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Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of April 17, 2006.

Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty

APRIL 17, 2006

The seventh regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 2005-2006 was held in the Main Building, Room 212, Monday, April 17, 2006, at 2:15 P.M.


Present: Lawrence D. Abraham, Peter R. Antoniewicz, Susan N. Beretvas, Douglas C. Burger, Patricia A. Carter, Miles L. Crismon, James W. Deitrick, Philip Doty, Janet M. Dukerich, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Linda Ferreira-Buckley, Jeanne Freeland-Graves, Thomas J. Garza, John C. (Jack) Gilbert, Linda L. Golden, Juan C. González, Sue A. Greninger, Martha F. Hilley, Lori K. Holleran, Archie L. Holmes, Robert C. Koons, Desiderio Kovar, Nancy P. Kwallek, Dominic L. Lasorsa, Desmond F. Lawler, Glenn Y. Masada, Julia Mickenberg, Kate Nanney, Melissa L. Olive, Alba A. Ortiz, Bruce P. Palka, William C. Powers, Kenneth M. Ralls, Soncia R. Reagins-Lilly, Linda E. Reichl, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, Peter J. Riley, Juan M. Sanchez, Christine E. Schmidt, Michael B. Stoff, Janice S. Todd, Angela Valenzuela, 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, Elizabeth Ann Brummett, Cynthia J. Buckley (excused), Lorenzo F. (Frank) Candelaria (excused), Patricia L. Clubb, Andrew P. Dillon, Diana M. DiNitto (excused), Richard B. Eason, Stanislav Emelianov, James L. Erskine, Lester L. Faigley, William L. Fisher, Kenneth Flamm (excused), Richard R. Flores, Robert Freeman, George W. Gau, Jessica L. Geier, William P. Glade, Oscar Gonzalez (excused), Steven J. Goode, Mark K. Goodman, Charles R. Hale, Donald A. Hale, Roderick P. Hart, Thomas M. Hatfield, Fred M. Heath, Phillip Hebert (excused), Kevin P. Hegarty, James L. Hill (excused), James O. Jirsa (excused), Joni L. Jones, David Justin, Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Richard W. Lariviere, Steven W. Leslie, William S. Livingston, Charles C. McDowell, Karl H. Miller, Omar A. Ochoa, Edward W. (Ted) Odell (excused), Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Yolanda C. Padilla (excused), Mary Ann R. Rankin, Wayne Rebhorn, Clare E. Richardson, Victoria Rodriguez, John J. Ruszkiewicz, Dolores Sands, M. Michael Sharlot, David W. Springer, James Steinberg, Frederick R. Steiner, Ben G. Streetman, Pauline T. Strong, Daniel A. Updegrove, N. Bruce Walker, John M. Weinstock, Alexandria K. Wettlaufer (excused), Barbara W. White, Erica L. Whittington.

Voting Members:
Non-Voting Members:
Total Members:



The written report appears in D 4471-4477.


The minutes of the Faculty Council meeting of March 20, 2006, (D 4478-4523) were approved by voice vote.


A. Comments by the President.

President Powers announced that Professor David Oshinsky had just won the Pulitzer Prize in History. The Faculty Council celebrated the exciting news with a lengthy and vigorous round of applause. President Powers said the plan was to light the Tower orange in recognition of Professor Oshinsky’s outstanding accomplishment.

B. Questions to the President.

The question submitted by Professor Linda Ferreira-Buckley (rhetoric and composition) is included in Appendix A. President Powers responded that he was not inclined to actually appoint a representative from the provost’s office to the men’s and women’s athletics councils, but he thought it could be helpful for a representative from the provost’s office to attend meetings and serve as a resource. He said Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson and Vice President Patti Ohlendorf (institutional relations and legal affairs) were both agreeable to having such a representative present at the meetings. President Powers said he thought the individual could serve in an ex officio, non-voting capacity. Regarding Professor Ferreira-Buckley’s suggestion that the composition of the councils should reflect the colleges/schools where athletes are enrolled, President Powers said his office would pay attention to the representation of faculty members on the councils; however, he thought proportional representation was not required.

