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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of December 12, 2005.


Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty

 

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF
DECEMBER 12, 2005

The third regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 2005-2006 was held in the Main Building, Room 212, Monday, December 12, 2005, at 2:15 p.m .


ATTENDANCE.

Present: Lawrence D. Abraham, Peter R. Antoniewicz, Matthew J. Bailey, Jeri Baker, Susan N. Beretvas, Elizabeth Ann Brummett, Cynthia J. Buckley, Douglas C. Burger, Lorenzo F. (Frank) Candelaria, Patricia A. Carter, Miles L. Crismon, James W. Deitrick, Philip Doty, Janet M. Dukerich, Richard B. Eason, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Larry R. Faulkner, Linda Ferreira-Buckley, Richard R. Flores, John C. (Jack) Gilbert, William P. Glade, Linda L. Golden, Oscar Gonzalez, Sue A. Greninger, Charles R. Hale, Phillip Hebert, James L. Hill, Martha F. Hilley, Lori K. Holleran, Archie L. Holmes, Robert C. Koons, Dominic L. Lasorsa, Desmond F. Lawler, Glenn Y. Masada, Charles C. McDowell, Julia Mickenberg, Karl H. Miller, Kate Nanney, Edward W. (Ted) Odell, Alba A. Ortiz, Bruce P. Palka, Kenneth M. Ralls, Wayne Rebhorn, Linda E. Reichl, Juan M. Sanchez, M. Michael Sharlot, Michael B. Stoff, Pauline T. Strong, Daniel A. Updegrove, Angela Valenzuela, N. Bruce Walker, Alexandria K. Wettlaufer, Erica L. Whittington.

Absent: Seema Agarwala, Efraim P. Armendariz, Pascale R. Bos (excused), Teresa Graham Brett (excused), Patrick L. Brockett (excused), Joanna M. Brooks, Patricia L. Clubb, Andrew P. Dillon, Diana M. DiNitto, Stanislav Emelianov, James L. Erskine, Lester L. Faigley, William L. Fisher, Kenneth Flamm (excused), Jeanne Freeland-Graves, Robert Freeman, Thomas J. Garza, George W. Gau, Jessica L. Geier (excused), Juan C. Gonzalez, Donald A. Hale, Roderick P. Hart, Thomas M. Hatfield, Fred M. Heath, Kevin P. Hegarty, Bobby R. Inman, James O. Jirsa (excused), Joni L. Jones, David Justin, Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Desiderio Kovar, Nancy P. Kwallek, Richard W. Lariviere, Janice Leoshko, Steven W. Leslie, William S. Livingston, Omar A. Ochoa, Patricia C. Ohlendorf (excused), Melissa L. Olive, Yolanda C. Padilla (excused), Theodore E. Pfeifer, William C. Powers, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Clare E. Richardson, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, Peter J. Riley, Victoria Rodriguez, John J. Ruszkiewicz (excused), Dolores Sands, Christine E. Schmidt, David W. Springer, Frederick R. Steiner, Ben G. Streetman, Janice S. Todd, John M. Weinstock, Barbara W. White, Karin G. Wilkins (excused).


Voting Members:
44
present,
31
absent,
75
total.
Non-Voting Members:
9
present,
26
absent,
35
total.
Total Members:
53
present,
57
absent,
110
total.



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I.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.

The written report appears in D 4255-4262. Professor Archie Holmes (computer and electrical engineering and Educational Policy Committee chair) asked about President Larry Faulkner’s response to item D 3843-3844 regarding the possibility of merit-based scholarship recipients being required to enroll in at least 15 hours per semester. Secretary Sue Greninger said President Faulkner acknowledged the questions and concerns raised by the Educational Policy Committee and referred the issue to Vice President Juan González (Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs) and Associate Vice President Larry Burt (Student Financial Services) to get their input on the feasibility of implementing restrictions on certain types of awards.
II.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES.

