View in portable document format.

4447


DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of February 20, 2006.


Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty



MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF
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.


ATTENDANCE.

Present: Lawrence 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. White.


Voting Members:
48
present,
27
absent,
75
total.
Non-Voting Members:
7
present,
26
absent,
35
total.
Total Members:
55
present,
53
absent,
108
total.



4448


I.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.

The written report appears in D 4345-4354.

II.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES.

The minutes of the Faculty Council meeting of January 23, 2006 (D 4356-4377) were approved by voice vote.
III.
COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT

A. 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.
B. Questions to the President.

The list of questions submitted by Professor Thomas Palaima (classics) is included in Appendix A. President 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.

Professor 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.

4449

 
 

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 improved.

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 and athletics.

To 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


4450

 
 
   
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 to athletics.

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.

Professor 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

4451


 
 

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 as UTEACH.

President Powers 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.

Professor Palaima 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.

President Powers 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.

IV.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR— None.

V.
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 A&M Faculty Senate, to be held February 27 in College Station, was included in the agenda

4452


  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.

VI.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS.

A. 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.

B. Discussion of Task Force Report on Curricular Reform — Alba A. Ortiz.

1. 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 strands.

2. 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.

Vice 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.”

4453


VII. REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEES — None.

VIII. NEW BUSINESS.

A. Motion to recognize temporary disabilities caused by pregnancy and childbirth for graduate students (D 4355).

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.

IX. ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS.

A. The Standing Committees should submit reports for action by the Faculty Council at the February and March meetings no later than March 2.

B. General Faculty College Elections, nomination phase, are scheduled for February 27 through March 10.

C. Joint Meeting of the Texas A&M Faculty Senate and the UT Faculty Council, February 27 at Texas A&M. Submit carpool preferences to fc@uts.cc.utexas.edu.

D. General Faculty College Elections to the Faculty Council, final phase, are scheduled for March 27 through April 7.


4454


X. QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR —None.

XI. ADJOURNMENT.

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.


4455


Appendix A
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 informed opinion.

1. 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.

a. 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?

b. 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.

c. 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 took them?

2. 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 points:

a. Quality of educational experience for male athletes in major commercialized sports (basketball, football, baseball).


4456


 
  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.

b. 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.

c. 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).

3.
a. 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?

b. Does the men's athletics program pay the University any indirect costs on funds it generates?

c. Does the men's athletics program contribute any portion of its revenues to academic programs?

d. 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 educational use?

4. 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?

5.
a. 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 Legal Affairs?

b. 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 academically problematical?

And two non-athletics-related questions.

6. 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?


4457


  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.

7. 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.

return to minutes