Professor Jack Gilbert (chemistry and biochemistry, and associate dean of natural sciences) asked President Powers if Board of Regent appointments to the UT Austin athletics councils might be discontinued in the future. Professor Gilbert pointed out that a previous University ad hoc committee chaired by Professor Charles Wright had recommended long ago that Board appointments to the athletics councils be discontinued. He also said he thought UT Austin was the only institution in the UT System where this practice was still occurring. After saying he would need to review the history involved in the current practice, President Powers asked Professor Gilbert if it were his view that the practice should not be continued. Professor Gilbert affirmed that he shared the ad hoc committee’s recommendation that the practice not continue. Professor Martha Hilley (music) then asked Professor Gilbert if he could be more specific about the committee’s recommendation since she had not read the Wright report. She said her experience on the women’s athletics council had indicated that non-faculty representatives had been very involved and supportive of the athletics council’s role. Professor Gilbert said the ad hoc committee had been concerned as to why the Board of Regents perceived they needed to have input into the athletics councils. Since the councils are advisory to the president, ad hoc committee members felt the councils should be comprised of faculty members who have the authority to monitor what is occurring in athletics. Professor Gilbert said Board representatives had been helpful with subcommittee work on the councils; however, he felt it was a jurisdictional matter and saw no reason why the Board of Regents should be naming members to an essentially UT Austin committee. President Powers responded that board members were concerned about the institution’s trajectory and reputation, and they were aware of the importance of regulatory compliance in contributing to positive public perceptions regarding the University. President Powers noted, however, that board representatives currently did not sit on other University committees, such as those dealing with curricular issues. He said he would look into the history of this matter and comment more definitively at a future Faculty Council meeting.


  President Powers called upon Vice President Juan C. Gonzalez (student affairs) to introduce Dr. Soncia R. Reagins-Lilly, the new senior associate vice president and dean of students, on her first day of work at UT Austin. Vice President Gonzalez provided an overview of Dr. Lilly’s background and experience. She most recently served as assistant vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of California at Los Angeles. In addition, he outlined her portfolio as including responsibility for the Office of the Dean of Students, management of Housing and Food Services, and oversight of the Texas Union. The Faculty Council received Dr. Lilly with a warm round of applause.




A. College/School Forums on Curricular Reform.
1. School of Architecture.
Professor Nancy Kwallek (interior design) reported that the architecture faculty had met on February 23. Professor Larry Speck, former dean of architecture and member of the Task Force on Curricular Reform, presented an overview of the task force recommendations. Professor Kwallek said much of the discussion centered on the advantages and disadvantages of the University College. Positive aspects included improved oversight and management of the 42-hour core, avoidance of the current a la carte selection of general education courses, improved advising if the counseling activities in University College were coordinated with those offered by the School of Architecture, increased interaction of architecture students with the rest of the UT Austin student body, an enhanced interdisciplinary real-world approach to design, reduced embarrassment for students who decide to change out of the architecture major after the first year, and limited impact on curriculum since only one three-hour course would be added. Negative aspects included concerns about space limitations if a larger number of students wanted to declare architecture as their major and additional costs and increased bureaucracy from a new college that might draw energy away from existing programs. She said some faculty perceived that additional advising was unnecessary since architecture students already received good advising. Questions were raised regarding why core curricular needs could not be addressed in the provost’s office and whether the addition of 672 new TAs for the signature courses would be cost-effective. Professor Kwallek said faculty members were also very concerned about the budgetary cuts experienced the past two years and the lack of funding for summer classes.

2. College of Communication.
Professor Dominic Lasorsa (journalism) reported that twenty faculty members and five department chairs from communications met on March 1. Task force members who attended to answer questions and clarify misconceptions included Drew Carls (student representative) and Professors Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez (journalism), Larry Speck, Mike Starbird (math), and Paul Woodruff (philosophy). Professor Lasorsa said there was a great deal of discussion regarding the cost effectiveness of the University College, with faculty members repeatedly asking if it might be wiser to put the resources into existing colleges/schools for improved services, such as advising, rather than into a new entity. Professor David Hillis (biological sciences) was also in attendance and said the concerns being raised were some of those included in his alternative recommendations to the task force report. The communications faculty wanted to more clearly understand the costs involved and expressed their concerns about the uniformity of instruction in the signature courses. Task force members said the recommended signature courses were a compromise solution, offering common threads but not a totally uniform syllabus. Although positive comments were made about adding multicultural and diversity components to the curriculum, Professor Lasorsa said faculty members generally preferred to see the core curricular recommendations implemented within existing structures and new funds flowing to those structures rather than a new University College.