The minutes of the Faculty Council meeting of November 21, 2005 (D 4263-4275) were approved by voice vote.
III.
COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT

Chair Alba Ortiz (special education) said that since President Faulkner would not be able to attend the January Faculty Council meeting, she wanted to recognize him on behalf of the Faculty Council for his leadership of the University. She then presented to him a framed copy of President Emeritus Peter Flawn’s humorous guidelines for exiting the presidency. On a more serious note, she thanked President Faulkner for his “truly extraordinary leadership” and asked him to share the Council’s appreciation with Mrs. Faulkner for “the time and energy she has devoted to UT” for the past eight years. She then announced that the Faculty Council had initiated a drive to raise funds for a gift to the Blanton Museum in honor of Larry and Mary Ann Faulkner.

A. Comments by the President.

President Faulkner thanked Chair Ortiz and the Faculty Council. He said that a faculty gift toward the completion of the Blanton Museum was especially meaningful to him and Mrs. Faulkner.

President Faulkner said that during the next few days he would be acting on the long outstanding legislation, Changes in Policies Concerning Grades Awarded with Credit by Examination (D 77-81), originally approved by the Faculty Council in 1999. He said the legislation had requested presidential support for continuing the practice at UT of assigning grades for credit hours given through proficiency exams but discontinuing the practice of counting the grades in the grade point average computed for the University. He said he had asked the Educational Policy Committee to revisit the issue of whether or not it was valid to assign a grade based on an exam, and the committee reported back that its members did not regard this practice as valid. President Faulkner said it was his position that UT Austin should end the practice of assigning grades via proficiency exams; however, he thought the practice of awarding credit hours through such exams should continue as is standard practice in institutions of higher education. He was, therefore, proposing the following amendment to D 77-81:

First, for students who earn credit by examination, The University of Texas at Austin would record that credit only with the symbol CR, credit. This policy would be effective as of the thirteenth class day of the fall of 2006 semester. In other words, we would operate in our current mode up to that point. Students of The University of Texas at Austin who have earned credit by examination prior to the thirteenth class day of the fall 2006 semester but have not yet made the choice of letter grade or CR must officially make their choice through the Division of Instructional Innovation and Assessment prior to the first class day of the fall 2007. In other words, there would be a year’s grace for the election.


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  President Faulkner pointed out that his proposed amendment corresponded to the opinion of the Educational Policy Committee and was supported by the Senate of College Councils. He then said he would submit a written statement to the Faculty Council in the next few days following the December meeting. When asked if his proposed amendment would apply to language exams taken when entering UT, President Faulkner replied a student could still get the credit but not a grade.

Professor Holmes said, as chair of the Educational Policy Committee, he would accept President Faulkner’s changes as not substantive, acceptable to the committee, and therefore eligible for Council action. Professor Holmes said he wished to take the amendments that President Faulkner has made to the Educational Policy Committee’s credit-by-examination motion from long ago and put it forward as a motion from the committee for consideration by the Faculty Council. Saying that since Professor Holmes had accepted President Faulkner’s recommendation as a friendly amendment on behalf of the Educational Policy Committee, Chair Ortiz said a second to the motion was not needed. Professor Linda Reichl (physics) said she agreed with President Faulkner’s recommendation, but she thought Council members would want to see the recommendation in writing before considering it at the January meeting.  When Chair Ortiz asked how many Council members would like to read the recommendation, there were no audible responses.  She then called for the vote, and the motion unanimously passed by voice vote.  President Faulkner said he had not anticipated that the recommendation would be immediately acted upon but would provide the written document saying what he had said at the meeting.

President Faulkner said it had been “a fine privilege to work with a faculty that is so dedicated to achievement and innovation.” He said he was proud of the value placed on distinguished teaching at UT, such as the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, and felt this role was often overlooked at large public universities. Saying discussion of the curriculum would be healthy and was overdue, he said he was very interested in how the faculty would respond to the recommendations of the Task Force on Curricular Reform. He commended the Faculty Council Executive Committee for implementing a process for considering the proposal and encouraged members to give their attention to the recommendations.

