allows donors who purchase
suites to count up to 80% of the cost as a deductible
donation. She said the suites in the football stadium
cost from $55,000-75,000 per year, and the suites in
the Erwin Center cost from $50,000-70,000 per year.
She said the money from the suites is pledged against
bonds for stadium and Erwin Center upgrades that have
already taken place. Additional suite and ticket income
will be pledged against bonds used to finance the majority
of the renovations to the north end of the stadium.
In response to Professor
Palaima’s concern that sports success seemed
to be overwhelming academic success here at UT and
throughout Texas, President Powers said it was crucial
that the University attract academically serious students,
and he felt the admissions office was seeking to meet
this goal. He said, although sports success no doubt
influences the type of students who seek admission
at UT, he felt that the University’s location
here in Austin and “other social amenities” played
a role as well. President Powers said he intended to
continue delegating matters pertaining to athletics
to Vice President Ohlendorf’s office as had been
the practice under former President Faulkner. Because
athletics is a highly regulated and compliance with
NCAA requirements is very important, President Powers
said that the legal affairs post was well suited to
provide oversight in this area. He said his office
and the faculty-based athletics councils would serve
key roles in monitoring academic-related issues pertaining
Professor Palaima also
asked two questions regarding non-athletics issues.
His first question related to the status of the initiative
to add 300 new faculty positions at a rate of thirty
per year, and its impact on the goal to reduce the
University’s student-faculty ratio. Executive
Vice President and Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson responded
that in every year except one, when there was a serious
budget cut, the planned replacement values has been
maintained. He agreed with Professor Palaima that the
hiring activity each year had not filled all open lines.
One problem has been that a planning figure of $60,000
per new position turned out to be too low. Ekland-Olson
said that 134 full time equivalent positions had been
added so far due to the initiative, and the provost’s
office has provided additional funds for approximately
eighteen more positions, where a college could provide
roughly half of the funding. In addition eight non-tenure
track positions had been added in other fields, such
as photojournalism. Provost Ekland-Olson said positions
were allocated to about twelve departments specifically
to improve the faculty-student ratio during the early
years of the initiative. More recently, the funds have
been allocated to emerging fields and efforts to “weave” the
institution together through cluster hires that encouraged
interdisciplinary studies. He said sixty-two of the
positions had been allocated to the Colleges of Natural
Sciences and Liberal Arts, with another twenty-six
allocated to engineering and a rapidly expanding interdisciplinary
effort involving engineering, natural sciences, and
pharmacy. He said he thought that every college and
school had received at least one position.
Palaima said he was still concerned about the poor funding
for faculty and students at UT and pointed out that the
student-faculty ratio was 19:1, the same as it had been
seven years ago when the initiative began. He said he
understood that good will and energy as well as excellent
administrators existed at the University. He referred
to former President Faulkner as a “ deus
praesens,” saying he meant “a god in
an ancient Greek sense,” and he also said the “reports
about Bill Powers have also been positive.” Professor
Palaima, however, said he was concerned about major
issues involving the athletics program, and he thought
he really did understand what was happening at the
University, contrary to the opinion of Regent Robert
Rowling’s op-ed piece in the Austin American-Statesman.
He said he realized that funds targeted to athletics
remain in athletics at UT; however, a distinguished
accounting professor had mentioned to him that it
was a good question whether or not the athletics
programs were actually self-sufficient when the full
costs including indirect subsidies were taken into
account. Saying the tax deductibility of the skybox
costs approximated fraud in his opinion, Professor
Palaima felt there was a wasteful opportunity cost
to expanding the stadium from 77,000 to 90,000 seats
rather than putting those funds and the ones generated
by the skyboxes into undergraduate education. In
addition, he told of anecdotal incidents where one
faculty member reported that the athletics council
was asked to vote on a budget without actually seeing
it and where another faculty member was told that
his promised research space had not been built after
three years because the architects and building capacity
on campus had been focused on remodeling the stadium.
He questioned how the president could move UT from “great
to greatness,” when the University was not
even ranked in the top 20% of national universities.