3. College of Education
Professor Susan Beretvas (educational psychology) reported that thirty-two faculty members and administrators of the College of Education met on March 24 to discuss curricular reform. Task force members who attended were Drew Carls, Professor Larry Abraham (curriculum and instruction and kinesiology and health education), and Mr. Geoff Leavenworth (special representative to the president). General themes of the discussion dealt primarily with implementation issues, advising, and resources. Professor Beretvas said there was concern that students seeking enrollment in professional colleges/schools, such as engineering and fine arts, might be deterred from coming to UT Austin if they cannot initially declare a major. A second area of concern was whether other institutions had used the University College model and what issues and problems they had encountered. With regard to curricular issues, faculty members asked how balance could be achieved between the need for specialized course offerings for majors versus the generalized needs of the broader student body. Faculty also asked how the curricular reforms would help students secure skills required for the future, particularly information technology and general learning skills. Questions were also asked about how the new reforms would interface with the core requirements already mandated by state law and if the result would be increased time for degree completion. Implementation issues addressed oversight of flag courses, criteria for establishing signature courses, and course development procedures. Faculty questioned how their freedom to design courses would be affected and how credit would be allocated among departments providing the cross-disciplinary signature courses. Questions were raised as to how departments would be compensated to fill their own teaching needs when faculty time was consumed by signature course instruction. There was also concern about the number of new highly-qualified advisors that would be needed and how difficult it would be for advisors to be informed about the diversity of departments and majors available at the University. Questions were also raised about how the more generalized undergraduate advising model would interface with current college and departmental advising activities and how enhanced funding could be provided for new as well as existing advising services. Faculty members were concerned about the large lecture format and training of qualified TAs for the signature courses. Professor Beretvas said the scarcity of resources for existing programmatic efforts raised issues of credibility. Faculty questioned how new initiatives could be pursued when currently a writing component course with sixty students was supported by a single TA and the kinesiology program had been forced to freeze undergraduate admissions because student demand could not be met with available resources. Faculty were also concerned that resources needs for upper-division courses be addressed as well. On a more positive note, Professor Beretvas said the education faculty members saw the reform efforts as providing opportunities both for student recruitment into education careers and for faculty engagement in cross-disciplinary signature courses.

4. Jackson School of Geosciences
Professor Clark Wilson (geological sciences chair) reported that he had created a committee to review and report on the task force recommendations to his department’s faculty. The committee was comprised of the following faculty members, all of whom teach large-enrollment undergraduate courses: Professors Randy Marrett, Chris Bell, and Jay Banner. Professor Wilson said proposed curricular reform recommendations have received a favorable endorsement by his department, and faculty members generally perceive the new reforms as providing avenues for student recruitment into geological sciences degree options. He said the proposed University College would be compatible with most of the geological sciences degree programs, and signature courses could be easily adapted from a number of current course offerings in the department. He reported that a trial signature course is currently being created by Professor David Allen in chemical engineering and Professor Banner in geological sciences and will be offered for the first time in fall 2006.

5. LBJ School of Public Affairs
Professor Jacqueline Angel (public affairs) reported the LBJ School of Public Affairs curricular reform forum had been moderated by Dean James B. Steinberg on February 21. Task force members who attended were Professor Evan Carton (rhetoric and composition)


  and Mr. Geoff Leavenworth. Professor Angel said that the proposed reform measures would provide opportunities for public affairs graduate students to prepare themselves for work in an interdisciplinary world and for faculty members who teach undergraduates through Plan II Honors and the Bridging Disciplines Program. She said there were opportunities for faculty and students in her school to contribute through the interdisciplinary signature courses and flag courses, particularly those involving political, economic, scientific, technological, ethical, and/or leadership perspectives. One timely example, according to Professor Angel, was the topic of global climate change. A possible strand within the core could involve healthcare policy. Faculty raised issues regarding implementation of the proposed changes, impact the reforms might have on the school’s graduate program, and potential incentives that might be provided to encourage faculty and graduate student involvement. Professor Angel said the faculty found the University College concept intriguing but wanted more information about implementation and resource availability. She concluded that the many questions about the role the school could play in undergraduate education would need to be addressed in the strategic planning process this fall.

