DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting
September 19, 2005
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL
SEPTEMBER 19, 2005
The first regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the
academic year 2005-2006 was held in the Main Building, Room
212, Monday, September 19, 2005, at 2:15 p.m .
Present: Lawrence D. Abraham, Seema
Agarwala, Peter R. Antoniewicz, Efraim P. Armendariz, Matthew
J. Bailey, Jeri Baker, Susan N. Beretvas, Teresa Graham Brett,
Patrick L. Brockett, Elizabeth Ann Brummett, Douglas C. Burger,
Lorenzo F. (Frank) Candelaria, Patricia A. Carter, Miles L.
Crismon, Diana M. DiNitto, Philip Doty, Janet M. Dukerich,
Lester L. Faigley, Larry R. Faulkner, Linda Ferreira-Buckley,
Kenneth Flamm, Jeanne Freeland-Graves, William P. Glade, Linda
L. Golden, Juan C. Gonzalez, Sue A. Greninger, Charles R. Hale,
James L. Hill, Lori K. Holleran, Archie L. Holmes, James O.
Jirsa, Joni L. Jones, Robert C. Koons, Nancy P. Kwallek, Dominic
L. Lasorsa, Desmond F. Lawler, Julia Mickenberg, Karl H. Miller,
Omar A. Ochoa, Edward W. (Ted) Odell, Patricia C. Ohlendorf,
Melissa L. Olive, Alba A. Ortiz, Bruce P. Palka, Theodore E.
Pfeifer, Kenneth M. Ralls, Wayne Rebhorn, Linda E. Reichl,
Clare E. Richardson, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, Peter J. Riley,
Christine E. Schmidt, David W. Springer, Michael B. Stoff,
Pauline T. Strong, Janice S. Todd, N. Bruce Walker, John M.
Weinstock, Alexandria K. Wettlaufer, Erica L. Whittington.
Absent: Pascale R. Bos (excused), Joanna
M. Brooks, Cynthia J. Buckley, Patricia L. Clubb, James W. Deitrick,
Andrew P. Dillon, Richard B. Eason, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Stanislav
Emelianov (excused), James L. Erskine, William L. Fisher, Richard
R. Flores, Robert Freeman, Thomas J. Garza, George W. Gau, Jessica
L. Geier, John C. (Jack) Gilbert, Oscar Gonzalez, Donald A. Hale,
Roderick P. Hart, Thomas M. Hatfield, Fred M. Heath, Phillip
Hebert, Kevin P. Hegarty, Martha F. Hilley (excused), Bobby R.
Inman, David Justin, Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Desiderio Kovar
(excused), Richard W. Lariviere, Janice Leoshke, Janice Leoshko,
Steven W. Leslie, William S. Livingston, Glenn Y. Masada, Charles
C. McDowell, Kate Nanney, Yolanda C. Padilla (excused), William
C. Powers, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Victoria Rodriguez, John J. Ruszkiewicz
(excused), Juan M. Sanchez, Dolores Sands, M. Michael Sharlot,
Frederick R. Steiner (excused), Ben G. Streetman, Daniel A. Updegrove,
Angela Valenzuela, Barbara W. White, Karin G. Wilkins (excused).
1Attendance records corrected on November 29, 2005.
Chair Alba Ortiz (special
education) called the meeting to order and noted that the
year’s beginning had been marked with sorrow, including
the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, casualties in Iraq,
and memories of the lives lost on September 11. In addition,
Chair Ortiz noted with sadness the loss of an outstanding
member of the Faculty Council, Professor Gerard Béhague,
who died on June 13 following a long illness. Describing
him as a “prolific scholar and dedicated teacher,” Chair
Ortiz said Dr. Béhague joined UT faculty in 1974
and had played a major role in establishing UT’s
graduate program in Ethno Musicology. She said he was recognized
worldwide as the leading scholar of Latin Ethno Musicology,
particularly the music of Brazil. She said Professor Béhague’s
dedication to his work was demonstrated by his continuing
to travel, write, teach, and meet with his students until
just days before his death. Chair Ortiz concluded her introductory
remarks by saying, “We will miss his voice at our
council meetings this year and we will miss a great colleague
and friend,” and then asking the Faculty Council
to join her in observe a moment of silence in memory of
Professor Béhague and these events.
|REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.
report appears in D
There were no questions or comments.
|APPROVAL OF MINUTES.