He said he thought the president needed to ask the
people who are donating thousands of dollars to enhance
the football coach’s salary to consider putting
the money toward academic programs on campus, such
said Professor Palaima had raised significant points,
and he felt it was important to be candid about the
status of UT Austin. However, he said raising money
involves both responding to what donors want and
what the University wants. He said some donors have
definite ideas about where they want their donations
to go, while others can be influenced with regard
to the direction of their gifts. He said it was important
to realize that athletics does connect individuals
to UT Austin. He said he felt that the entire University
could learn from athletics because that program was
not able to accomplish what it has without discipline,
focus, goal setting, and teamwork.
said the reason he had raised all these questions
at this first Faculty Council meeting attended by
President Powers was that he was extremely concerned
about how distorted things had become. He said this
distortion was evidenced by the fact that University
Federal Credit Union had agreed to donate $50,000
for signage for the general libraries after pledging
$800,000 for renovations to Disch-Falk Field. Professor
Palaima said his research had discovered that the
library donation resulted from an encounter between
the CEO of the financial institution and the head
of the UT library system at a UT sporting event.
replied that former President Faulkner had spent
countless hours shaking hands, as he himself would
no doubt do, with people interested in all aspects
of UT, including the Blanton Art Museum, natural
sciences, liberal arts, and the law school. He said
athletic events are very visible, and they serve
to connect people to the University. Saying that
time spent in such activities was worthwhile, he
cautioned that anecdotal evidence should be “taken
with some grain of salt.” President Powers
said he felt that the focus of UT Austin was on academics.
When reminded by Chair Alba Ortiz that there was one question
from Professor Palaima remaining to be addressed, President
Powers said he agreed with Professor Palaima’s
concern that UT Austin did not have a major, all-purpose
bookstore on or near campus. President Powers said
that progress was being made toward this goal.
|REPORT OF THE CHAIR— None.
|REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT.
Chair Elect Linda Golden (marketing administration) reported that she
and Chair Ortiz had attended the Texas Council on Faculty Senates, where the
discussion had focused largely on shared governance. She pointed out that the
formal invitation to the joint meeting between the UT Faculty Council and Texas
Senate, to be held February 27 in College Station, was included in the agenda
|| packet. She reported that the presidents of both institutions
and Senator Steve Ogden will make remarks at the meeting.
UT presenters will be Vice Provost Lucia Gilbert on undergraduate
research, Associate Dean Marvin Hackert on course-instructor
survey issues, and Associate Vice President Judy Ashcroft
on course curriculum assessment.
||Update on Status of Course Instructor Survey
Procedures — Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson.
Chair Ortiz said
a statement regarding this issue had been developed
but had not been reviewed by all parties. Therefore,
this item would be postponed to the March 20
Faculty Council meeting.
|| Discussion of Task Force Report on Curricular
Reform — Alba A. Ortiz.
||An integrated and coherent core: Flags
and thematic strands.
Chair Ortiz summarized the steps being
followed to secure input from the faculty
regarding the report of the Task Force
on Curricular Reform. She reported that
planning for the forums was well underway
in almost all of the colleges and schools
on campus; two schools that focus entirely
on graduate programs have decided not to
conduct forums. Due to the length of the
Council meeting, Chair Ortiz decided to
postpone the discussion on flags and thematic
|| Humanities and Texas Culture — Senior
Vice President Bill Livingston.
Senior Vice President Bill Livingston addressed
the Council on the importance of including
a significant humanities component in the
undergraduate curriculum. He reported that
a convergence of events was offering an excellent
opportunity for growth in the humanities
here at UT and in Austin. First, he said
Director Tom Staley of the Humanities Research
Center was continuing to amass collections
of outstanding materials in literature and
related themes. In addition, Humanities Texas
here in Austin has a new director, Mike Gillette,
who is skilled in fundraising and has created
a diverse and promising Board of Directors.
Vice President Livingston said he thought
these two groups could provide mutual support
and collaboration to encourage the humanities
throughout Texas. Saying he was tired of
easterners and others thinking that Texas
was just about “cowboys, cactus, and
football teams,” he said his dream
was for “this place to be a center
for the life of the mind and spirit.” Vice
President Livingston said the new Blanton
Museum would be unique and its location across
from the Bullock Museum offered another great
opportunity for the development of synergy.
President Livingston reminded the Council that
the recommendations of the Commission of 125
also called for advancing the humanities here
at UT Austin. As a result, he said there was
a tremendous opportunity now for the faculty
to make a careful assessment of what is being
offered to students in terms of the core curriculum.
He cautioned against allowing everyone’s
course to be a part of the core because he
felt that outcome would end up destroying the
core. He said it was important to avoid creating
a list of courses that can be counted as humanistic
or fine arts and end up with the core requirement
being satisfied by students “taking a
course in stumbling, a course in fumbling,
and a course in bumbling because there are
three faculty members who’ve got enough
clout to get those three courses in the core.” He
said he had come to the meeting to ask Council
members to think carefully about what recommendations
it would make regarding the core. Calling this
a great opportunity “to make of this
University something well above and beyond
what it is,” Vice President Livingston
said he wanted students to emerge from the
core experience as recognizable products of
The University of Texas who could “think,
and cipher, and count, and read.”
||REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES AND
SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEES — None.