6. School of Nursing
Professor Patricia Carter (assistant dean for student affairs) reported that many of the issues raised by the other colleges and schools in their reports were those discussed at the School of Nursing forum attended by forty faculty members. To eliminate redundancy, Professor Carter said she would focus on issues that were unique to her school. Nursing faculty members were concerned about advising quality and the problems that delayed major declaration could cause. She said the nursing program is very structured and even one course taken out of sequence or missed could set a student back an entire year. With the nursing shortage, lost time would impact not only on the student and University, but also society as well. She said adding new lines to teach signature or flag courses would be great; however, currently the school cannot fill existing lines due to the shortage of qualified instructors to teach nursing courses. She said nursing faculty would want to be involved in signature courses, but that the potential drain on the school’s resources could be damaging to the production of nursing graduates. Professor Carter reported that the School of Nursing received additional funding from the Coordinating Board based on the number of nursing students enrolled. Any impact on nursing student enrollment would adversely impact this funding. As a result, she said the response to curricular reform among the nursing faculty had been mixed. Support was expressed for theories underlying curricular reform and potential improvements to undergraduate education provided by some of the proposed changes, such as additional writing component emphasis. Funding and implementation issues were of concern with faculty asking where funding would come from for the reforms, how would it be allocated, and what is the best use of the funds. Although the nursing faculty understood that the new University College might help attract increased funding because donors might prefer to support a new entity, there was still the question of couldn’t that money support something else, such as important and under-funded existing programs.

7. College of Pharmacy
Professor Miles Lynn Crismon (associate dean for clinical studies) reported that the pharmacy faculty met on two different occasions, including one meeting in which task force members were in attendance. Professor Crismon said that the majority of the faculty members were philosophically supportive of the goals of the task force, particularly the signature courses, flags, and thematic strands. The interdisciplinary thrusts were seen as positive mechanisms for students to think more broadly and for faculty to grow through cross fertilization of ideas from different disciplines. Some faculty expressed concern that interdisciplinary integration might result in watered-down coursework in specific disciplines, such as science “lite” for required science courses. Concerns that were raised focused largely on implementation and logistical issues, with some more broad-based and others specific to the needs of the pharmacy program. Faculty members questioned if the goals of the signature courses could actually be accomplished in such large classes, if faculty would be deterred from participating because of the class size, if TAs could have the necessary experience and breadth to be effective in interdisciplinary discussion sessions, and if the additional TA positions for the signature courses would have an adverse effect on available stipends and TA quality for


  regular, on-going programmatic needs. Specific suggestions included that two faculty members be teamed for a signature course of only forty students and the twenty student breakout groups be led by each of the faculty members. Because pharmacy students complete two years of pre-pharmacy coursework before entering the four-year professional program, 60% of UT Austin students complete their pre-pharmacy work at other institutions. Therefore, pharmacy faculty members are concerned about how the new proposed undergraduate requirements at UT Austin would affect admissions of students from other pre-pharmacy programs across the state. Students entering UT’s program have on average completed three years of college, and at least one-third of the entering students already have a baccalaureate degree. There are also contractual cooperative programs in place with UT Pan-Am and UTEP in which the students spend only two years here at UT Austin, sandwiched between enrollments elsewhere of two years, both before and after the UT Austin experience. Faculty members are concerned about how the new proposed requirements might impact this program, which is designed to serve healthcare needs of under-served populations within the state. Faculty in pharmacy also raised implementation and resource issues with regard to University College. Professor Crismon said there was concern that resources might need to be diverted from current programs to fund the University College. Faculty questioned whether the University College dean would be of a higher status than current college and school deans, whether that dean would serve on the University’s promotion and tenure committee, and if a different review structure might be needed for faculty who are heavily involved with the University College. Concerns were expressed that requiring all faculty members to be part of University College would result in a perception of forced service that would not be positively received and that making everyone responsible for the core curriculum would result in no one actually taking ownership and responsibility.