President Faulkner said he thought UT Austin had reached the level that required it to be a leader among institutions of higher education. Therefore, he urged the faculty leadership to seek innovative practices and organizational structures that would sustain the values and standards that have supported excellence at UT in the past. Revisiting the messages from his State of the University Address, President Faulkner encouraged faculty members to protect and strengthen the academic values and standards that allow the University to benefit the public good. He said the UT Austin faculty need to “make big plans” and “thinkpenetratingly about academic issues at the center of our proper service, how to teach students best, how best to prepare the leadership that will be needed in Texas and beyond, how to maintain a strong synergy between teaching and research as each sector evolves in organization and practice, how to lead by helping other top universities to find answers to similar questions.” He concluded by thanking Faculty Council members for their dedication and hard work and saying “I salute you, I support you, and I will miss you.”

B. Questions to the President — None.

IV. REPORT OF THE CHAIR.

Chair Ortiz reported that Vice President Patti Ohlendorf (institutional relations and legal affairs) had been asked to review the legislation passed at the December meeting regarding the Course-Instructor Surveys. She also reported that efforts were underway to solicit widespread input regarding the recommendations from the Task Force of Curricular Reform via a dedicated email address, forums at each college or school, and three campus-wide forums. Chair Ortiz said she wanted to allocate time at spring Council meetings to discuss some of the substantive recommendations and hoped to engage the

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deans’ participation in one of the meetings. Also, she said plans were being explored to conduct a structured faculty survey and a democratic deliberative polling process. She said she expected that some of the recommendations would be referred to the Educational Policy Committee, but she thought Council action would not occur until the fall 2006 semester.

V.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT.

Chair Elect Linda Golden (marketing administration) reminded everyone to save the date of February 27 for the joint meeting of the UT Faculty Council and the Texas A&M Faculty Senate. The meeting will be in College Station, and topics will include the role of higher education in the upcoming biennium and undergraduate curricular issues.

VI.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS. —See III. A., D 77-81.

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

A. Recommendations of the Implementation Committee on the Status of Non-Tenure-Track Faculty (D 4277-4281), based on the 2002 Final Report of the President's ad hoc Committee on Non-Tenure-Track Teaching Faculty (D 2488-2493, chair, Judith Langlois).

Dr. Hillary Hart (senior lecturer, civil engineering, and Faculty Welfare Committee chair) explained that President Faulkner established an ad hoc Committee on Non-Tenure-Track Teaching Faculty several years ago to investigate the status of non-tenure track faculty at UT Austin and to develop a set of policy principles regarding their treatment, review, and promotion. She said the ad hoc committee, under the chairmanship of Professor Langlois (psychology) had primarily focused on lecturers, senior lecturers, and clinical faculty members rather than on adjunct faculty members, who have other employment outside of the University. After the report of the ad hoc committee was approved by the Faculty Council on March 17, 2003, an implementation committee was appointed that was comprised of four members of the Faculty Welfare Committee and Deans Richard Lariviere (liberal arts) and Mary Ann Rankin (natural sciences).

Dr. Hart, who chaired the implementation committee, described the committee’s work as "subtractive rather than additive" since the ad hoc committee’s original seventeen principles were reduced to ten in the implementation report. She described the ten principles as follows:

1. The University should establish systematic review procedures to govern merit raises, contract renewals, and promotion of long-term, non-tenure-track faculty.
2. A career path should be established, and an additional job title of distinguished senior lecturer should be established to parallel the track of regular tenured and tenure-track faculty.
3. Initial external appointments should be made through open recruitment when possible.
4. For determining benefits, workloads should be computed over an entire academic year to accommodate faculty who teach unbalanced loads.
5. Non-tenure-track faculty should receive teaching load relief for course development.
6. Travel to professional conferences, especially those involving pedagogy, should be encouraged and funded when possible.
7. Teaching awards for non-tenure-track faculty should be established by the University.
8. A teaching career path should be established at the University, especially for clinical faculty, whose emphasis is primarily teaching and not research.
9. The Faculty Welfare Committee should be charged with monitoring and evaluating the implementation of these recommendations.
10. The Faculty Welfare Committee should review and continue to pursue the original recommendations that were omitted from the final report of the implementation committee.