The minutes of the special Faculty Council meeting and the regular Faculty Council
meeting of May 9, 2005, (D
3977-3978) and (D
3979-3989), respectively, were approved
by voice vote
|COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT
||Comments by the President.
President Larry Faulkner commented on the following four topics: fall admissions
and enrollment, presidential search process, curriculum review, and legislative
outcomes. Based on twelve-day roster data, the president said the incoming freshman
class numbered 6,908 and was comprised of 5% African American, 17% Asian American,
18% Hispanic, and 55% Anglo students. University enrollees totaled approximately
49,300 plus an addition 450 displaced students admitted for one semester due
to Hurricane Katrina. President Faulkner said the University was successfully
improving the student-faculty ratio by expanding faculty positions while reducing
student enrollment about 1,000 annually toward the goal of 48,000.
Describing the presidential search for his replacement as “off to a
good start,” President Faulkner said UT Austin offered the strongest
opening among public universities at this time. He said he realized that some
individuals felt the process might be being pushed along too quickly; however,
he said the chairman of the Board of Regents felt strongly that the process
should be completed in a shorter timeframe than the fourteen month period experienced
in the last presidential search. He said Vice Chancellor Teresa Sullivan had
attempted to streamline the process so the UT search would move forward ahead
of searches by competing institutions. President Faulkner described the implemented
changes as “healthy” and said he perceived the process was on schedule
and moving toward the goal of naming a new president by early December.
President Faulkner said he expected that the report of the Task Force on Curriculum
Reform would be released by its target date of October 31 since the “star-studded” committee
appointed last year was “moving forward aggressively.” Based on
his past experience with curriculum reform, President Faulkner said he expected
the recommendations of the task force to generate much interest and active
debate among faculty members regarding what should be required in UT’s
Describing the legislative outcomes this spring and summer as a “mixed
bag,” President Faulkner said he was pleased that local control of tuition
and recovery of indirect costs were
|| preserved. However, he said the 1.4% annual growth
in general revenue-based appropriations fell short of
the annual 1.8% that had been typically provided by the
legislature over the past twenty years. Saying action
on the tuition and revenue bond legislation was greatly
needed for the University to proceed with renovations
to the Experimental Science building, President Faulkner
said he thought the legislation might still have a small
chance of passage if the legislature reconvened later
to deal with school finance issues.
|| Questions to the President.
From Linda Ferreira-Buckley, associate professor,
English. “Faced with decreased state funding
and rising expenses, the Administration has worked
to reduce expenditures by making purchasing and services
more efficient and cost-effective. One measure has
been to outsource services such as Central Receiving
and University Supply. Does the University require
that these contractors provide their full-time employees
with health care benefits? If not, would the Administration
be willing to make this a requirement for contractors
who wish to do business with the University? Which
services are provided by contractors rather than
University employees? To be sure, faculty appreciate
the need to control costs, but not when doing so
entails working conditions many of us consider unethical.”
President Faulkner asked Kevin Hegarty, vice president
and chief financial officer, to respond to Professor
Linda Ferreira Buckley’s question. See Appendix
A for Vice President Hegarty’s official report.