  School of Information
Professor Philip Doty reported that sixteen faculty members plus six staff members and Ph.D. students who teach undergraduate courses met on April 4 to discuss the curricular reform recommendations. Professor Doty explained that the School of Information is focused largely on graduate education with an enrollment of approximately 300 graduate students; however, the school offers an undergraduate minor and provides instruction for fifteen undergraduate courses with an enrollment of 300-350 students each semester. He said there was overall support for the task force recommendations regarding undergraduate curricular reform with some major reservations. The reservations included the following: University College would be superfluous, signature course themes of nature and culture were archaic and not applicable to a major research university, and concern as to why the University College dean would serve on the promotion and tenure committee. There was concern that the signature and flag courses would need a strong support system similar to what Connexus uses in providing a supportive academic infrastructure for first-generation college students; in addition to TAs, it was felt that counselors and a general support system was essential to the success of students in these courses. Faculty felt it might be necessary to negotiate with the provost’s office regarding teaching load credits, particularly for dealing with whether or not untenured faculty would teach signature or flag courses. Professor Doty said faculty were genuinely enthusiastic about their involvement in flag courses dealing with writing, quantitative reasoning, ethics and leadership, and independent inquiry as well as strands since informal thematic offerings are currently being provided for undergraduates. There was also interest in the evolving requirement on science, technology, and society since the faculty felt their capstone of service learning experience designed for master’s students could be modified for undergraduate students. In addition the faculty thought the school could provide a strong group of capable TAs who could support the signature courses across campus. Several faculty members emphasized the need to recruit excellent instructors for the signature courses; however, they felt there were hundreds of instructors who were very competent in meeting and motivating students, and the list should not be restricted only to the well-recognized stars on campus.

B. Senate of College Councils
Kate Nanney (senior, finance/business honors/Plan II honors) presented the Senate of College Councils’ report, which included six resolutions generally supportive of the recommendations made by the Task Force on Curricular Reform. See Appendix B for the complete report. Ms.


  Nanney reported that the Senate of College Councils fully supports implementation of flag courses and strands of related courses as recommended by the Task Force. She said the Senate wanted immediate implementation of signature courses on a trial basis, with first-year offerings evaluated before continuing to offer second-year courses. Senate members wanted the signature courses capped at 240 students with an effort made to reduce the class size in order to facilitate classroom interaction. She said the students wanted the instructors of the signature courses to visit each of the related discussion sections at some point during the semester so students would be able to have expanded dialog with senior-level professors. In addition, members of the Senate were recommending, primarily at the request of gradate students, that specialized training be provided to the instructors and teaching assistants involved in providing signature course offerings. The Senate was also recommending that University-wide advising not replace departmental advising but focus on serving the needs of first-year students, those hoping to transfer between colleges, and those seeking multiple degrees from different colleges/schools. Instead of providing pre-admission to a major, the Senate recommended that students be pre-admitted to a college/school upon admission to the university but wait to declare their specific majors until the beginning of their third semester of enrollment. She said exemptions from the third semester deferral policy could be provided for students seeking degrees with a high degree of specialization or previous training. Senate members did not think highly competitive UT recruits would be deterred by the delay in major declaration as long as their pre-admission to a college was provided. Finally, Ms. Nanney said the Senate members endorsed the establishment of the University College because they felt it would take a structure of such stature to implement the types of changes students felt were required to improve the undergraduate core curriculum.

C. Open Forum Report
Professor Linda L. Golden (marketing administration and Faculty Council chair elect) gave a brief summary report about the University-wide forums held on March 24 and April 7. She said the first forum focused primarily on process issues while the second one dealt largely with substantive issues. She said attendees at the first forum generally supported the flags and strands concepts, but they expressed concerns about the implementation of the signature courses and University College. The general consensus was that pilot signature courses might be offered on a trial basis, but a thorough evaluation should be required before any decisions were made regarding further implementation of the courses. Chair elect Golden said participants raised questions about who would be responsible for moving the process forward and who would be responsible for analyzing and synthesizing the information from the various forums and forwarding it to the Educational Policy Committee for consideration and action. At the second University-wide forum, subject matter for possible inclusion in signature courses was discussed. One idea was that a capstone global issue might be addressed from different disciplines each year, involving experts from across UT Austin as well as notable outside guest lecturers. Global warming and world poverty were suggested as possible themes for the signature experience since issues such as these would involve undergraduates in important problems facing our nation and world. Participants thought topics could vary from year to year but would provide each incoming class of freshmen with a shared UT experience. Initiatives currently being pursued out of the provost’s office, such as the Bridging Disciplines Programs, were also suggested as potential models to follow in the development of interdisciplinary course strands. Chair elect Golden reported that participants in the second forum suggested that the University College might be headed by a Dean of Undergraduate Studies and situated in the provost’s office rather than being established as a free-standing entity.