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  Dr. Hart then commented on some of the omitted recommendations. Although she personally felt that requiring job descriptions and annual reviews based on established criteria for non-tenure-track faculty were “sensible” practices, some members of the implementation committee believed these requirements were potentially too inflexible and difficult to implement in the near term. She said the recommendation allowing non-tenure-track faculty members to be eligible to serve as at large members of the Faculty Council was seen as too controversial by some committee members.

Saying that progress had been made since the original ad hoc committee report, Dr. Hart called attention to six items listed at the end of her committee’s report that had been implemented. She credited Executive Vice President and Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson for much of the progress, especially for providing salary increases for lecturers upon their promotions to senior lecturers.  She said the six recently-implemented policies needed to be publicized since members of the UT community were often unaware of them. These policies included salary increases upon promotion; emphasis on 50% time appointments to ensure benefit coverage; eligibility for departmental, school, or college committee service; eligibility to represent their college/school on the Faculty Council; eligibility of senior lecturers to apply for University travel grants; and eligibility to serve as sole principal investigators on grants with approval by the vice president for research or his/her representative.

Dr. Hart closed by thanking President Faulkner for initiating the investigation regarding non-tenure-track faculty and for envisioning that UT Austin could become a leader in this area. She expressed gratitude to Provost Ekland-Olson for his efforts in working with the committee and initiating new policies benefiting non-tenure-track faculty members. When asked about the status of the implementation committee’s report, Dr. Hart said it had been endorsed by the Faculty Council Executive Committee and was under legal review by the UT administration. Chair Ortiz said she hoped the legal review would be completed in January. She said if no legal issues were raised, then the Faculty Council would be asked to endorse the implementation committee’s recommendations.

President Faulkner acknowledged Dr. Hart for her leadership and the committee members for their efforts in dealing with the complexity of these matters. He emphasized that principles guiding the employment and career development of people engaged in non-standard faculty positions were virtually nonexistent in universities across the United States. Saying he had always hoped UT Austin would take a leadership role in addressing and defining these principles, President Faulkner said he wanted to reinforce their importance to the Faculty Council. He then thanked Dr. Hart and her committee for their work in establishing the agenda in this important matter and starting the process. Chair Ortiz also thanked Dr. Hart for the committee’s excellent work. She said that Dr. Hart was willing to ask the Faculty Welfare Committee to review the principles that were not endorsed by the implementation committee to see how those issues might be moved forward in the future.

VIII.
NEW BUSINESS.

A. Resolution Endorsing Texas Faculty Senate Resolution on Texas A&M Kingsville Faculty Senate. Due to the length of the meeting, Chair Ortiz deferred this item until the January meeting. She explained that the resolution, which is posted on the Texas Council of Faculty Senate Web site, essentially endorses the right of the faculty to function as a body and make its views known without fear of retribution.

IX.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS — None.

A. Chair Ortiz introduced Mr. Richard Eason, vice president for development, and thanked him for helping get the Blanton fundraising effort underway. Mr. Eason said he thought the Faculty Council’s fundraising initiative indicated overwhelming appreciation and support across the UT community for President and Mrs. Faulkner. He said contributions could be made either by check


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sent to the development office or online on the University Web site, and he invited anyone with questions to contact him or the development staff at 475-9612.

B. Chair Ortiz reminded Council members that the new email address for sending comments and opinions relating to the recommendations from the Task Force on Curricular Reform is tfcr@uts.cc.utexas.edu.

X.
QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR — None.

XI.
ADJOURNMENT.

Chair Ortiz wished everyone a happy holiday on behalf of the Faculty Council Executive Committee and adjourned the meeting at 3:07 p.m.



Distributed through the Faculty Council Web site on January 19, 2006. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, WMB 2.102, F9500.