Professor Ferreira-Buckley commented that she thought
there was “fudge room” in a policy that
says UT Austin wants vendors who demonstrate ethical
practices but does not define what those practices
are. When she asked who was appointed to vendor selection
teams, Vice President Hegarty said membership varied
based on the type of transaction with an effort made
to include individuals with expertise in the business
area being addressed. Saying that the determination
of ethical business practices is subjective, Vice
President Hegarty said he was concerned that a binding
set of practices might deter firms from bidding on
UT work opportunities. He said he felt it was a better
policy to let everyone bid and then make the award
based on what each vendor offered. Professor Ferreira-Buckley
concluded by asking that representatives of the Faculty
Council and Student Government be placed on vendor
selection committees in the future.
President Faulkner said he had not produced a catalog
of UT services currently being provided by contractors.
He said there had been only a couple of major transitions
impacting UT employees during his administration,
but the range of services contracted out had increased
over a long period of time and was relatively large,
especially when building renovation and repair activities
President Faulkner then introduced Dr. Juan Gonzalez,
the new vice president for student affairs, and Dr.
Greg Benson, the new vice provost for inclusion and
cross cultural affairs.
|REPORT OF THE CHAIR.
||Chair Alba Ortiz (special education) introduced the members of the Faculty Council
Executive Committee as follows: Sue Greninger (human ecology), secretary; Linda
Reichl ( physics), past chair: Linda Golden (marketing administration), chair
elect; Martha Hilley (music), representative from the Faculty Welfare Committee;
Archie Holmes (electrical and computer engineering), representative of the Educational
Policy Committee; Pauline Strong (anthropology), representative of the Faculty
Budget Advisory Committee, who replaced Ted O’Dell (mathematics); and Janet
Dukerich (management), chair of the Graduate Assembly. Chair Ortiz announced
the names of the recently elected faculty representatives to the Presidential
Search Advisory Committee: The representatives are Douglas Laycock (law), J.
Strother Moore (computer science), and Gretchen Ritter (government and women’s
|| Chair Ortiz asked members of University
committees to review the timelines and procedures for
presenting their reports and recommendations to the Faculty
Council. She also reminded Council members that the Office
of the General Faculty has moved to WMB 2.102, which
is next door to the University Post Office.
|REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT.
Chair elect Linda L. Golden announced that the joint meeting with the
Faculty Senate would be held this coming spring semester, probably in February,
at Texas A&M University. She said representatives from Texas A&M had
been “singing the praises” about the meeting Chair Ortiz organized
and implemented here at UT Austin last year. Chair elect Golden said she will
meet with representatives from Texas A&M during October to discuss preliminary
plans for next spring’s meeting. She invited Faculty Council members to
submit suggested topics for breakout sessions to her via email.
|UNFINISHED BUSINESS. — None.
||REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES AND
SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEES.
|| Update from the Faculty Grievance Committee.
Professor Sue Heinzelman (English and past committee
chair) gave a brief overview for new Faculty Council
members of the reasons last year’s Faculty Grievance
Committee had suspended its formal grievance procedures.
She reported that President Faulkner had agreed to
the legislation regarding disciplining and discovery
and forwarded the legislation to the UT System for
review. Although formal approval of the legislation
has not been received, she reported that last year’s
committee had met and voted to reinstate the formal
grievance procedures. She said the grievance process
is now available and in the hands of this year’s
committee chaired by Professor Lorenzo Sadun (mathematics).
Professor Heinzelman thanked President Faulkner, Executive
Vice President and Provost Ekland-Olson, Vice President
Patti Ohlendorf, and members of last year’s Faculty
Grievance Committee for their commitment and support
in resolving the difficult grievance situation and
asked by Vice President Ohlendorf what procedures were
being used during the current interim period, Professor
Heinzelman said the committee was proceeding in accordance
with the terms mutually agreed upon by the administration
and the grievance committee and “using the procedures
that were in place with the exception of the legislation
on disciplining and discovery.” She clarified that
the committee had “to operate under the previous
system” while waiting for system approval of the
disciplining and discovery legislation. She concluded
by saying that she hoped no grievances were filed with
the committee before approval had been received from
the UT System’s office.
|| Report of the Faculty Ombudsperson.