A. Report of the Faculty Grievance Committee

Professor Lorenzo Sadun (mathematics and committee chair) presented the report of the Faculty Grievance Committee, which is attached in Appendix C. He said Professor Stanley Roux (molecular cell and developmental biology) had done a “fabulous job as ombudsman,” resulting in a much lighter workload for committee members than in past years. As a result, the committee was strongly recommending that Professor Roux be reappointed for another two-year term; however, the committee would like to see his heavy workload addressed in some reasonable


  manner. The committee is also recommending that a second ombudsperson be appointed to assist Professor Roux during the second year of his recommended forthcoming appointment in order to provide a one-year overlap between the two individuals. During the past year, Professor Sadun reported there had been only one grievance hearing, which was in response to a grievance that was filed last August. He said the hearing panel had made some observations about the case but had not made any concrete recommendations requiring a response by President Powers. With regard to the new reform asking the provost to report on the outcome of cases following the submission of a hearing panel report, Professor Sadun said that there had been one test case thus far. Following a May 2005 grievance hearing, Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson had reported at the end of the fall 2005 semester that progress had been made but some issues were not yet resolved. Professor Sadun reported that the provost was currently following up on recommendations about the case that had been discussed with grievance committee members at an April 2006 meeting.

Professor Sadun reported that the Faculty Grievance Committee had, with the help of President Powers, met with UT System representatives and “hammered out answers at least in principle” to issues raised by system’s attorneys regarding proposed legislation that has been under their review this entire year. He said grievance committee members were “cautiously optimistic” that there would be language agreeable to everyone by the end of this spring semester. He said finding agreeable language was only a partial fix to concerns raised by the attorneys. According to Professor Sadun, UT System wants Section 3.18 of the Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) substantially rewritten to clarify what grievance processes apply to different types of specific situations, such as termination and tenure cases. He said the committee had agreed to provide the rewritten HOP for clarification purposes but not to change anything in the current process. He said the committee was planning to provide a precise flow chart of current procedures, descriptions of how the procedures comply with Regents’ Rules, and an explanation of existing jurisdictional boundaries between UT Austin’s Faculty Grievance Committee and Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility. Professor Sadun said the process of rewriting the HOP would not hold up the legislation currently under review by UT System, but would be done with the goal of proposing the rewritten version of the HOP for Council consideration next year. He said the committee would also be working on a recommendation that graduate research assistants utilize the UT staff grievance process and not the faculty grievance process used for assistant instructors and teaching assistants. This recommendation will require rewriting HOP 4.03 to closely parallel HOP 3.18, but this cannot occur until the latter is rewritten.

B. Motion from the Educational Policy Committee to change the definition of University Honors (D 4524)
Professor Archie Holmes (electrical and computer engineering and committee chair) proposed that the Faculty Council change the definition of University Honors to allow students in their graduating semester to qualify for honors even if they have eleven hours or less left to qualify for their degrees. Because students can take only a single class in their final semester, the committee is proposing that a 4.0 GPA be established as the criteria of students taking less than twelve hours and seeking to be eligible for University Honors. Vice Provost Lucia Gilbert asked Professor Holmes why the GPA requirement would be increased to the 4.0 level during the final semester for those carrying less than a full load, which did not parallel the criteria used for determining Distinguished College Scholars. Professor Holmes said that system would allow a student, who was taking two 3-hour courses and received an A and a B, to get University Honors because he would have earned a 3.5 GPA. Professor Holmes said the committee felt the 3.5 GPA in this situation was not a high enough standard. Professor Jack Gilbert asked why students carrying less than a full course load would be considered for honors at all; he said he was concerned that students who needed only three hours to graduate would seek a course in which they could receive an A so they could have University Honors noted for their final semester on their transcripts. Professor Larry Abraham asked why students carrying less than a full course load in their last semester might not be required to have earned honors during the previous semester in order to qualify for honors in the last semester. Professor Holmes responded that the comments were in agreement with what the committee was trying to accomplish in its recommendation, and he would bring them to the attention of the Educational Policy Committee at its next meeting.