||Motion to recognize temporary disabilities caused
by pregnancy and childbirth for graduate students
Professor Linda Reichl (physics) introduced a
proposal to extend by one semester the fourteen-semester
rule for graduate students who give birth while
in graduate school. Pointing out that current UT
policy recognizes the temporary disabilities caused
by pregnancy and childbirth for faculty members
on the tenure clock, Professor Reichl said it was
important to extend this recognition to graduate
students as well. Professor Reichl said that UT
policy regarding graduate students currently specifies
that a student may not receive support in the form
of a research or teaching assistantship for more
than fourteen semesters, and the rule is rigidly
enforced. She said the Women’s Advisory Committee
in the College of Natural Sciences had initiated
the proposal she was presenting. The committee
had developed the proposal in an effort to assist
women graduate students to continue achieving their
career and professional goals during peak childbearing
years. She said the proposed motion was a small
step compared to one recently taken at Stanford
University, which now grants female graduate students
who give birth up to six weeks of paid time off
from their usual research and teaching commitments.
Professor Reichl said that Associate Dean Jack
Gilbert of the College of Natural Sciences had
conducted an informal survey on campus about the
proposal and received positive feedback from associate
deans in the McCombs School of Business, LBJ School
of Public Affairs, School of Social Work, College
of Fine Arts, and College of Engineering. She said
the rigid enforcement of the fourteen-semester
rule serves to reduce diversity, especially in
the sciences, and makes UT graduates less competitive
when seeking academic positions.
Vice Provost John Dollard (math) pointed out that
the rigidity of the rule originated in the Graduate
Assembly rather than the Graduate School; he said
the previous provision had been a limit of twelve
semesters, but there had been a lot of exceptions.
When Professor Desmond Lawler (civil, architectural,
and environmental engineering) asked why the proposal
was limited to only females, Professor Reichl said
she had been conservative in drafting the proposal
but would be happy to see it expanded. Professor
Lawler suggested the proposal be expanded to cover
males and to use the wording included in the stop-the-tenure-clock
provision for faculty members.
Professor M. Lynn Crismon (pharmacy) said he supported
the motion but preferred wording that did not equate
pregnancy with disability. Both Chair Ortiz and Professor
Reichl pointed out that the terminology, “temporary
disability,” paralleled that used as the basis
for the stop-the-clock policy regarding tenure for
faculty members. Professor Pauline Strong (anthropology)
asked if the time period could be expanded to one
year as opposed to one semester. After discussion
of parliamentary procedure regarding the motion,
Chair Ortiz suggested the feedback indicated that
the proposal be rewritten to include an extension
to male graduate students affected by their wives’ pregnancies
and a one-year time limit. The Faculty Council will
act upon this proposal at its next meeting.
||ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS.
|| The Standing Committees should submit reports
for action by the Faculty Council at the February
and March meetings no later than March 2.
|| General Faculty College Elections, nomination
phase, are scheduled for February 27 through March
|| Joint Meeting of the Texas A&M Faculty Senate
and the UT Faculty Council, February 27 at Texas
A&M. Submit carpool preferences to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|| General Faculty College Elections to the Faculty
Council, final phase, are scheduled for March 27
through April 7.
||QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR —None.
Chair Ortiz adjourned the meeting at 3:58 p.m.
Distributed through the Faculty Council Web site (www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/)
on March 9, 2006. 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.
Questions to the President
From Thomas Palaima, professor, classics:
Since you are coming on board with a clean slate, I take the
liberty of asking you some questions of serious concern not
only to me, but to many faculty members, UT alumni/ae, and
citizens of our state. Many of these questions ask that rather
straightforward information be made available publicly to the
faculty council and will simply require that you ask the appropriate
offices that the information be provided. Others ask for your
||Will anything be done to make the upcoming reporting
to the Faculty Council on the academic performance
in men's athletics sports fuller and more informative?
The current situation is exemplified in the report
for academic year 2004-2005 (see Faculty Council minutes
for November 15, 2004 viewable on-line in Appendix
A and Appendix B 3698 DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY).
The women's program gives a detailed breakdown sport
by sport for five years spread out over three pages.
The men's program gives a spare one-page summary that
only touches upon 2003-2004, gives no GPA's sport by
sport, only discusses 2003-2004 GPA's for all athletes
combined, and highlights small signs of academic prowess
in golf and tennis.