Professor Stanley Roux (molecular cell and developmental
biology and Faculty Ombudsperson) reported on his first
year of activities in the new ombudsperson position.
See Appendix B for his official report. Professor Roux’s
report covered the number of faculty served, general
reasons faculty sought his services, and time requirements
fulfilling the new position.
Ortiz expressed appreciation to both Professors Roux
and Heinzelman for their work in addressing faculty issues
and concerns. She said there was approximately a two-year
window of time to assess whether the Faculty Ombudsperson
position merited on-going support. She said she thought
Professor Roux’s report provided ample evidence
that the position was needed.
||Update from the ad hoc Committee on Course Instructor
Marvin L. Hackert (chemistry and biochemistry and
committee chair) introduced members of the Ad hoc
Committee on the Course-Instructor Survey and thanked
them for the work they had done on behalf of the
faculty. Committee members are Professors Michael
Granof (accounting), Janet Staiger (radio-television-film),
Michael Sharlot (law), and Marilla Svinicki (educational
psychology). Professor Hackert provided background
information regarding the course-instructor survey
at UT Austin and changes resulting from recent legal
interpretations regarding ownership, handling, and
storage of survey documents, See D 4133-4135 for
the ad hoc committee’s formal report and recommendations.
Professor Archie Holmes asked for clarification regarding
ownership of the written comments, Professor Hackert
said, if the proposed recommendations were adopted,
it was his understanding that the written comments
would be the private property of the faculty member,
who could choose whether or not to release them to
other parties. He said that the comments would not
be subject to an open records request until a faculty
member made them “official documents” by
choosing to release them. When Professor Holmes asked
if faculty members had the right to say that they
did not want any written comments, Professor Hackert
responded that faculty member had the right to deny
the written comments going forward to the administration;
however, if they chose to submit the written comments,
they would have to submit all of the comments. When
Professor Holmes asked if a faculty member, who did
not want to receive the written comments, could stop
them from being sent to the faculty member, Professor
Hackert said this would be a procedural issue that
needs to be considered in consultation with staff
at the Measurement and Evaluation Center. He said
his committee’s recommended procedures would
greatly reduce the number of documents currently
being stored and copied by departments across campus.
Professor David Springer (social work) asked if the
proposed procedure would allow the forms with comments
to go directly back to faculty members, who would
then own and be responsible for the forms, Professor
Hackert said yes. He again cautioned that voluntary
submission of the forms, such as for promotion and
tenure consideration, would require release of all
forms and make them “official documents” that
could be subject to open records requests.
Larry Abraham (curriculum and instruction and kinesiology
and health education) commented that he was surprised
by the interpretation that the Family Educational Rights
and Privacy Act (FERPA) would prevent professors from
seeing the written comments of students unless the
students had waived their FERPA rights. Professor Hackert
responded that Helen Bright (UT System attorney and
section manager for general law) had rendered that
opinion at a recent meeting of the UT System Faculty
Advisory Council. When Professor Abraham asked if anyone
could see the written comments from students without
the students first waiving their FERPA rights, Professor
Hackert said he thought the administration had the
right to see the comments. Professor Abraham asked
that the issue be further examined because he thought
there could be broader consequences than just those
pertaining to student comments. He said the interpretation
seemed inconsistent with how other student information
and records were being handled, e.g., transcripts,
grades. He said he thought members of the University
community “with the right to know” currently
could have access to FERPA-protected data for administrative
purposes. Professor Hackert replied that different
lawyers had provided slightly different interpretations,
but the committee’s consensus understanding was
that faculty members had the “right to access
only that information that is necessary to carry out
their immediate job.” Professor Abraham said
it was difficult for him to see how a faculty member’s
review of recommendations for students being considered
for program admissions was any different than a faculty
member’s review of the student comments from
a course. He concluded by saying that he thought the
Council would have a difficult time acting on the proposed
legislation given the unclear and inconsistent interpretation
Professor Karl Miller (history) asked if the committee
had discussed the potential problems resulting from
a two-tiered system based on faculty rank. He said
faculty members seeking tenure and/or promotions
would have little choice about public disclosure
of their student comments while full professors would
be protected from such disclosure. Professor Hackert
replied that the committee had discussed the matter
but felt the issue would be better handled by staff
and experts than the current ad hoc committee. He
said the committee was trying to deal with the broader
issues of ownership, increased costs incurred by
the University, and lack of access by faculty to
timely student feedback to improve instruction.