Approval of slate for Co-op Board of Directors (D 4525)
Chair Ortiz recommended that the Faculty Council approve the following slate of faculty nominees for the University Co-op Board of Directors for consideration by President Powers:

Karen Engle, professor, law.
Armante Lucero, professor, theatre and dance.
Sue Greninger, associate professor, human ecology.
Eve (Carol) Nichols, senior lecturer, human ecology.James Nolen, senior lecturer, finance.

Chair Ortiz explained that the Faculty Council Executive Committee members had served as the nomination committee and generated the panel from a list of nominees submitted by members of the General Faculty. She asked for nominations from the floor. There being none, she called for a vote on the recommendation. The slate was approved by voice vote.


A. Open Forum on the Task Force on Curricular Reform, April 21, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Main 212.
B. Nominations for the Civitatis Awards are being accepted by the Faculty Council Executive Committee. Submit names by April 21, 2006.
C. Nominations for Faculty Council Executive Committee Officers. Submit names by April 21, 2006.



Chair Ortiz adjourned the meeting at 3:47 p.m.

Distributed through the Faculty Council Web site on May 4, 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.


Appendix A

From Linda Ferreira-Buckley, English; Rhetoric and Writing

Please allow me to preface my question by saying that I served on the Women's Athletic Council for five years, acting as chair for the last year and a half.  I have the greatest admiration for the work of the staff, especially Randa Ryan, compliance officer Amy Folan, and director Chris Plonsky.  I am a long-time fan of college athletics who eagerly awaited a national championship in football, who so admires Mack Brown's concern for education that I asked him to be a spokesman for UTeach-Liberal Arts, and who plans to continue attending basketball and football games.

During my five years on the Council, I was impressed by Patti Ohlendorf's command of the law and attention to detail; your office is well served by her professional expertise. However, I and other former council members strongly believed that the committee also needs a representative from the University's chief academic unit, the Office of the Provost.  This representation not only will benefit our athletics programs, but will inspire faculty confidence.  This suggestion is not meant to complicate or police but rather to attend to what is the missing link: an administrator from the academic side of the University.  Although faculty members do serve on the councils, they simply do not have scheduled weekly access to the top administration as does Patti Ohlendorf. Will you appoint a member of the Provost's Office to the Councils?  If legal provisions must be attended to before such a change is official, are you willing to send a representative (who also retains a faculty appointment) from the Provost's Office, as allowed under the Open Records Act?

True, athletics has sometimes had to shield itself from the occasional cheap shot taken by a member of the faculty.  On a few occasions I was appalled by the inappropriate notes faculty members had sent to a student or staff on the women's side and imagine this sort of thing occurs on the men's side as well. More often, however, critical but valid comments and recommendations from the faculty are dismissed or ignored; the men's program often seems indifferent to advice from faculty, who seem to be viewed as outsiders, rather than as stewards of UT's educational mission. From the point of view of many of the general faculty, the appointments to the Men's Council seem odd. This year, for example, of the five faculty members on the Men's Council, three are from the College of Engineering, one from the College of Fine Arts, and one from the LBJ School. According to the data David Fowler presented at the last Faculty Council meeting, approximately 6% of male athletes major in these colleges. What's more, these colleges teach few, if any, of the core courses required outside of a student's major. These faculty members are well respected, but they do not represent the departments in which student-athletes major or take general core requirements.  It seems fair to assume that faculty from the Colleges of Education, Natural Science, and Liberal Arts can speak more specifically to the curricular challenges faced by our student-athletes and thus offer more pointed advice.  (Presidential appointments are made from a slate sent forward from the faculty.) Would you agree that the faculty appointees, whose role is primarily academic, should include ample representation from the colleges in which student-athletes take nearly all of their classes?

I suspect that most faculty believe athletics plays an important part in university life.  Many of us are also concerned that we are not doing what we should to ensure that all athletes, but especially the majority who will not enjoy careers at the professional level, graduate with the opportunities a degree from UT-Austin affords. Clearly the Athletic Department is making good progress toward this goal, but with greater transparency and an openness to using faculty expertise, it can achieve our common goals more quickly.


Appendix B

Senate of College Councils Report on Curricular Reform Recommendations