In short, the men's athletics program submitted a
document that would get an F if submitted in any course
any serious professor or grad instructor among us was
teaching. At least I found this report an embarrassment.
|| Would it be possible to ask men's athletics
to conform to the women's athletics' model of reporting
over five years and sport by sport? If the women
can do it, cannot the men do it? If the men's athletics
program will not do it, can we not get the Men's
Athletics Council to give us real statistics?
|| Also a chief issue of concern is the quality
of education received by minority athletes, whose
graduation rates at other big-time university sports
programs is lower than non-minority rates. Could
our athletics programs please provide these statistics,
too? This issue was raised to me in a recent letter
to me from a former Austin mayor.
||Because of FERPA laws, we cannot know what
courses individual athletes are taking, but my
general impression from talking to several athletes
and sports administrators (see question 2) is
that courses like sports management are popular.
And even things like internships are often within
the sports cocoon.
Would it be possible to request that both women's
and men's athletics do a blind aggregate breakdown
of courses taken by student-athletes during the
last three years sport by sport, i.e., the courses
taken by student athletes and how many student-athletes
||Having had long and serious talks in the last year
with Asst Athletic Director Brian Davis who oversees
academics for men's athletics, Director of Women's
Athletics Chris Plonsky, Assistant Athletics Director/Media
Relations Barb Kowall, and women's basketball player
Coco Reed and having toured athletic and academic facilities
for men and women student-athletes, I think we should
be more concerned than ever about the educational side
of our NCAA sports programs.
May I ask you to outline how you feel about the following
|| Quality of educational experience for male athletes
in major commercialized sports (basketball, football,
||For the major sports, the time demanded
for practice and training approximates
40+ hours per week, exclusive of games
and travel. Courses must be scheduled
within restricted blocks of time in order
to accommodate practices. The precious
free time left for study is often spent
in formal study halls in order to focus
the attention of the student-athletes
on the topics at hand.
Serious and honest conversations with the
above-mentioned parties concerned for student-athlete
academic affairs make it clear that only
an extraordinarily disciplined student-athlete
will have the opportunity to form himself
or herself intellectually in any way approximating
the educational experience available to
normal students at UT Austin.
|| Fairness issue. Other students, many
of whom have major non-course commitments,
are not provided with special tutoring and
study halls to help them academically.
|| 6-year graduation rates in the major
men's sports of basketball and football
(this year 25% and 40%). I understand from
Bill Little that the improvement for upcoming
classes under Mack Brown will be considerable.
But we need to know what kinds of courses
these athletes are taking (1c above).
|| Will you continue to let the men's athletics
program operate, as it has, in control of
how it raises and spends its own revenues?
If this is a false perception on my part,
would you explain to what degree the $80+
million in revenues (and benefits like free
cars and country club memberships) is monitored
by the university's academic administrators?
|| Does the men's athletics program pay
the University any indirect costs on funds
|| Does the men's athletics program contribute
any portion of its revenues to academic
|| What are the rates for rental of skyboxes
now for UT men's football and UT men's and
women's basketball? Is it still the case
that sky box rentals have a tax-deductible
contribution to an institution of higher
education as part of the rental arrangement?
If so, how much are those contributions
now (they used to be ca. $55,000 and upwards
when I last looked)? And if they are still
being made, are any of those funds
actually made available for general student
|| What do you think about the opinion, expressed
to me in several quarters, that major sports
success actually overwhelms concerns about academics
at UT Austin within the state (e.g., our sports
programs being ranked number 1 or 2 in its facilities,
resources and achievements, while funding for
students and faculty resources is down below
100th nationally and the general undergraduate
experience is ranked 52nd in US News and World
Report for 2005) and that it encourages applications
for admissions from students who are less serious
about academics and more serious about partying
and attending sports entertainments?
|| Do you intend to continue the arrangement
whereby the president's office delegates
matters pertaining to major UT men's and
women's athletics to the office of the Vice
President for Institutional Relations and
|| What difficulties might such delegation
create by having legal specialists who are
not and /or have never been academics oversee
programs that are at least in some ways
|And two non-athletics-related
||I want to follow up on a question I asked
about a year ago about the program to hire
30 new faculty per year initiated by ex-President
Faulkner (3700-3701). Where has the money
for these hires come from and have these hires
resulted in a net gain in total full-time
tenured or tenure-track faculty for the University.
The answer in November 2004 was that there
was a net gain between 1999-2000 and 2003-2004
of 109 faculty FTEs. (The number of 120 was
projected for the period between 1999-2000
and 2004-2005 academic year.) Are FTE's tenured
and tenure-track faculty?
Is the fact that student teacher ratios remained
at 19:1 because the number of students increased?
|| The reason I ask is that in my narrow vision, it is my impression that
departments even in targeted colleges like Liberal Arts have had many lines
unfilled while this program has hired 'new' faculty.
|| What do you think can be done about the fact that with the closing of
Barnes and Noble on Guadalupe, UT Austin is a major research university
with no serious bookstore in its immediate environs?
Many thanks for the time you take with these questions. I promise you that these
will be my last questions on these subjects during your tenure as president.