Professor Nick Lasorsa (journalism) asked if the
objective answers to preset survey questions would
be counted for the students who did not waive their
FERPA rights, Professor Hackert said the objective
answers would be counted from all students and be
made available to faculty, staff, administrators,
and students in a timely manner. When Pauline Strong
asked if she had correctly understood that the committee
felt the implications of student comments for promotion
and tenure decisions fell outside the purview of
the ad hoc committee, Professor Hackert said “not
entirely.” He said committee members were concerned
that written comments could not be substantiated
and might be receiving higher weight than they deserved
in administrative decision-making. That concern is
what led the committee to recommend that all student
comments had to be included when a faculty member
chose to release them. Professor Strong said she
had questions about this recommendation because she
did not think some faculty members, such as those
being considered for tenure and promotion, actually
had a choice regarding the submission of the survey
Linda Reichl said there was a “question of
the use of written comments for promotion because
there is no scientific basis” for these random
comments. She recommended that the surveys be redesigned
to include additional questions regarding specific
aspects about instructional quality and instructor
characteristics to meet administrative evaluation
needs. Professor Hackert said the committee had discussed
enhancements to the objective portion of the survey
and alternate tools that could provide useful feedback
to faculty members.
being granted permission to address the Council,
Professor Janet Staiger said that a major aspect
of the proposed recommendations was that the written
comments would no longer be part of the official
process. She stressed the importance of keeping the
written comments apart from the official document
in order to avoid the problems related to FERPA regulations.
Crismon (pharmacy) asked Professor Hackert to clarify
whether or not students would be required to check
a box on the survey form to waive their FERPA rights
when the committee’s written document stated
that the act of writing a comment would actually
serve as the waiver. Professor Hackert said the wording
in the proposed document did indicate that writing
the comment would serve as the waiver, and this method
had been included because the committee did not want
to require students to sign the form. Since the committee’s
document had been turned in for dissemination to
the Faculty Council, Professor Hackert said there
had been some concern that students might not understand
that they were waiving their rights by merely writing
a comment. When Professor Crismon said it would be
difficult to prove who actually made the check mark
on the form, Professor Hackert said faculty and administrators
would have to live with some assumption of integrity.
He concluded that a check box might not need to be
required on the form, but it was important to protect
the identity of the students who provided comments.
Professor Crismon suggested that the actual writing
might be a good method of waiving FERPA rights since
other marks could be more readily disputed.
Ortiz thanked Professor Hackert and urged that the
committee continue to seek legal clarification on the
issues raised by Faculty Council members. She encouraged
Council members to submit suggestions to Professor
Hackert regarding the proposed recommendations.
|NEW BUSINESS — None.
|ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS — None.
All events of October 17 were cancelled since the September 19 Faculty Council
meeting due to scheduling difficulties. The annual photograph and open house
have been rescheduled for November 21. The only agenda item for the October 17
meeting will be presented at the General Faculty meeting on October 27.
|| Open house at the new Office of the General Faculty location, WMB 2.102,
immediately following the Faculty Council meeting on October 17.
|| General Faculty meeting, October 17 (preceding the Faculty Council meeting).
|| The photo of Faculty Council members will be taken on October 17 on
the south steps of the Main Building at 2:00 p.m. prior to the General
|QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR — None.
Adjourned at 3:28 p.m.
Distributed through the Faculty
Council Web site on October 10, 2005.
Copies are available on request from the Office of the General
Faculty, WMB 2.102, F9500.