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ANNUAL FACULTY COUNCIL PHOTOGRAPH
SOUTH STEPS OF MAIN BUILDING, 2:00 P.M., IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING AT 2:15 PM

 

DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

EIGHTH REGULAR MEETING OF THE FACULTY COUNCIL FOR 2006-2007

The University of Texas at Austin
Monday, April 16, 2007
Main Building, Room 212
2:15 P.M.


ORDER OF BUSINESS


I.
DEDICATION IN MEMORY OF H. PAUL KELLEY — Alba A. Ortiz (past chair, professor, special education).

II.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY (D 5324-5329) — Sue Alexander Greninger.

III.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES.

A. Minutes of the Faculty Council Meeting of March 19, 2007 (5331-5336).
IV.
COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT — William Powers Jr.

A. Comments by the President.
B. Questions to the President (Appendix A).
C. Questions from the President to the faculty.
V.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR — Linda L. Golden.

VI.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT — Douglas C. Burger.

VII.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS.

A. Proposal to revise the Principles for the Development of the Academic Calendar (D 5314-5315) — Kenneth Ralls (professor, mechanical engineering and Calendar Committee chair).

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

A. Educational Policy Committee Motion Regarding Plus/Minus Grading for Undergraduates (D 5316-5318) — David Hillis (professor, integrative biology and committee chair).

B. Reports from the Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility— Tess Moon (professor, mechanical engineering and committee chair).
1. Promotion and Tenure Guideline Recommendation to the Provost's Office.
2. Update on Electronic Course Instructor Surveys.

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IX.
NEW BUSINESS.

A. Recommendation to Update the Function of the University of Texas Libraries Committee (D 5319) — Kenneth Ralls (professor, mechanical engineering, committee member, and Committee on Committees chair).
B. Recommendation to Update the Function and Composition of the University of Calendar Committee (D 5320-5321) — Kenneth Ralls (professor, mechanical engineering, committee chair, and Committee on Committees chair).
C. Recommendation to Update the Composition of Information Technology Committee (D 5330) — Desiderio Kovar (associate professor, mechanical engineering, Committee chair).
D. Report of the Committee to Nominate Faculty Members for Appointment to the Intercollegiate Athletics Councils for Men and for Women and to the University Co-op Board of Directors (D 5322-5323) — Linda Golden (professor, marketing and committee chair).
E. Salary Compression Review Request — Wayne A. Rebhorn (professor, English).
F. Resolution from the Senate of College Councils on Encouraging the Placement of the Honor Code on Course Syllabi (D 5357-5359) — Kathleen (Kate) Nanney (Senate of College Councils).

X.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS.

A. The Standing Committees should submit any motions and/or reports for action by the Faculty Council at the May 7th meetings no later than April 26.
B. Annual Reports of the General Faculty Standing Committees were due in the Office of the General Faculty no later than April 15, 2007. Please get these in right away so your Faculty Council Executive Committee (FCEC) and FCEC+ can focus on any matters that you might have that can be acted on this academic year (up to and including our May 7th meeting).

C. Nominations for Civitatis Award due in the Office of the General Faculty by Friday, April 20.
D. Nominations for 2007-2008 Faculty Council Officers due April 23.
E. 2007-2008 Faculty Council members’ preferences for Standing Committee appointments due May 4.
F. UT Remembers, Friday, May 4: An annual day of remembrance honoring members of The University of Texas at Austin community who died in the previous year.

XI.
QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR.

XII.
ADJOURNMENT.


Sue A. Greninger, Secretary
The Faculty Council


Distributed through the Faculty Council Web site on April 12 2007. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, WMB 2.102, F9500.


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Appendix A.

Questions to the President
April 16, 2007

Dear President Powers,

Many of the problems in a pending grievance case stem from a big unresolved question:  what is your understanding of Presidential Hearing Tribunals that handle appeals of tenure denials?  The Grievance Committee had a working agreement with President Faulkner that such tribunals would be, in essence and as described in HOP 3.18 II.A.4.a, grievance hearings.  Some of the procedures had to be tweaked to comply with Regents Rules, but most of those changes were formalities.

The handling of a current case has been a radical departure from that agreement.  Instead of the Grievance Subcommittee's review being the gateway, with a pro-forma meeting with the Provost to satisfy RR, the Provost meeting was treated as central and took many months to set up. When it came time to set the ground rules for the hearing, my meeting with administration attorney Jeff Graves was a one-way briefing rather than a two-way consultation.   When I raised the problem of issues being ignored for procedural reasons and suggested that the Grievance Committee might convene a hearing under HOP 3.18 and its own authority, that possibility was explicitly rejected in your letter to the grievant.  (Although staff lose their right to grieve when they leave The University, there was no prior ruling on whether former faculty can pursue grievance cases that were filed
during their time here.  Your letter said, for the very first time, that they can't. This has broad implications for all UT faculty.)

In February, when I began to plan to meet individually with each proposed Hearing panel member to ensure that there were no conflicts of interest, as provided for in our local procedures, I was told that such meetings would be inappropriate because it is a presidential panel.  This month, when considering what sort of recording would be allowed at the hearing, Jeff Graves made a unilateral decision that took the matter out of my hands entirely.   

The cumulative effect of these decisions is to drastically reduce the role of the Grievance Committee in these proceedings.   Did you understand and approve this diminution of the faculty's role?  If so, why was the Grievance Committee not consulted, or even informed, of the change in policy?   If not, what can be done to keep the ad hoc decisions of this case from creating a bad precedent for future cases?

I understand that you will be meeting on April 17 with representatives of the Grievance Committee and discussing the proposed revisions in wording of HOP 3.18.  However, my questions are not about the wording of our own regulations, which are legally trumped by Regents Rules anyway.  My questions are about how you view the large gray area between what Regents’ Rules require and what Regents' Rules allow.  Do you share President Faulkner's broad view of the Grievance Committee's role?  Or do you think that Presidential Hearing Tribunals are essentially administrative procedures with minimal faculty input, and that HOP 3.18 is not pertinent for tenure denial cases?

Lorenzo Sadun
Professor of Mathematics
Chair, 2005-6 Faculty Grievance Committee